Jealous, us? Ute Valley Park - Bike Magic

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**Where to Ride

Jealous, us? Ute Valley Park

Ute Valley Park


Length : several loops, mileage is dependent upon loop taken
Duration : main loop is about 45mins
Surface : all sorts, heavy earth, light sandy soil, rocky streambeds, slickrocks, even some paved trails.
Attitude : fun, whatever mood you are in. The park has a wide range of terrain. From steep rocky inclines with step-like drop-offs to smooth, undulating hills, old streambeds or water run off culverts. Ute Valley has the lot, all in a fairly small area, maybe two or three miles square. The difficulty depends on the weather. Wet and the park can be a muddy/sandy nightmare, just too clogging and claggy to ride freely. In the snow it can provide a huge challenge through icy, rocky inclines. In the dry it must surely be loads of fun. Pay attention to other park users, a lot of joggers use the park along with families out for a walk and the obligatory dog owners. Just be considerate to them.
Difficulty : easy to average to hard. Wet weather will make the terrain treacherously slick or clogging. Snow will make the rocky sections and descents slick and hard. In clement weather the main difficulty is the rocky terrain. Baby’s heads abound on some of the descents, one rocky twisty descents has several drop-offs which can be dangerous.
Access : Take exit 149 off of I-25, head west on Woodmen Rd; continue straight on Rockrimmon Rd (where Woodmen Rd turns right at the light); turn right on Vindicator and go past the SafeWay shopping center; 0.3 miles past EAGLEVIEW Middle School, there will be a small parking lot on the left.
Junction of Centennial and 30th; head into the industrial estate, turn left at the end down the small path, through the postal depot car park and left; right onto Pinon Valley Road; left into Big Horn Trail; right into Mule Deer Drive; left into the park.
Route :
Plenty of trails, make up your own route, several circuits can form a really good and varied workout.
Map : Colorado Springs Street Map.


Kim’n’Craig’s verdict:
Great for short, aggressive circuits where the fun is in the tortuous terrain and not the duration of the ride. No circuit is more than an hour but the changing terrain makes this small park ideal for beginners and experts alike. The main loop contains enough twists and turns to keep even the hardcore riders happy. Wonderful views from the tops of the climbs make for enjoyable cycling. Be aware and courteous to other trail users and your ride will enhanced, the users are a friendly bunch overall. Trails are less fun in the mud but still rideable. It is not a hugely popular park for mtbing but a beautiful little gem nonetheless. Well worth your time to take a visit.


Kim’n’Craig rate this trail : 8.5/10

Falcon Trail


Length : 10.9 mile loop.
Duration : 2 to 4 hrs
Surface : mostly super-gnarly singletrack, some fire-roads, rocks and roots aplenty, other surfaces are sandy or gravely.
Attitude : Hard cycling, technical singletrack. Constantly up and down, the ups are hard and the downs can be fast and furious. Singletrack is very technical. Expect some portage. Winds mostly through trees over rocky/sandy/gravely streambeds. This is hard in places but the eye-watering singletrack is hard to beat. Generally easy to navigate around as markers are frequent.
Difficulty : hard, constant climbing and descending over technical terrain keeps your muscles and brain in top. Surface is a real challenge, expect some portage.
Access : Take exit 150B off of I-25 onto Academy Blvd to south entrance of USAF Academy; turn left on Pine Drive; go approximately 3 miles then left at the first dirt road; follow until you reach the Ice Lake trailhead and carpark;
Route : The trail is generally well marked, keep looking for the blue and white falcon signs.
Downhill from the corner of the Commissary car park to Park Drive, go East, take the first left into the trees, be sure to cross the stream at the bridge!
Trail is well marked here. Keep right at the fork near the Water Tower.
On the uphill stretch take the smaller route to the right over the small bridge.
Cross Academy Drive, then cross Interior Drive.
Over Cross Drive then along the ridge and North of the Reservoir, past the golf course.
Over Academy Drive East of the stadium. Cross Douglas Drive then come out on Community Centre Drive at the North east corner of the Community Centre Complex.


Map : USAFA map (available at he visitors’ centre; off Academy Drive) or USGCS Cascade, Palmer Lake.


Kim’n’Craig’s verdict:
This is tough cycling, the first descent is challenging and then after the stream crossing you have 3.5 miles of hard twisty uphill singletrack. Persevere, the rest of the trail is awesome. A very technical route but immensely satisfying. You need suspension, (it can be done on a rigid but the rider will suffer, the terrain is harsh), full suss would be ideal. The gnarly uphills are hard but going down them is sheer breathtaking. Either fly down at breakneck speed or slow and steady over the twisty switchbacks you will be having fun. The views are immense and the satisfaction of completing this trail means a great ego ride at the trail’s end!


Kim’n’Craig rate this trail : 9.5/10 for a tough challenge but 5/10 for an easy ride.






Santa Fe Trail


Length : 30 miles, there and back.
Duration : 3.5/4 hrs
Surface : mostly wide dirttrack.
Attitude : Easy cycling, slopes gradually uphill from Colorado Springs to Palmer Lake but a very easy gradient. Wind can make riding north a little harder. You aren’t allowed in the USAF Academy grounds after dark!
Difficulty : easy, few hills, the occasional steep up and down, this is rideable by all.
Access : Take exit 150B off of I-25 onto Academy Blvd to south entrance of USAF Academy; turn left on Pine Drive; go approximately 3 miles then left at the first dirt road; follow until you reach the Ice Lake trailhead and carpark;
Join Monument Valley Trail anywhere in Colorado Springs (many entrances) and head north past Criterium Bike Shop and into USAF Academy.
Route :
Once on the trail the path is well maintained and easy to follow all the way to Palmer Lake.


Map : Colorado Springs Street Map


Kim’n’Craig’s verdict:
Lovely ride, easygoing, a few sharp undulations give a bit of interest. Go easy on the water-run offs. A good warm up for some of the more challenging rides locally, the gentle uphill is fine and means the journey back to Colorado Springs will be faster. Best thing to do is take a picnic and spend a lazy morning riding to Palmer Lake (eat, drink and enjoy the scenery) then head back for a gentle downhill. The Front Range to the right provides a wonderful scenic companion as will Monument Creek, which the trail follows for much of the ride. You will see plenty of the local raptors hovering over the wide-open spaces and several natural points of interest pointed out by the nice chappies at the USAF Academy.


Kim’n’Craig rate this trail : 5/10 for a challenge but 9/10 for a long warm up ride.



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