Best Of » Recreation

Best of 2007 Training Ground


Place for a Picnic

Monument Valley Park

170 W. Cache la Poudre St.

What a nice gift for your 100th birthday: The people of your city vote you Best Place for a Picnic, even over that Garden of the Whatzit place. Yeah, you might have pretty red spires of rock, but I've got more people stuffin' their faces under my trees so there! As everyone knows, the key to a good picnic is a fashionable picnic basket and blanket. Beyond that, it doesn't matter what comes out of the basket. Wine, crackers, MooTown Snackers ... who cares? As long as people jogging by think you're happy. Monument Valley Park is the best place for a picnic because it's always bustling; plenty of people-watching to be had. And there probably are some other reasons, too. MS

Place to Climb

The ROCK Climbing Center

16240 Old Denver Hwy., Monument, 481-9099

With more than 40 indoor/outdoor climbing trails, a free-standing boulder climb and the fastest slide in the state, it's no wonder The ROCK Climbing Center has a strong following. Lara Groshong, part owner and manager of the full-service climbing gym, says that even though The ROCK is a bit out of the way, it's worth the drive. "We create a friendly atmosphere," she says. "Climbing can be intimidating, and we want to make you feel comfortable." And hey, if you chicken out once you get there, you can always enjoy something savory from the espresso bar. ALL


Biking Trail

New Santa Fe

Regional Trail

Northern Colorado Springs

Along with other reputable spots like the Garden of the Gods, Palmer Park, Monument Valley Park, Rampart Reservoir and Cheyenne Caon, the New Santa Fe Regional Trail has always been a local favorite. Also known as Pikes Peak Greenway (right, and I go by Sheila on the weekends), the wide, multi-use trail extends from the Fountain Creek Nature Center to Palmer Lake, roughly 15 miles away. The trail passes through the Air Force Academy (mind your manners) and partially follows a segment of what once was the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad. If you're looking for a technical ride, this isn't it, but the views are pretty and you'll still be assured a workout. And hey I've been meaning to tell you you look fabulous in spandex. MS

Place to Skateboard

Goose Gossage Skate Park

3225 Mark Dabling Blvd.

I can't write this without that wretched Avril Lavigne song, "Sk8r Boi," looping through my head. Fortunately, I was able to talk to a real sk8r and get the scoop on Goose Gossage. According to Jared Langer, Goose Gossage is good for all the "bowls to shred," and it's lit up at night. A caveat, though: Overall, it's not really a great place to skateboard. Apparently, there's no great skating park in the city, where a skater can coast between obstacles. Fortunately, the city is working on building a new park, and Langer is one of many skaters helping the city develop the plans. FG

Golf Course / Country Club

Patty Jewett Golf Course

900 E. Espaola St., 385-6950

Gen. William Jackson Palmer and his family are revered for giving Garden of the Gods to Colorado Springs in 1909. But how about a group hug for William "Patty" Jewett? Just two years after Palmer's gift, this man deeded his private, "town-and-gown" style, 18-hole golf club to the city. And though they're aren't quite as striking as kissing camels, some features of today's course are more than 100 years old, as Patty Jewett superintendent Patrick Gentile points out. Gentile describes today's 27-hole course, with driving range, clubhouse and gorgeous Peak views, as a "second home" for many. With relatively cheap rent, no less playing 18 costs you just $26 to $28. Thanks, Patty. KW

Park within City Limits

Palmer Park

3650 Maizeland Road

You can drive 400 miles to Moab, where you'll have to elbow your way onto the trails, or you can head to Palmer Park. The park, at Maizeland Road and North Academy Boulevard, draws raves from area mountain bikers like Tony Orr, who introduced a friend to the Palmer Park trails. The next year, they went to Moab. "The riding was awesome, but my friend's first comment when we were done was that there wasn't anything that he rode in Moab that he hadn't already conquered at Palmer Park." Oh, and the park isn't just for riders it has two dog parks, sports fields and picnic grounds, too. DA

Health Club

24 Hour Fitness

3650 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., 262-0024


1892 Southgate Road, 633-2442

7720 N. Academy Blvd.,

opens in December

Brodie Burbach is the hunky guy behind the reception desk that I find at the north 24 Hour Fitness on a Friday night. The club has worked miracles for him, he says, helping him whittle away 105 pounds in just over a year and ensuring his admission into the Air Force Academy. Club manager Doug Wagner says Burbach's is a typical success story. "Our fitness department and personal trainers are strongly committed to help people reach their goals, whatever they are," says Wagner, "and there is never a wait to use a machine." A month-to-month membership provides access to 45,000 square feet packed with rows of bikes, treadmills and circuit-training equipment, and the gym also offers a pool and spa, among other amenities. LLL

Place for a Cheapskate to Take a Date

Palmer Park

3650 Maizeland Road


Great views in the middle of the city and natural beauty all around you, free of charge. Swear, she won't even think about using the Jaws of Life to pry that wallet open. AG

Hiking Trail

Red Rock Canyon

3615 W. High St.

There's evidence of 600 million years in Red Rock Canyon, but let Karlee Thompson run through just the past four. Thompson, with other members of the nonprofit Friends of Red Rock Canyon, helped persuade the city to buy the 787 acres in 2003. Since then, they've recruited volunteers to clear 13 miles of trails. They've opened once-shabby mining areas to hiking, rock climbing, biking and horseback riding. They've also attracted a $50,000 challenge grant now more than halfway met for an open-air pavilion that will serve as a meeting place and starting point for planned interpretive and educational tours by Podcast and cell phone. But there'll be "nothing intrusive," Thompson assures. Hey, no worries pretty sure we can trust you all. KW

Yoga Studio

CorePower Yoga

1025 W. Garden of the Gods Road, Suite C, 265-8611

623 N. Nevada Ave., 477-9642

When I walked around in public with a yoga mat years ago, my friend Pete accused me of having eaten bad nuggets from the granola tree in my backyard. Two months ago, he did his first sun salutation; he called me, sheepish, before he even rehydrated. Lora Lantz believes there's no need for confession. "No one ever says to me, 'I don't need yoga,'" says the manager of the Springs' two CorePower locations. "Everybody's like, 'I know I really should go.'" When they get up the nerve, many find their home at CorePower, which offers power, vinyasa and fusion classes, for all levels; teacher training and nutrition programs; regular workshops; online classes; and discounts for students, teachers, military and others. KW


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