1. The Greenway Trail
The Greenway Trail is probably the most well-known trail in Colorado Springs, heavily frequented by cyclists, runners and walkers all year long. You might have heard it called the Sante Fe Trail or the Fountain Creek Trail as well. Technically, they are all the same trail, but the segment that runs from just north of Garden of the Gods Rd. to south of Circle Dr. near the El Pomar Sports Complex is the portion called the Greenway Trail.
This 16-mile stretch runs north-south, offering both paved trails and hard-packed gravel. The terrain is an almost indiscernible climb when headed north, with a few minor hills and minimal encounters with intersections or cars. To the south, you’ll find a few challenges to your ride in the form of construction and trail damage from frequent flooding. Re-routes are fairly easy to find, but you should be prepared to encounter them. Scenically speaking, this is one of the most visually enjoyable rides, with a wide variety of trees, water and grass to observe as the miles pass.
One of the best parts of this trail is its access to other trails in the region. You’ll find connections to the Midland Trail near America the Beautiful Park, where you can head west to Old Colorado City and Manitou. North of Fillmore, you can hit the Sinton Trail and head toward Garden of the Gods, or hop onto the Templeton Gap Trail which will take you east toward Union Blvd. and Austin Bluffs Pkwy. Further north, you’ll find the Air Force Academy and Monument, Colo. as the trail turns into the Sante Fe Regional Trail. South past the El Pomar Sports Complex takes you to Fountain, Colo. via the Fountain Creek Trail. In short, this trail is a pretty great facilitator of a variety of commuting and pleasure adventures.
2. Shooks Run Trail
If you want a way to navigate the westside without riding along the Greenway Trail, Shooks Run is a brief and uncrowded four-mile trail that runs north-south, beginning in the area of Fountain Blvd. and E. Corona St. and ending at N. Weber St. and Lilac St. The entire trail is paved, although the north side of Shook’s is a bit rough on the posterior because of frequent cracks in the pavement.
The trail crosses several busy intersections, but there are crosswalks to aid you in navigating them. Follow what the signage says and use the indicated crossings, especially during times of heavy motorist traffic. Heading north from Fountain Blvd., you’ll find a bit of a switch as the trail takes to the very unpopulated road for a couple blocks. The trail on this end has a gradual climb heading north, but it levels out for a pretty flat ride once you cross over Platte Ave. The scenery is a mix of urban and nature, passing by parks and through a bit of open space. It makes a great route for jaunting through downtown and passes several great turn-offs for drinking, dining, or exploring. At the north end, it’s also the connection for the Rock Island Trail.
3. The Rock Island Trail
The Rock Island Trail (not to be confused with the Rock Island Regional Trail that runs along Highway 24 east of Colorado Springs) begins where North Shook’s Run ends, at the end of North Weber St. It runs east-west on a six-mile stretch ending at Powers Blvd. and crossing several major roads including Union Blvd., Circle Dr. and Academy Blvd. Although the trail has been slightly abused by Mother Nature’s torrential downpours, it’s a pretty smooth ride on a wide paved surface with plenty of room for pedestrians and cyclists to coexist. The trail also minimizes intersection crossings with small underpasses whenever possible.
Heading east, Rock Island is a mild, steady climb with a few steep hills once you pass Murray Rd. Headed west, you’ll (of course) find the journey much speedier as you descend. It’s not necessarily the prettiest trail you’ll ride in Colorado Springs—a lot of the scenery consists of the backsides of homes and buildings, or areas without a lot of vegetation, but it’s definitely a fast and easy trail to venture east or west with minimal time on the roads. Additionally, its helpful access to some of the harder streets to travel to (Academy; Powers) is second to none.
These are only a small sample of the great riding paths available to cyclists in Colorado Springs—and even more trails are slated to be built throughout the city in the years ahead. Get out and explore them for yourself. You may find a new way to work, an undiscovered favorite dive bar or maybe just a memorable adventure with friends.
For a more complete map of Colorado Springs bike trails, check out the City’s Bike Maps here.