Westside Pioneer Home Page

A crew with the contractor, Langston Concrete, began a project for Colorado Springs Parks the week of Sept. 10 that includes relocating the Foothills Trail around the Garden of the Gods shuttle parking lot (foreground) as well as the Rock Ledge Ranch parking lot (background), which it used to go through. The new trail alignment will put it closer to 30th Street, traffic on which can be seen at left. The photo was taken from Gateway Road, looking south.
Westside Pioneer photo

Project begins to realign Foothills, Gateway trails in Garden of the Gods

Sept. 13, 2018
       Two long-time trails on the east side of the Garden of the Gods are being realigned to improve their accessibility and user enjoyment in a $440,000
An edited aerial photo shows the planned layout of the Foothills and Gateway trails after a project to realign them this fall. The Foothills Trail, running north-south (right of center in the graphic), will swing around the Rock Ledge Ranch parking lot, instead of through it; and much of the east-west Gateway Trail (top, though not identified by name) will be moved farther north from Gateway Road. This graphic can be compared with the one below, showing the current layout of both trails.
Courtesy of Colorado Springs Parks
Colorado Springs Parks project that started the week of Sept. 10.
       The Foothills Trail, a north-south pedestrian/bicycle link running through the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site parking lot and paralleling 30th Street, will now go around that lot, as well as the new shuttle parking area, thus “eliminating conflict” with motorized vehicles, said David Deitemeyer, the project manager for City Parks.
       The affected trail segment will be just under half a mile in length, from Chambers Drive to Gateway Road. Rock Ledge is technically within the Garden's boundaries.
       Also roughly a half-mile long, the Gateway Trail between 30th Street and the Garden of the Gods is the other main project focus. It is currently less than 10 feet from Gateway Road in places; parts of it will be moved as much as 150 feet north to “improve the trail experience,” Deitemeyer said.
       Included in the Gateway Trail element will be the installation of a wider bridge, with a steel frame and a concrete deck instead of the current unit made of wood, for the trail's new crossing over Camp Creek, he pointed out.
       The project contractor is Langston Concrete, from Canon City. Work is expected to last at least until Thanksgiving.
       “These trails provide an important connection for locals and visitors hiking through the park,” Deitemeyer said. “There will be intermittent closures during
A map shows the the current layout of the Foothills Trail (upper portion) and Gateway trails. Note: The boundaries of the Rock Ledge Ranch property actually go farther north than shown here (note the arrow), and its parking lot is indicated only with a "P" inside a circle. In any case, the dotted north-south line at right represents the Foothills Trail going through the lot up to Gateway Road. This graphic can be compared with the one above, showing the future trail alignments.
Courtesy of Colorado Springs Parks
the improvement project, but we hope to maintain access to the park as much as possible.”
       Other work by Langston, he added, will consist of improving the drainage around the relocated trails and replacing some damaged concrete pavers along about a quarter-mile of the existing Foothills Trail north of Gateway Road.
       Although the project has started, there could still be one big change, Deitemeyer elaborated. The original concept had called for the relocated trails to have pavers like those on other Garden pathways - colored rose pink to match the city park's rock formations.
       However, such pavers don't come cheap - they'd add about $350,000 to the project cost - and they're not part of the current scope.
       But City Parks has not given up on the idea. Deitemeyer said other funding sources are being sought within the department, mainly from the budgets for projects not likely to be built soon.
       If money can be found that way, Langston's officials have said they'd be OK with putting in the colored pavers, Deitemeyer added.
       For now, in their stead, the contract calls for a trail surface consisting of smaller rocks that can be compacted easily, he said. While not as smooth as concrete, he said the surface will be easier for cyclists than the present-day gravel, which is loose in places.
       The project's current monetary sources are the Trails, Open Space and Parks sales tax ($260,000) and the Lodgers and Automobile Rental sales tax ($180,000), the press release reports.
       A future project - with a separate budget and overseen by a different city department - will create an underpass for the Foothills Trail at Gateway Road. Deitemeyer said that work will be part of a major 30th Street upgrade, tentatively planned to start in 2020.
       An underpass is “certainly needed,” Deitemeyer observed, because the trail's current at-grade crossing at Gateway (next to the Rock Ledge and shuttle parking lot entrance, just west of 30th) can get “very congested,” not only with its proximity to the parking areas, but also to the Garden's Visitor & Nature Center and as the main entrance to the Garden of the Gods. The 30th and Gateway intersection itself is to be controlled by a continuous-flow roundabout, according to the 30th Street project plans.

Westside Pioneer article
(Outdoors: Garden of the Gods)

Would you like to respond to this article? The Westside Pioneer welcomes letters at editor@westsidepioneer.com. (Click here for letter-writing criteria.)