Legacy Loop

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LEGACY LOOP is an approximately 10-mile trail, park and recreation 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.  It is a way to connect, create, and protect our community value, inspired by the legacy and vision of Colorado Springs' founder General William Jackson Palmer. Palmer's dream was of a vibrant, livable city where the essential functions of mobility and access are linked to our parks, open space and trails.

The first phase of the Legacy Loop is underway.  Our project overview provides an update of completed, ongoing and future phase 1 projects.

View Overview

Three primary objectives of the Legacy Loop initiative:

  • Leverage existing park and trail assets by improving the safety, functionality and connectivity of the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail as it runs through Monument Valley Park in the heart of Colorado Springs;
  • Create a regionally significant trail connection through the acquisition and construction of the long sought-after Rock Island trail connection; and
  • Create new and lasting recreational opportunities throughout the project area for the citizens of Colorado Springs.

Legacy Loop Phase 1

Projects Underway

  • Trail head design Phase 1: parking area, plaza and trail. As funding becomes available, additional phases will be added. Construction start: this winter.
  • Rock Island Trail: construction anticipated to start this winter.
  • Uintah Street Underpass: construction documents in development.
  • Mesa Creek Crossing: construction documents in development.

Legacy Loop Phase 1 Presentation to Parks Advisory Board


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Legacy Loop

DiscoverCOS - Legacy Loop from City of Colorado Springs on Vimeo.


Legacy Loop is a comprehensive, collaborative community trails and parks development initiative encircling the downtown area of Colorado Springs. Led by the City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services Division and its primary partner, The Greenway Fund, the goal is to create a continuous greenway loop surrounding the core area of the city, capitalizing on recreational opportunities within and along our system of creeks. Inspired by the 100-year-old vision of Colorado Springs founder, General William Jackson Palmer, this project will improve access to outdoor recreation, increase trail connectivity, make the most of our waterway assets, and enhance parks for our families by creating a nearly 10-mile (16k) loop with no street crossings - meaning a safe and beautiful trail system for our city.

In the year 1871, General William Jackson Palmer’s founding of Colorado Springs envisioned a bold and far-sighted vision for a city that was singularly inspiring and imminently livable. Nestled at the base of Pikes Peak, General Palmer believed that the natural environment was the most important asset in creating the uplifting, family-friendly city of his dreams. Parks, trails, natural areas and the means to accept these treasures were the central organizing themes in the design of Palmer’s new city.

General Palmer’s legacy has left a powerful imprint of nature on Colorado Springs today. His legacy helped to forge a city where central functions of mobility and access were linked to the restorative and recreational power of parks and open spaces to create an exceptional city that is much loved by its visitors and residents alike.  – Karen Palus, Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services Director, City of Colorado Springs.

Public Weighs In on Legacy Loop

During the July 30 outdoor gathering of nearby residents, citizens, trail users and bicyclists, the public viewed displays and provided input on preferences for landscaping, aesthetics, lighting, way finding signage, themed gathering areas, historical interpretation, and event staging facilities at the site of the new Legacy Plaza/trail head. 

Self-Guided Phase 1 Tour  Phase 1 Map  Large file. may take a moment to load.

The public weighed-in on the theme options of Sportsmanship, River and Local History, with the River theme rising to the top of public opinion as the preferred designs.

City of Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers attended the event and presented a project update stating, "Originally referred to as the Emerald Necklace, Legacy Loop has been a vision within our community inspired by our city's founding father, General William Palmer. This vision comes alive with Legacy Loop through increased access to recreational amenities and to downtown Colorado Springs; increased alternative modes of transportation; added economic vitality; and access and interaction with the water."

The first set of Legacy Loop projects are funded through a Great Outdoors Colorado grant, secured in part through the efforts of the Greenway Fund, a local organization advocating for innovative transformation of our regional creeks through the development of greenway trails and water access, connecting the community to our waterways through recreational opportunities and an enhanced natural experience, and protecting natural environmental assets in partnership with local government, non-profits and business.  

River Theme Set to Come to Life at New Legacy Plaza 

Following several public meetings, expos and forums, including an outdoor pedal and self-guided trail tour, the Legacy Plaza concept and wayfinding designs for the Legacy Loop trail and trail head are in the process of being reviewed by community boards and commissions prior to moving forward to the next phase of implementation. Anticipated future public activities and events at the site prompted the public to recommend the new trail head now be referred to as Legacy Plaza.

Preferred Design Concepts for the new Legacy Plaza will incorporate aspects of the Sportsmanship and Local History, with the River Theme serving as the predominant concept. Orienting the site toward Monument Creek and echoing its movement through the ground plane may present opportunities for terraced amphitheater seating and shade structures. Additional suggestions from the public input process include a trellis over a portion of the trail and a square parking lot configuration with a formal drop-off area and close-in parking. Pervious paving systems for filtering runoff to the creek, other storm drains, soft surface trails for runners with a preference for reducing concrete as much as possible with the use of crusher fines, pavers, and other natural hardscape materials instead of concrete and asphalt were also suggested. While the existing project funding won't enable the entire master planA plan for the development of a portion of the city that contains proposed land uses, a generalized transportation system, and the relationship of the area included in the plan to surrounding property. to be completed at this time, the core of the plaza will be built first while the Parks Department continues to fundraise for additional features.

Review Presentation  Large file. may take a moment to load.

Signage and Wayfinding

Over the past several months the public has provided feedback to a new signage and way finding concept for Legacy Loop and the adjacent trail system. Goals of the way finding program are to:

  • Enable visitors and residents to orient themselves on the trail
  • Facilitate travel to and from important destinations
  • Develop and enhance the Legacy Loop's brand and aesthetic image
  • Create a sense of place that is evident throughout the trail system
  • Highlight and support Legacy Loop and Colorado Springs' character and history

Proposed Signage of Legacy Loop  Large file. may take a moment to load.

The visual identity, signage and wayfinding for Legacy Loop is inspired by the rich heritage of Colorado Springs and its surrounding environments. The concept of 'legacy' was important in establishing a recognizable brand that both honors the vision set forth by General Palmer for the original Emerald Necklace, as well as the future for the City of Colorado Springs. With nods to Van Briggle tiles, mission style motifs and materials and colors found in the local environment, the signage is distinctly representative of the community, as well as the overall plan for the Legacy Loop trail system and the department city-wide trails/parks near and long-term goals.


For questions about the Legacy Loop project, contact:

Britt Haley, City of Colorado Springs at Britt.haley@coloradosprings.gov 

Christine Lowenberg, The Greenway Fund at Christine@greenwayfund.org