| Maintained by Boy Scout Troop 78
USAF Academy, Colorado
Welcome to the United States Air Force Academy Falcon
Trail. Approximately 12 miles long, the trail is open to all
hikers. It has been designed to give you a good look at the natural
and man-made beauty of the Academy.
FALCON TRAIL REGULATIONS
1. The start and finish point for the trail is immediately south
of Building 5132, the Youth Center building. This building is identified
by a large blue sign and is shown on the Falcon Trail map. Some
groups may prefer to start and end their hike at the Academy camping
2. Please do not litter the trail, nor deface trees, rocks, trail
3. Hikers are required to follow the marked trail. Military training
or construction which might be hazardous to hikers may be in progress
in off-trail judgment.
4. CAUTION: During the summer months, thunderstorms can build up
very rapidly. The danger of lightning strike is very real. Please
use care, planning, and judgment.
SIGNS ALONG THE FALCON TRAIL
The Falcon Trail is home for many different types of plants and
animals. As you hike the trail, you should be aware of the various
plant communities, animal habitats, and geological areas. Fourteen
trail signs have been numbered to correspond with the numbers and
information below. This information has been prepared to tell about
the different plants, geology, and natural phenomena in the area
of the signs. ENJOY THE HIKE!
SIGN 1. Even though dead and lying on the ground, the pine’s
job is not finished. It will return minerals to the solid which
were borrowed during growth. To accomplish this, the dead trees
have many helpers. Can you name some of them?
In a few years the log will be returned tot he soil to make food
for future trees and grasses.
Please be careful along the trail; remember, this is home for our
SIGN 2. The grass, cactus and forbes such as yucca in this area
grow well with the average 15-inch rainfall. Try to observe some
of the wildlife here, such as deer, rabbits, coyotes, and a large
variety of birds.
SIGN 3. The high mountain ahead of you is called Blodgett Peak.
On this mountain are bighorn sheep, the Colorado State animal. The
mountain is 9,423 feet in elevation and is in the Rampart Range
which borders the Academy. Where you are standing, the elevation
is 6,892 feet. How much higher is Blodgett Peak?
SIGN 4. Water in this creek is from snow that has melted high in
the mountains. It will eventually flow to the Gulf of Mexico. If
you look closely, you may see trout, and along the banks, signs
of many other animals. How many signs of mule deer do you see?
SIGN 5. Eroded sandstone outcroppings, such as the one near the
top of this ridge ahead of you, serve as a home for falcons, hawks,
and other birds.
SIGN 6. Along the creek, for the next several hundred years are
numerous conservation dam projects built by hikers of the Falcon
Trail. These help prevent solid erosion and provide shelters for
aquatic life. The marsh plants provide a favorite habitat for many
small animals. Look for mice, voles, and other small rodents. In
the nearby woods, you may see a weasel which feeds on the small
rodents. Take a moment to study the pond. How many different kinds
of wildlife did you see there?
SIGN 7. About 1/4 mile to the west is the trail head to Stanley
Canyon Reservoir. This trail leaves the Academy and crosses the
Pike National Forest ending 2 miles later at the reservoir. The
trail continues on from Stanley Reservoir another 5.5 miles to Farish
Memorial. A handout similar to this one explains some of the features
along this trail.
SIGN 8. The area surrounding this ponderosa pine tree is part of
an alluvial fan where soil has been washed down from the mountain
SIGN 9. The wavy lines on your map are called Contour lines. These
lines show elevation and “the lay of the land.” If you
look to the east, you will notice that the land falls gradually
away from you. Looking at the map, you see the contour lines are
far apart. Looking to the west, the hill is steep and the contour
lines are closer together. A contour line that forms a “V”
with the point uphill indicates a drainage, with the point downhill,
SIGN 10. This next section of the Falcon Trail overlaps with an
environmental trail. A series of signs on this trail provide information
about the areas geology, vegetation, history, and wildlife.
SIGN 11. One of the most complete marshland communities on the
Academy is along this creek. The plants you see are rushes, sedges,
and cattails. Many animals and birds live near this area. What different
animal signs did you see?
SIGN 12. The bubbles you see in the lake help purify the wastewater
by putting oxygen in the water. The water is recycled and used for
irrigation on the Academy. Did you notice any horned toads on the
SIGN 13. Have you noticed some of the contour ditches along the
trail? They were made to stop soil erosion from water running too
quickly downhill. These areas were planted with grasses and shrubs
SIGN 14. This is the oldest building still standing on the Academy,
built in 1869 by William Burgess. This log cabin is a memorial to
the pioneer people who homesteaded in our region and who lived in
cabins such as this. How many beautiful, tufted-eared Aberts’
squirrels do you see around the old pioneer cabin?