Fountain Valley News - Your Hometown Community Newspaper

By Bill Banks
From Fountain Creek Watershed District 

Know before you go: Be aware of restrictions before going out

 

Last updated 8/5/2020 at 12:47pm

News Photo by Karin Hill

The road up Pikes Peak can be driven by car, but the shuttle is recommended during heavy tourism months.

"Summertime, and the livin' is easy." So goes the famous song penned by George Gershwin and DuBose Heyward in 1934. The bright, summertime days lure us outdoors. And after a difficult spring, we're ready to take full advantage of the many recreational opportunities in the Fountain Creek Watershed.

However, due to COVID-19, new rules may be in place regarding your destination's open hours, reservation requirements, parking availability, pets or mask usage. For example, if you want to fish at the Catamount Reservoirs, it's a good idea to reserve a parking space before loading your tackle and driving up the pass.

The livin' CAN be easy! Just be sure to find out important updates before heading out to bike, hike, fish, paddleboard or kayak in our watershed.

Good news: We've done some research for you!

Check out the following list for ideas about where to go and what to do, then click the links for details. Before heading out the door, take just a bit of time to assure your summertime fun.

Pikes Peak – America's Mountain

To minimize the interaction between visitors and Pikes Peak Highway staff, consider purchasing your one-day admission ticket online. Due to construction on the summit and limited parking, there's a good chance you'll need to ride the complimentary shuttle. Masks are required on the shuttles and in the gift shops. Visit here for details: https://coloradosprings.gov/pikes-peak-americas-mountain

Paddleboarding throughout the region

From Lake Pueblo State Park to Rampart Reservoir, there are a surprising number of opportunities to enjoy stand-up paddleboarding in our watershed. Visit this link for a list of lakes, classes and rental outfitters: https://www.visitcos.com/things-to-do/itineraries/outdoors/places-to-sup/. (Note: At the time of this writing, Prospect Lake is closed due to toxic blue-green algae.)

North Slope Recreation Area

Due to limited parking near the North and South Catamount Reservoirs, a free parking pass is required. Some spots can be reserved online, while some are on a space-available basis each day. Once the parking lots are full, the Catamount gate will be closed until visitors leave and parking becomes available. No parking pass is required for the Crystal Reservoir parking lot, however, the water level is low due to a utilities project. The reservoir will be filled this year, but fish will not be restocked until the project is completed in 2021. Visit this link for details: https://coloradosprings.gov/pikes-peak-americas-mountain/page/north-slope-recreation-area?mlid=31446

South Slope Recreation Area

Use of this area is by permit only. Plan to purchase your day-use permit online, since they are not available on site. The fee is $20 per vehicle, with up to 8 people per vehicle. McReynolds Reservoir is undergoing safety-related repairs, and the water level is low. Boats are not recommended, and the quality of fishing may be negatively impacted. Good news: Mason Reservoir is open, and it's a great alternative for anglers. Visit this link for details: https://coloradosprings.gov/southslope?mlid=41181

Peddle boating at the Pueblo Riverwalk

What a great way to celebrate a birthday or enliven a family reunion! The Pueblo Riverwalk rents peddle boats for groups of 2-4 from the same household. Check here for details and to make the required reservation:

https://www.puebloriverwalk.org/

Hiking and biking watershed greenways

In Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail is a north-west trail known by different names, including the Santa Fe Regional Trail. This trail runs alongside Fountain Creek from the Air Force Academy (at the north end) to the City of Fountain (at the south end). Keep walking or riding south, and you'll be on the Fountain Creek Regional Trail in El Paso County. In Pueblo, the Fountain Creek Trail is 4.6-miles long and follows its namesake creek through the northeastern neighborhoods.

Pikes Peak

Did you know that part of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District's mission is to connect these two trail sections to become part of the lengthy Front Range Trail? The District works with land owners, counties and cities to find the best solution to all parties, so easements can be secured and a safe, secure corridor can be created through sensitive landscapes, private property and urban areas. Stay tuned for news on this exciting project!

https://trails.colorado.gov/trails/pikes-peak-greenway-12175

https://trails.colorado.gov/trails/fountain-creek-21968

Bill Banks is the Executive Director of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District.

 

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