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
    Monument Trail-head restroom is located in the parking area and is closed Nov. 1 – March 31.
    Baptist Road Trail-head restroom is closed until further notice at this time.
    The New Santa Fe Trail trailhead and the North Gate parking lot, just before the Air Force Academy North Gate entrance, will permanently close to allow construction of the new Academy Visitors Center.
  • Park Hours:
    Dawn to Dusk
  • El Paso County Parks Department:
    (719) 520-7529
  • Park Weather: NOAA

Palmer Lake Trailhead:

  • Restrooms
  • Parking
  • Picnic tables

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 El Paso County Parks at