By Kyle Zinkula | Image Courtesy of the City of Colorado Springs

Despite living in Colorado Springs for two years, I have not spent nearly as much time exploring the city as I should have been or wish I was. The occasional walks downtown, runs on the Tiger Trail, and time spent at nearby North Middle School during an education course has only taken me so far.

But while spending time both near and on campus this summer without access to a gym, I found myself running more than I have since my cross-country days in high school. During these runs, in which I would set off in a new direction from my sub-leased home a few blocks east of campus, I found myself discovering a new part of the city every time. In addition to learning about new locations around Colorado Springs, I stumbled upon several trails that make up the greater Colorado Springs trail system.

The map above very clearly shows the urban trails on a layout of Colorado Springs. You can find Uintah to see where Colorado College is on this map, and use the other roads and larger green spaces to help visualize where these trails go. If you’re confused, I recommend comparing this map to Google Maps on your phone or computer.

I personally spend time running the Pikes Peak Greenway (Tiger Trail), Shooks Run Trail, Rock Island Trail, and the Templeton Gap Trail, and can confidently state that those paths are all well-maintained and provide great running routes. I believe the remainder of these trails are similarly well-maintained, but I haven’t had the pleasure of exploring them – yet.

You may notice the map has different colors for different trails as well as a “tier” system for the types of trails in the city. Tier one contains large, hard-surfaced trails. These paths are sometimes paved or may be on sturdy ground. Tier one trails are 12 feet wide with a two- to four-foot soft shoulder. A prime example of such a trail is the Tiger Trail along Monument Creek.

Tier two trails are similar to tier one, as they are also a 12-foot hard surfaced trail. However, tier two paths do not have the soft-surface shoulder that tier one trails have, making tier two a smaller trail. Tier three is even smaller yet, as these trails only have a four- to six-foot width and are usually gravel or natural surfaces.

As more students come back to CC in the coming weeks, it will be worth finding other spaces in which to be active. The gym will be more full and the quad more packed, but these trails will have plenty of room for CC students to run, jog, hike, bike, and explore. If you want to get out more but don’t have a way to transport yourself to nearby outdoors spaces, these trails can serve as a great alternative. You can even pack some snacks and hike to Garden of the Gods, Palmer Park, or venture to other small green spaces nearby with some friends.

This summer, I found myself wishing I had known about these trails two years ago as a first-year, and as happy as I would have been to have been informed then, I can only imagine how nice these spaces will serve first-years, and the rest of the CC community, during these times of social distancing.

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