Nested within the sprawling grounds of the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Falcon Trail offers a well-rounded, 12-mile loop that keeps mountain bikers on their toes. With a range of steep climbs, fast downhills, and technical sections, this trail is designed for the intermediate to advanced rider.
- Location: US Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO.
- How to Reach: Take I-25 to Northgate of Air Force Academy Non-Military Entrance (Exit 156B). After clearing security, turn left onto Stadium Blvd and right onto Academy Dr.
- Parking: The parking lot is at the top of the hill on the right side, near the stadium.
Note: The trail opens to the public at 9 a.m., so plan accordingly.
What to Expect
The Falcon Trail is not your ordinary bike path; it is a medley of challenges and scenic vistas that can leave even seasoned riders buzzing with excitement. Here's what riders can anticipate:
- Route Type: Loop
- Distance: 12 miles
- Level: Intermediate
- Terrain: Singletrack with some road crossings.
- Long Climbs: Going clockwise, you'll encounter climbs that feel endless but offer a rewarding experience once conquered.
- Technical Descents: Fast and flowy downhill sections complemented by rocks and switchbacks.
- Stream Crossings: Keep an eye out for creeks that add an extra layer to the trail.
- Scenic Views: Panoramic vistas are sprinkled throughout the ride, making the physical exertion worthwhile.
Riders who've tackled this loop have a lot to say:
- Versatility: It offers a mix of challenges from steep climbs to flowy single tracks, making it a multi-faceted experience.
- Ride Time: For first-timers, allocate around 3 hours for a complete loop.
- Trail Conditions: The trail can be sandy and washed out in places, affecting your speed and maneuverability.
- Direction: Some riders prefer going counter-clockwise for a better downhill experience.
Recommendations and Tips
- Not for Beginners: Given the trail's diversity in terrain and some steep climbs, it is not advisable for first-time mountain bikers.
- Safety First: Watch out for road crossings and be cautious near the streams, especially if they're running strong.
- Local Rules: Check in with the Air Force Academy Visitor Center for the latest updates on trail accessibility and requirements.
Whether you're a local or visiting from out of state, the Falcon Trail is worth the effort and time. It tests your mettle, thrills your senses, and offers a fulfilling day out on the bike. Make sure to add this one to your mountain biking bucket list.