Palmer Park Colorado Springs Mountain Biking – In this 2010 photo, a mountain biker rides the Chutes Trail from Gold Camp Road east toward downtown Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs has the first mountain bike trail. And early reviews suggest that Chutes is indeed back and better than ever.
Palmer Park Colorado Springs Mountain Biking
Last week it was worthy of a banner picture on a Facebook hangout for local enthusiasts. It was the first sight in the Colorado Springs mountain bike field: a downhill turn next to a “Do Not Trespass” sign posted by the city’s Parks Department. The buzz spread up and down the page as well as on Strava.
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Corey Sutela, the Springs’ lead bike advocate at the nonprofit Medicine Wheel, had nothing but praise for the proudly diverse community.
Park management has long grappled with the growing number of riders who cut the erosion-prone trail for fun. With investment and creativity, they can still find their way into parks and open spaces, Sutela said. “Sustainable doesn’t have to mean less technical, and I think this is a good example of that.”
He added: “We think Chutes is a good example of the city moving in the right direction.”
Medicine Wheel contributed $5,000 to the $45,000 project and participated in the design with acclaimed contractor FlowRide Concepts. The result is 1,500 feet of new trail, paved and black for experienced riders.
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New Chutes is described in two parts: the upper section drops sharply from Gold Camp Road for 0.3 miles, and the lower section continues for almost a mile.
The peak is filled with armored mountains and cliffs that Sutela believes are unlike anything else in the Pikes Peak region. He compares it to the rough sections on the slopes at Keystone Resort.
With a modified, versatile, two-way stair track connected to the top fences, riders can ride the section as much as they want. From the Chamberlain Trail at Stratton Open Space, intermediates can climb the stairs and hit the blue sign at the bottom.
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For years, some cyclists avoided the lanes for fear of crashing down the hill. Access to the area remains by stairs and the nearby hiking-only Gold Camp Trail, but it’s time to replace the chutes, said David Deitemeier, chief landscape architect for the city’s parks.
“It’s been a pretty strategic opportunity in recent years to reduce customer conflicts, probably since the 1980s when mountain bikes started,” he said. “It helps isolate mountain bike use and actually reduces that conflict.”
He said it would be a “good balance” to keep riders and non-riders happy in future projects. While riders saw the redesigned chutes as a victory in the North Cheyenne Cañon master plan approved last year, they saw a loss at Daniels Pass, a steep bump in the sustained detour.
In early October, they celebrated the opening of the downhill course at Ute Valley Park. And in the Austin Bluffs Open Space Master Plan, the city is asking for feedback on three short routes that could be optimized for bikes.
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There are places in the West that are synonymous with mountain biking, the Mecca where the sport grew and flourished, where thousands of people come every year to ride the great trails.
Local riders have long known that Colorado Springs is a mountain bike paradise. Places like the Air Force Academy, Palmer Park, Garden of the Gods, and Red Rock Canyon offer top-notch trails for riding for all skill levels, thanks to the usually mild winters when you can hike Monarch Crest or Crested Butte Trail No. 401 is buried in snow.
But there is a secret speech. A series of races, including the 24 Hours of Colorado Springs, a national event, drew attention to the area’s trails. Park officials say the number of out-of-town riders has increased in recent years.
“It’s becoming increasingly clear that we support mountain biking and that there are really many great opportunities in our community,” said City Parks Director Kurt Schroeder. “I’d like to think we could compete with Moab, but I’m not kidding.” “Moab” is known all over the world for its capabilities.
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“But we also have a lot of great opportunities. The difference between us and Moab is that our opportunities are right here in town.”
The city’s founder, General William Jackson Palmer, loved to walk on the bluffs northeast of his city that offered sweeping views of Pikes Peak and the foothills.
Today, however, the park that bears Palmer’s name is best known for mountain biking and has become a regional favorite thanks to its variety of terrain—from beginner to seriously technical—and its location in the heart of the city.
“Everyone who uses the site loves it because it’s so close to our lives. We can go out, train and get back to life,” said Tim Scott, organizer of the Colorado Springs 24 Hours.
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“There are trails and significant mileage that speaks to everyone’s ability. Palmer Park taught me how to ride a bike better, and there are plenty of people in this city who can say the same.”
When Air Force Academy safety regulations forced Scott to move the race from the Falcon Trail—another very famous course—he chose Palmer Park.
Nearly 230 cyclists from 17 states rode all or part of the park’s 13.5-mile loop for 24 hours. Scott said 67 percent of the contestants were from out of town.
“I heard comment after comment: ‘I can’t believe you have these resources in the middle of the city.’ These roads are fantastic, he says.
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John Hurley, a rider and bike mechanic at Criterium Bicycles, agrees that the city’s reputation for mountain biking is growing and says Palmer Park is just a “small part” of it.
From beginner flat trail rides on the new Santa Fe, to Cap’n Jacks hills, to speed bombing The Chutes at Stratton Open Space, there’s something for every rider. Because there are no wilderness areas nearby, bicycles are allowed almost everywhere, although riders are wise to avoid steep eroded granite trails, such as the Seven Bridges Trail in Northern Cheyenne Canon, and bicycles are prohibited on the Garden of the Gods trails. except for the southeast and east. Areas in the park.
New parks built in recent years cater to mountain bikers, including Red Rock Canyon Open Space and Cheyenne Mountain State Park, as well as the planned South Slope Recreation Area on Pikes Peak.
“What we have available here, just because we don’t have to drive to get to the trails, is amazing; The variety, the types of terrain, the views, everything about it,” Hurley said.
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Mike Boyer, a former Colorado Springs cyclist who created the website epictrails.com to highlight the area’s bike trails, still comes regularly from Denver to ride here.
“There are routes in Denver that you can’t really ride on the weekend because there are so many people on them,” he said. Despite its growing reputation, you can still find solitude on the trails in and around Colorado Springs.
“I think it’s still relatively untapped. I know there are trails I’ve never been on,” he said. Pikes Peak APEX (September 8-10), presented by RockShox, is a unique multi-day mountain bike challenge on the slopes of Pikes Peak, US Mt.
Choose the contest one day, two days or all three days! The event includes exciting, specially designed courses on dirt roads, jeep tracks and the stunning alpine trail characteristic of Pikes Peak. The terrain will be difficult, but not too technical. This rocky mountain trail in Colorado’s backcountry Aspen attracts not only professional riders, but also amateur cyclists looking for an incredible endurance experience.
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To create a world-class event with economic impact to the area to improve trails and open spaces in the Pikes Peak region for the continued enjoyment of its residents and visitors.
Pikes Peak APEX is a project of the Colorado Springs Sports Corp. whose mission is to inspire and promote Colorado Springs, the US Olympic City, and the Pikes Peak region through sports and community events. The event is a fundraiser for the PPORA Trail Stewardship Fund
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