Improvements coming to three Colorado Springs parks, trails

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Hikers will soon have another way to get down from the Manitou Incline and more places to park at Red Rock Canyon Open Space, the city announced Friday.

The city said crews will begin work Tuesday on these two projects, along with a renovation of the Shooks Run Trail. Here are the details on each project:

New Northern Incline Trail

Map provided by the City of Colorado Springs

Construction is beginning on the first phase of the new Northern Incline Trail, which includes a 1.1-mile naturally-surfaced trail section built on Colorado Springs city property just north of the Manitou Incline. The trail connects the Incline at railroad tie 1300 – approximately halfway up the Incline – to the Ute Pass Regional Trail, providing an option other than Barr Trail for users to hike down from the Incline.

Construction is expected to last until the end of July, weather depending.

The project is in partnership with the Incline Friends, who contributed funding for planning, development and building costs. The property where the trail is being built was acquired by the city in the 2016 land exchange with The Broadmoor.

The Northern Incline trail, identified in the 2011 Manitou Incline Site Development and Management Plan, is being built in two phases. The second phase will begin at tie 1300 and stretch to the top of the Incline. That portion of trail will run through the Pike National Forest, owned and managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and must be approved through the National Environmental Protection Act process before construction can begin.

More parking at Red Rock Canyon Open Space

The current entrance and parking area at Red Rock Canyon Open Space. / Aerial photo courtesy City of Colorado Springs
The current entrance and parking area at Red Rock Canyon Open Space. / Aerial photo courtesy City of Colorado Springs

To better accommodate the volume of visitors at this popular destination, 45 stalls are being added to the main parking lot at Highway 24 and Ridge Road, along with some additional improvements to the existing parking lot.

The project includes the creation of a new trailhead with 17 stalls along 26th Street, which is about a quarter-mile north of the intersection of Gold Camp Road and 26th Street.

The entire project is expected to be complete in early July, weather dependent.

The open space will remain open throughout construction, but a portion of the parking lot will be closed for approximately two weeks to facilitate construction. If the parking lots are at capacity, visitors are encouraged to visit another park or open space.

These improvements were recommended in the 2013 Red Rock Canyon Open Space Master Plan. The $225,000 project is funded by the voter-approved Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) sales tax.

Renovation of Shooks Run Trail

Existing asphalt will be removed and replaced with concrete from Columbia to Uintah streets along the Shooks Run Trail corridor.

The new concrete trail will be 10-feet wide with a 2-foot gravel running path on one side of the trail. The project includes four new, ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps.

This section of Shooks Run Trail will be detoured throughout construction, which is expected to last through the end of June, weather dependent. Users should employ additional caution in this area and follow posted detour signs.

This is a section of the Legacy Loop, an approximately 10-mile loop around downtown Colorado Springs defined by the Pikes Peak Greenway on the west and south, the Shooks Run trail on the east, and the Rock Island Corridor to the north.

This renovation is funded by voter-approved 2B, which allowed the city to retain $7 million in excess TABOR revenue for specific park projects. 2B-funded trail improvements are also planned for the Homestead, Mesa and Sand Creek trails later this year.

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