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HAPPY TRAILS: The Rock Island Trail
• 2 wheels
• 5.8 miles each way
• Minimal elevation gain
This mostly paved bike and pedestrian path winds from downtown east through the suburbs and rolling hills to Powers Boulevard, where you’ll have to turn around and return the way you came. But with a tunnel under Powers planned and other trail connections in the works, you will be able to sense the potential of what could be a great trail network.
To get there
The trail starts where the Shooks Run Trail ends at the railroad tracks on North Weber Street. Either ride to this point or drive and park at the shopping center on Wahsatch Avenue and ride two blocks to the trail intersection.
The trail mostly parallels the old, rarely-used railroad tracks. You will pass Patty Jewett Golf Course, and Union and Academy boulevards. Once you cross Murray Boulevard, the terrain becomes much more hilly. Turn around at Powers.
For a nice loop with a little more huffing and puffing, head north on the Homestead Trail at Academy Boulevard, which winds around the outskirts of Palmer Park and joins the Greencrest Trail. Follow that east to the Pikes Peak Greenway, and ride that south to where it meets Beacon Street. Get off the trail and work your way through neighborhoods back to your car to complete this classic loop.
Pick up the excellent Colorado Springs Bike Map, available for $7.95 at most bike and outdoors shops, if you are new to the urban trail network. Leashed dogs are allowed on the urban trails. No motor vehicles allowed.
A scale of one to four wheels. One is easiest, with little elevation gain, and it is at a reasonable altitude. Four is most difficult, with severe elevation gain, difficult terrain or extreme length or altitude.