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New Santa Fe Regional Trail

Starting in Monument, CO this trail passes through the Air Force Academy grounds and connects with Pikes Peak Greenway.
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 14.5 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview :  A fairly short drive from Denver brings you to the town of Palmer Lake which was named after General William Jackson Palmer. General... more »

Tips:  - Stay on the trail, especially as it winds through Air Force Academy.
- Pack plenty of water on your journey.
- You may want to... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Palmer Lake trailhead

This is also the parking area for the Palmer Lake Park, so it gets plenty of use on a warm summer day. But if you get there early, you will have no problems finding a parking spot.
Take it easy as you circumnavigate the lake. It usually has a lot of foot traffic with people carrying fishing poles, coolers, babies, and lawn chairs. You've got... More

2. Monument, Colorado

Welcome to Monument, Co. Although there are few businesses located right off the trail, a short jaunt in either direction will get you to some fun restaurants and other diversions. You will have a couple road crossings as you go through town, so be careful. As with many other trails and their road crossings, drivers are not always aware the trail ... More

3. animals

From the trail west, there is a lot of land for animals to roam on including both prairie land, foothills, and mountains. Some of the more common animals to be found alongside the trail include deer, gophers, and an occasional snake. But keep your eyes peeled; who knows what you might see.

4. Air Force Academy north boundary

I don't know if it's just me, but the first couple times I rode this trail, I had a heckuva time staying found. It really isn't too hard. There is a parking lot here w/ numerous little side trails. Stay on the main trail and you will cross an old bridge over N. Gate Blvd.

5. Air Force Academy

You are now officially on Air Force Academy grounds. You will experience sights, sounds, & and signs seldom seen elsewhere. See the accompanying pictures in this POI and the next two for examples.
Stay on the trail, enjoy the sights, and have fun.

6. Falcon Stadium

This is a great place for views of the Air Force Academy football stadium. On game days, you can hear the roar of the crowd long before you see the stadium. You will also know that it is game day because the Air Force jets often make numerous fly-overs during the game. It is quite a spectacle and something you will never see on any other trail.

7. Air Force south boundary

If you are moving southward on the trail, you are now leaving Air Force Academy grounds. You will go through a gate and see some signs indicating the boundary. If you hear lots of jets overhead, it's because you are also near the Air Force Academy Airfield.

8. Santa Fe Trail ends/Pikes Peak Trail begins

9. interpretive signs

Throughout this trail, you will find interesting and educational signs to read. This first section, near the town of Palmer Lake, you will find the greatest concentration of informational markers. They give information about the old Santa Fe rail line, ghost towns, Air Force Academy, and local plant life. Since you are probably riding this trail... More

10. flowers

If you are constantly craning your neck upward to spot Air Force jets and gliders, you'll miss all the beautiful scenery at your feet. Wildflowers are abundant throughout the trail from blooming cacti to creeping vines. Since this trail bisects both high desert and riparian biomes, you will see a wide variety of flora from two distinct ecosystems.

11. beautiful trail views

Throughout the length of the New Santa Fe Regional Trail, you will find wonderful scenery from lush creek-side foliage to high-plain views that stretch forever.

12. trail users

Although the trail is seldom crowded, you can expect to see a wonderfully diverse population of trail users out enjoying the beauty of Colorado. You may see Air Force Academy cadets, Boy Scouts, parents with their children, and love-struck couples riding their bikes and hiking on this beautiful Front Range path.