Hit the Trails: Recreational Running Right Off Campus

By BELLA STAAL

Colorado College students hike, climb, bike, and ski. We’re known for our love of the outdoors and adventurous spirits, but how often are we associated with an activity as seemingly mundane as running? Not often, which is strange considering that running is such a valuable activity for mental and physical health and offers a plethora of opportunities for students to explore the nearby area. Even if you’re not already a regular runner, there is nothing stopping you from going for a jog on one of the many routes that Colorado Springs has to offer. 

Photo by Mikaela Burns

Of course, the most convenient way to run in nature is the Monument Creek Trail—colloquially known as the Tiger Trail—which runs right along the west side of campus. There are trails on either side of the creek so you can easily get in a three-mile loop by crossing a bridge at some point, without having to turn around and run back on the same trail. The total trail distance is roughly 4.25 miles, and there is little to no incline, so it’s great for beginners. The trail is popular, so groups of bikers may be something to keep in mind, but it’s always enjoyable to see some familiar CC faces and the many dogs that people take on walks.

If you’re looking for a longer run, the Monument Creek Trail is also connected to the Pikes Peak Greenway trail. This 16-mile trail can take you as far as the Air Force Academy. As the name suggests, the trail offers a spectacular view of Pike’s Peak and passes through other areas of interest such as Fountain Creek and Palmer Lake.

Although not as heavily used, the nearby Shooks Run trail is another well-known trail which passes through Shooks Park. The asphalt trail is away from campus up Cache La Poudre Street (imagine the quad being on your left). After you cross North El Paso Street, you should see a bridge above the road which is the trail cutting across Cache La Poudre. Once you get onto the bridge you can take a left, which takes you a couple more miles and then connects with the 14.8-mile Rock Island Trail. A shorter run is to the right, as the trail ends in just a couple of miles.

Finally, if you’re looking for more of a running community open to all levels of expertise rather than a specific trail, you may be interested in joining Jack Quinn’s Running Club. The club does a 5k every Tuesday, and you can sign in at Jack Quinn’s Pub downtown anytime from 5:30-7 p.m. to run. The route goes by Monument Creek and through other areas of the Springs, and it’s a great opportunity to meet and connect with other people in the community who are also interested in living an active lifestyle.

No matter your running experience, getting out on local trails is a great way to see and engage with the Colorado Springs community. Moreover, with the cooler temperatures and changing leaves, fall is an ideal time to hit the trail. Grab a friend and run off some of that Block Plan stress!

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