Colorado’s summer sport – Fort Carson Mountaineer (2023)

“The bike shops are great resources for anyone looking to get into mountain biking. From there it’s all about gaining experience and learning one’s skill level.”

— Fernando Martinez Batiz

by Scott Prater

Mountaineer staff

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Colorado Springs is home to some of the best mountain bike trails the state has to offer.

That’s great for the mountain bike enthusiast who has been riding for more than a few years and has gained a bit of knowledge about where the best trails are and how to reach them. But, folks interested in taking up a new sport or cyclists new to Colorado Springs may have some have questions about where to start.

Thankfully, there are loads of resources in town for people who want to get started, find the right bike, equipment and, most of all, where to find the right trail.

Fernando Martinez Batiz, recreation assistant at Fort Carson’s Outdoor Recreation department, recommends that riders download the Colorado Trail Explorer app called COTREX, which is also available for desktop. The free app allows users to find trails, view maps and learn more about specific trails.

“The app is super useful and helpful,” Martinez Batiz said. “It includes hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, plus it includes mileage and elevation and frequently updates any relevant closures.”

People new to the Pikes Peak Region should also visit the website. There, riders will find maps for every trail in every state and read reviews of the trails from people who’ve experienced them.

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The site also hosts forums where people review bikes, parts, supplies and pretty much everything that involves mountain biking.

Interested riders can also gain a lot of valuable information at one of Colorado Springs’ many local bike shops. Staff at the local bike shops can steer people in the right direction as far as the type of bike they’ll need given their skill level and the types of trails they can hope to ride.

“The bike shops are great resources for anyone looking to get into mountain biking,” said Martinez Batiz. “From there it’s all about gaining experience and learning one’s skill level.”

Beginners should get a feel for their bikes on local hiking trails in the city. Most are relatively flat and don’t present much technical difficulty.

The U.S. Air Force Academy offers trails for beginners and less experienced riders, specifically, the Falcon Trail, which loops around the academy, though it may be a bit long for some beginners as it’s nearly 13 miles long. Cheyenne Mountain State Park, just west of Fort Carson, has many beginner trails as well and they’re well marked at each intersection, making it hard to get lost. Palmer Park also may appeal to locals due to its central location and variety of difficulty.

Martinez Batiz recommends Red Rock Canyon Open Space, on the city’s west side, for beginners as its trail system offers a wide variety of skill-level trails and a skills park as well. The trails are well marked and navigating the area is fairly simple.

Fort Carson’s Outdoor Recreation offers mountain biking classes for interested riders and even includes bike rentals. Staff usually meet class attendees at local venues, where they teach skills and offer tips during a group ride. Outdoor Rec, as it’s known, is open to all DOD card holders and anyone else who has access to Fort Carson.


“Probably the most popular trail for avid mountain bikers can be found off of Gold Camp Road,” Martinez Batiz said. “Captain Jacks and the Chutes are well maintained trails and offer a flowy experience. The COTREX app and multiple websites will help direct riders to the trail head.”

A long-time rider, Martinez Batiz said mountain biking is a lifelong sport, one that offers fun and excitement while challenging its participants.

“It’s challenging physically, but it also presents riders with a mental game,” he said. “I think it’s similar to climbing. When you’re doing it, its just you and the trail. Everything else seems to melt away. It’s therapeutic, forces one to focus and it gives one a sense of exploring, especially if you’re on a new trail.”

Of course, anyone who has ridden a bike is aware of its dangers. Like any sport, if athletes want to improve it’s imperative that they push their limits.

That’s one reason it’s important to wear the proper protective equipment, including helmet, gloves and glasses. Martinez Batiz advises riders to also bring tools, water, spare tubes and a pump on rides as a precaution but insists they’ll most likely encounter other riders after a time if they stay on the trail.

“One great aspect to Red Rock Open Space is it includes features that riders can choose to skip the first few times they ride a trail, but as they gain more skill and experience, they may feel more confident in attempting a jump or steeper section.”

Adventurous or more experienced riders can also check into one of Colorado’s many ski resorts that offer downhill experiences on their ski mountains.

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Resorts in Summit County, Vail and Winter Park all host Mountain Bike Parks, where riders take the ski lift up (along with their bikes) and ride the trails down. The resorts offer trail maps to riders that show the same difficulty ratings as ski runs – green for easiest, blue for intermediate and black for expert trails, so it’s easy to choose the trail that’s right for them, whichever resort they choose to visit.

At Breckenridge, riders can take the chair lift at Peak eight and choose between a variety of skill-level trails.

At Vail Mountain, riders can take a gondola up the mountain and choose to cruise down easy routes along mountain prairies or opt for more technical trails in the trees.

Winter Park offers the Trestle Bike Park, which is famous for the wooden trestles intermingled among its trails.

Those who prefer to get away from crowds can visit Mountain Bike Granby Ranch, west of Rocky Mountain National Park. While experienced riders can challenge themselves there, the park also boasts several cross-country and family friendly trails.

If one doesn’t mind traveling a bit further, Crested Butte Mountain Resort hosts the Evolution Bike Park which touts more than 30 miles of multiple skill-level routes.

Keystone Ski Area’s Bike Park features jumps, rock gardens, free falls and wooden features as well as berms, ramps and a skill park, while offering more than 100 miles of trails, many for beginner-level riders.

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Mountain Bike enthusiasts can also find mountain bike parks at Copper Mountain, Telluride Ski Resort and Snowmass Village near Aspen.

Those who would prefer to gain some experience before heading off to the ski slopes have a few options.

Martinez Batiz recommends people try renting a bike from Outdoor Rec or a local bike shop before buying and then searching out opportunities to take instructional classes and group rides.

There are lots of options out there and people tend to come away with a better fit than someone who just walks into a store blind. Some shops and cycling organizations offer group rides, where more experienced riders can sort of mentor the newer folks.

The Women’s Mountain Biking Association of Colorado Springs, for instance, ( hosts group mountain bike rides for women in the area.

For more information about summertime as well as winter-time mountain biking adventure trips, instructional classes and bike-rental information, contact Fort Carson Outdoor Rec at


Which units are at Fort Carson? ›

Best Hometown in the Army!
  • 1st Space Brigade.
  • 4th Engineer Battalion.
  • 4th Security Force Assistance Brigade.
  • 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
26 Sept 2022

Is there Airborne at Fort Carson? ›

Currently, Fort Carson is the home of 4th Infantry Division and several other units, including 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), the Colorado National Guard Regional Training Institute and PCMS, which is a maneuver-training site for Fort Carson located near Trinidad, Colorado.

Who trains at Fort Carson? ›

Fort Carson is the home of the 4th Infantry Division, the 10th Special Forces Group, the 4th Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB), the 440th Civil Affairs Battalion (USAR), the 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), the 4th Engineer Battalion, the 759th Military Police Battalion, the 10th Combat Support Hospital, the 43rd ...

Who is Fort Carson named for? ›

Fort Carson was established in 1942 as Camp Carson in the months after the US entry into World War II. It was named after a frontiersman, trapper, Indian fighter, and general, "Kit" Carson. During WWII, Fort Carson was a training center for about 125 units, most famously the 10th Mountain Division.

Do female soldiers wear makeup? ›

Women soldiers may also wear nail polish and lipstick as long as the colors present a professional appearance and are not “extreme.” Extreme colors include blue, black, gold, white and bright colors.

Can you conceal carry on Fort Carson? ›

For instance, Fort Carson and Peterson AFB prohibit open and concealed carry, to include in your personal vehicle. Although weapons do not need to be registered with the state of Colorado, military installations require all weapons to be registered on post.

What is the biggest military base in Colorado? ›

According to the Department of Defense's report Demographics Profile of the Military Community for 2019 - the most recent year of comprehensive data by base - Fort Carson, located six miles from Colorado Springs, ranks as the largest military base in Colorado by troop count.

Is Fort Carson a good duty station? ›

Fort Carson, Colorado

There are tons of national parks, plus all the skiing and rock climbing you can handle. This is a great place for active soldiers and Denver is only an hour and 30 minutes away.

What are the 5 airborne divisions? ›

Eventually, over the course of World War II, the Army formed five airborne divisions (11th, 13th, 17th, 82d, and 101st) along with several separate parachute infantry regiments and battalions.

Does Fort Carson deploy? ›

The 4th Infantry Division based at Fort Carson is ready to "deploy, fight, and win in support of U.S. national interests" as the nation and world face "unprecedented challenges," Maj. Gen.

Where do people live when stationed at Fort Carson? ›

1) Where do families stationed at Fort Carson live? The majority of families live in Colorado Springs. Alternate cities include Monument, Peyton, Calhan, Palmer Lake, Fountain, and Falcon. Some families choose to live in privatized military housing on Fort Carson.

Is Fort Carson a good Army base? ›

Fort Carson is the "Best Hometown in the Army – Home of America's Best." One of the Army's youngest installations, Fort Carson, the Mountain Post, is a proud Army post located southwest of Colorado Springs, Colorado, between Interstate 25 and Highway 115.

Can retirees live on Fort Carson? ›

Fort Carson Family Homes serves as the on-base housing community for active duty Army families assigned to Fort Carson and we also welcome qualified military retirees and DOD civilians in select neighborhoods.

Can civilians enter Fort Carson? ›

Visitors will receive a background check, and after entering their information, including a driver's license or passport number, they will be notified if their pass is approved or denied. If approved, they can proceed to a kiosk at Visitor Control Center 1 for issuance of their pass.

How many soldiers are on Fort Carson? ›

The move will elevate troop numbers on Fort Carson above 25,000 - the most soldiers in Colorado Springs since the Vietnam War.

What are Army females called? ›

The law that established the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) gave its members, called Waacs, an official status and a salary but few of the benefits granted to male soldiers.

Can a male soldier tape a female soldier? ›

Soldiers will be measured by two trained individuals of the same gender. If a trained individual of the same gender is not available to conduct the measurements, a female Soldier will be present when a male Soldier measures a female, and a male Soldier will be present when a female measures a male.

Why are Beards not allowed in the military? ›

Growing a beard in the military

Beards were prohibited across all branches for two reasons: Hygiene and the need for a good seal while wearing a gas mask.

Do you have to wear jeans to conceal carry? ›

Again, the concealed carry clothing itself is not really all that important. Whatever you can wear that effectively conceals is all you need. Jeans and a t-shirt, it doesn't matter. how easily you can clear cover.

Can I get a passport on Fort Carson? ›

Fast Passport in Fort Carson

We offer a variety of quick passport processing options including an option to get a passport in 24-hours.

Where can you not conceal carry in Colorado? ›

Areas Off Limits
  • Airport's secure areas.
  • Any Public (City / County / State) building that screens for weapons.
  • Any area prohibited by Federal Law: Federal Buildings, Secure Areas, Monuments, & Memorials.
  • Public School Property (Elementary, Junior High, Middle, or Senior High School)

Is there a secret military base in Colorado? ›

The Cheyenne Mountain Complex is a Space Force installation and defensive bunker located in unincorporated El Paso County, Colorado, next to the city of Colorado Springs, at the Cheyenne Mountain Space Force Station, which hosts the activities of several tenant units.

What is the most remote US military base? ›

Eareckson Air Station (IATA: SYA, ICAO: PASY), formerly Shemya Air Force Base, is a United States Air Force military airport located on the island of Shemya, in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands.

What is the largest Army base in the world? ›

Topping the list for the world's largest military base is in Fort Bragg. This is located in the United State's North Carolina. Among military enthusiasts, it is also deemed the center of the military realm. Fort Bragg is home to more than 260,000 people, of which nearly 54,000 are active troop members.

What Army units get deployed the most? ›

Since 2002, the 10th Mountain Division has been the most deployed regular Army unit. Its combat brigades have seen over 20 deployments, to both Iraq and Afghanistan, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

What are the safest Army bases? ›

10 Safest Military Towns
  • Quantico Military Reservation Marine Corps (Marine Corps) – Quantico, Virginia.
  • Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg Base (Navy) in Shiremanstown, Pennsylvania.
  • Hanscom Air Force Base (Air Force) in Bedford, Massachusetts.
  • Naval Weapons Station Earle Base (Navy) in Colts Neck Township, New Jersey.
3 Oct 2022

What is the most elite airborne unit? ›

The Army's 82nd Airborne Division is based out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina and is an elite division specializing in joint forcible entry operations. The division was constituted, originally as the 82nd Division, in the National Army on August 5, 1917, shortly after the American entry into World War I.

What is the most famous airborne unit? ›

The only air assault division in the U.S. Army, the 101st Airborne is based out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and has a rich history dating back to World War II (or further, depending on how you view it!).

What is the best airborne unit in the Army? ›

Based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the 82nd Airborne Division is part of the XVIII Airborne Corps. The 82nd Airborne Division is the U.S. Army's most strategically mobile division.

Is Fort Carson deploying to Ukraine? ›

An undisclosed number of Fort Carson troops have been placed on "increased readiness" to deploy to Ukraine, should Russia invade, along with troops from at least nine other U.S. military installations, the Pentagon said Thursday. Among the 8,500 troops placed on prepare to deploy orders by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J.

Is Fort Carson a rapid deployment base? ›

FORT CARSON, Colorado – A Soldier from the Fort Carson, Colorado-based 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) developed a rapid deployment command and control system that reduces the time required to deploy to hotspots around the world.

What special forces are at Fort Carson? ›

10th Special Forces Group (United States)
10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
TypeSpecial Operations Forces
Part of1st Special Forces Command
Garrison/HQFort Carson
Motto(s)"De oppresso liber" (to free the oppressed)
12 more rows

How much bah do you get at Fort Carson? ›

2019 Enlisted Rates
With DependentsWithout Dependents
5 more rows

How many pets can you have at Fort Carson? ›

Pet Policy

Fort Carson Family Homes is a pet-friendly community—including large dogs! A maximum of two pets are allowed per home and our policies include certain breed restrictions.

What town is closest to Fort Carson? ›

Colorado Springs, CO

Located only 7 miles from the Fort Carson military installation, Colorado Springs offers families looking for homes to buy a wide variety of options.

What is Fort Carson famous for? ›

Located in the Colorado Springs area, this fort is one of several important military bases and operations in the region including Peterson Air Force Base, NORAD, and the U.S. Air Force Academy. Fort Carson was built during World War Two, making it one of the youngest Army operations in the United States.

Are there elk on Fort Carson? ›

There's plenty of land for hunters to take advantage of; about 94,000 acres on Fort Carson and 224,000 acres on PCMS. “We do everything from bear, mountain lion, deer, elk and pronghorn,” Peyton said. “At Piñon Canyon there are occasionally a few bighorn sheep hunters.” Turkey hunting is also popular.

What kind of base is Fort Carson Colorado? ›

Fort Carson is a 137,000-acre United States Army installation and census-designated place (CDP). It's located 8 miles south of downtown Colorado Springs at an elevation of 5,814′. In 2020 there was a recorded population of 14,951 residents.

Can you wear your military uniform after retirement? ›

(c) A retired officer of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Space Force may bear the title and wear the uniform of his retired grade.

Does it snow a lot in Fort Carson? ›

Your winter months, while stationed at Fort Carson, will be pleasant, if not slightly colder than the rest of the year. December through February is when the majority of snow falls (an average of 23 inches annually).

Where is the best place to live for a military retiree? ›

They include Anchorage, Alaska; Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Vancouver, Washington. All three cities rank particularly well for our military retirement friendliness category with veterans over the age of 65 making up more than 2.5% of each city's total population.

Does Fort Carson have air assault? ›

It is multiple days living and training in the field. This day is air assault training. “There are a lot of nuances of how to really effectively do an air assault,” said Hensel. The mission goal is getting soldiers inserted quickly into enemy territory.

What do you need to ride a motorcycle on Fort Carson? ›

In order to ride on Fort Carson, people must have a state endorsed motorcycle license.

How many gates are on Fort Carson? ›

Fort Carson has six all-traffic access points and one commercial. The Main Gate 1, Commercial Gate 3, Gate 4, and Gate 20 are all open 24 hours. Both Gate 1 and Gate 3 are Visitor Control Center (VCC) locations; only the latter handles contractors and vendors. Gate 5 is open 0500-2100, 7 days a week.

Are female soldiers allowed to wear makeup? ›

Unless medically prescribed, men still can not wear makeup. These makeup policies apply to female soldiers: Women can wear makeup in all uniforms.

Can you wear nails in the Army? ›

Square and rounded nails are authorized. Male Soldiers are authorized to wear clear nail polish. Male Soldiers will keep nails trimmed so as not to extend beyond the fingertip. Female Soldiers will not exceed a nail length of 1/4 inch as measured from the tip of the finger.

Can females wear earrings in PT uniform? ›

Female Soldiers may wear earrings only as a matched pair, with only one earring per standard ear lobe. Earrings are not authorized to be worn in the cartilage, industrial, transverse lobe, tragus, or conch part of the ear.

What cavalry units are at Fort Carson? ›

17th Cavalry Regiment – Fort Carson Mountaineer.

What field artillery units are at Fort Carson? ›

The 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery is a unit of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team (3rd BCT) of the 4th Infantry Division, United States Army. The battalion is currently garrisoned at Fort Carson, Colorado (Colorado Springs).

Where is 10th Special Forces Group located? ›

The 1st Battalion remained in Germany as part of Special Forces Detachment-Europe, and is currently located at Panzer Kaserne in Stuttgart. Between 1994 and 1995, 10th SFG moved to Fort Carson, Colorado, where three line battalions, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, plus a Group Support Battalion, operate today.

Where do most Cav Scouts get stationed? ›

Duty Stations
  • Benning, GA.
  • Bliss, TX.
  • Bragg, NC.
  • Campbell, KY.
  • Carson, CO.
  • Drum, NY.
  • Eustis, VA.
  • Hood, TX.
11 Aug 2020

What is the name of the most famous American Army unit? ›

442nd Regimental Combat Team

How much is Fort Carson Bah? ›

2019 Enlisted Rates
With DependentsWithout Dependents
5 more rows

Can veterans live on Fort Carson? ›

Fort Carson Family Homes serves as the on-base housing community for active duty Army families assigned to Fort Carson and we also welcome qualified military retirees and DOD civilians in select neighborhoods.

What is the smallest unit in the army? ›

The smallest unit in an army is the squad, which contains 7 to 14 soldiers and is led by a sergeant. (A slightly larger unit is a section, which consists of 10 to 40 soldiers but is usually used only within headquarters or support organizations.)

Is a corps bigger than a division? ›

A corps includes two to five divisions with anywhere between 20,000 and 45,000 soldiers. A lieutenant general is in command. The corps is the highest level of command that can provide operational direction for actual combat. Higher levels are concerned with administration rather than operations.

Which is bigger battalion or regiment? ›

NATO defines a battalion as "larger than a company, but smaller than a regiment" while "consisting of two or more company-, battery-, or troop-sized units and a headquarters." The standard NATO symbol for a battalion consists of a pair of vertical lines placed above a framed unit icon.

What is the most decorated Special Forces group? ›

5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

What is the highest Special Forces group? ›

7th Group—as it is sometime called—is designed to deploy and execute nine doctrinal missions: unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, direct action, counter-insurgency, special reconnaissance, counter-terrorism, information operations, counterproliferation of weapon of mass destruction, and security force ...

What is the oldest Special Forces group? ›

Special Forces traces its lineage to the First Special Service Force (FSSF), constituted on July 5, 1942. A combined U.S. and Canadian unit, the FSSF was originally formed to conduct unconventional warfare in Nazi-occupied Norway.


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