New Santa Fe Regional Trail

The 14-mile portion of the trail follows the abandoned Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad right-of-way.  The gravel surface regional trail generally follows a straight and level course for the first 6.5 miles beginning at Palmer Lake.  An easement agreement by the U.S. Air Force Academy provides a crucial 6.9 mile stretch of this trail.  Trail users must not go off the six-foot wide trail surface as it passes through the Academy.  Bicyclists must wear helmets.

The New Santa Fe Regional Trail is part of the American Discovery Trail.  The American Hiking Society has been developing a multi-use hiking trail.  It connects several of our nation’s principal north-south trails and many local and regional trails, and includes over 800 miles of trails in Colorado, the most of any state.  A portion of the ADT follows El Paso County’s New Santa Fe Regional Trail.  For further information on the American Discovery Trail Society, call 1-800-851-3442

  • Trailhead Locations:
    Trailheads are located at Palmer Lake, Third Street in the town of Monument, and at Baptist Road. Other trail access points are located at Highway 105 in Monument, Northgate Road, and Ice Lake at the Air Force Academy.
  • Park Hours:
    Dawn to Dusk
  • Parks Department:
    (719) 520-7529
  • Park Weather: NOAA

Palmer Lake Trailhead:

  • Restrooms
  • Parking
  • Picnic tables

Palmer Lake Trailhead

El Paso County is establishing a Trails Watch Group to enhance trail safety and security on the
New Santa Fe Regional Trail section through the Air Force Academy.

Members of the Watch Group will operate under the following guidelines:

  1. Do not confront a suspicious person.
  2. Report any suspicious activity to the Air Force Academy Security Office – (719) 333-2000.
  3. When contacting the Air Force Academy Security Office, please be prepared to report the description, current location, and direction of travel of the suspicious person.
  4. In case of emergency, call 911.

If you are interested in serving on the Trails Watch Group, please contact Tim Wolken at
TimWolken@elpasoco.com.

The United States Air Force Academy will begin a large scale construction project at the South Gate Bridge between January, 2018 and June, 2019. This construction activity will impact the New Santa Fe Regional Trail; however, care has been taken to minimize trail closures.

The New Santa Fe Regional Trail will remain open through the construction site; however, all trail users must use the metal connex box tunnel. All bicycles and horseback riders must dismount before entering the tunnel. Periodic trail closures at the South Gate Bridge will be scheduled and posted in advance while construction takes place on the bridge over the trail. When a scheduled trail closure is in-place the trail will be blocked and closed only at the South Gate Bridge.

All trail users are encouraged to check the Northgate Trailhead and Ice Lake Trailhead for information regarding construction and closure information and updates. These closures are to protect the life and safety of the public while construction activities take place on the bridge above the trail.

For questions regarding trail closures please contact: Jason Meyer, Project Manager
(719) 520-6985, JasonMeyer@elpasoco.com