Special Issues » InSider

Outdoors - Central

Here's proof that you're never too far from trails or teeter-totters


Click here for a Central Colorado Springs map!

Kicking things off is the impressive Pikes Peak Greenway. This 16-mile arterial trail parallels Interstate 25, Monument and Fountain creeks, and has plenty of access points so you can mellow out on small sections, or charge it in large chunks. It's the center link between Fountain Creek Regional and New Santa Fe Regional trails, so if you're ambitious you can bike or walk the 35 miles between Fountain and Palmer Lake. (Like most attractions mentioned in this story, you can find out more about it at springsgov.com.)

The Greenway is great unto itself, but the best thing it offers is access to other opportunities. Case in point: the skateboard and BMX park at the humongous Rich "Goose" Gossage Youth Sports Complex (3225 Mark Dabling Blvd.), north of Fillmore Street. Also included here are baseball fields, soccer fields, a playground, plenty of parking and the ever-important restroom option.

Turn off here for Sinton Trail, and Templeton Gap Trail, a four-mile connection to Palmer Park (click here) that passes through the kid-friendly Portal Park (3535 N. Hancock Ave.) on its way.

Next, work your quads south on the Greenway until you reach Colorado College (coloradocollege.edu) and Monument Valley Park. The college is situated between the park's northern and southern sections, and has a full-size track available for public use (when college sports teams aren't practicing on it). Come run sprints, or head to either end of the park. Along the way, you'll find baseball/softball diamonds and tennis, volleyball and basketball courts, as well as a little rugged beauty, if Monument Creek is running. You can get your green thumb on here as well, if you want to volunteer in the Horticultural Art Society's gardens or the city greenhouse.

Though the Greenway keeps going south to Fountain, for our "central" purposes, America the Beautiful Park (126 Cimino Drive) is a great stopping point. This is the home of the giant, O-shaped Julie Penrose Fountain, which has inspired local crazies to dub the park the perfect UFO landing spot. While you wait to get beamed up, feel free to enjoy the summer water features, elaborate playground equipment and picnic areas.

Head due east and you'll hit one of the heavyweights of Colorado Springs — Memorial Park (1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave.). With everything from a 40,000-square-foot BMX and skateboard park to Prospect Lake and the Olympic Velodrome, this park is a fully outfitted behemoth. Check out the indoor ice rink and pool, outdoor playgrounds, picnic pavilions, open space, jogging trails, and sporting fields. If there is one place in the Springs that has it all, this is it.

Well, come to think of it, Memorial Park doesn't have golf. But if you head a bit north, you can get your fix at the city-owned Patty Jewett Golf Course (900 E. Española St.) the third-oldest public course west of the Mississippi. Burn some calories lugging your bag through the 18 holes (there are 27 on-site), or take a lesson from a golf pro. Either way, this city-owned, 72-par course, built in 1898, won't disappoint.

After a round or two, head over to Evergreen Cemetery (1005 S. Hancock Ave., tinyurl.com/49nfa96) for an even older slice of Colorado Springs history. Gates are open to runners and bikers, God-fearing or otherwise, from dawn until dusk, year-round.

And actually, if running is your thing, check out Pikes Peak Road Runners (pprrun.org) for a comprehensive list of groups in the area — from negative momentum to race pace, there's probably one for you. The most popular would have to be Jack Quinn's Running Club (jackquinnsrunners.com), which has been known to attract up to 1,000 runners on fair-weather Tuesdays. At 6 p.m., the downtown pub known as Quinn's hosts a laid-back 5K. Participate once and enjoy post-run specials at the bar; participate 10 times and enjoy the same, plus a well-deserved JQRC T-shirt.

In many clubs, chances are you'll do a session on Shooks Run Trail. This is another great paved, north-south artery that leads from Constitution Avenue to a bit past Fountain Boulevard. If you're running it solo, swing by Dogtooth Coffee Company (505 E. Columbia St., dogtoothcoffee.com) to fill up on some well-earned baked goods — your four-legged running companion is more than welcome, too. Or just take a break at Shooks Run Park. If you insist on running farther, you'll have to stop eventually at Fountain Park, which lies just off the end of the trail.

Last but not least, head downtown to the Springs' very first public park. Acacia Park (115 E. Platte Ave.) is probably best-known today for being the site of the Uncle Wilber Fountain, where 200 "unpredictable" jets of water keep kids from overheating in the summer. But not to be overlooked: Summer also brings your chance to join older folks for a rousing shuffleboard game on one of eight courts.

Click here for a Central Colorado Springs map!

Add a comment

Clicky Quantcast