Our fresh Colorado air can really help alleviate feeling stuck inside. Here’s how to enjoy our great outdoors responsibly, through social distancing.
Perhaps now more than ever, parks, trails and open spaces are providing a much-needed reprieve to sustain both physical and mental health. These are the places that are helping us all cope with the uncertainty of this public health crisis that has disrupted our daily lives and left us feeling stuck inside. In order to keep enjoying our great outdoors, we all need to do our part to use these areas in a way that respects each other and public health guidance.
This means we need to use these areas differently than we normally do, even if it feels overly cautious. We've compiled a list of safe ways to enjoy our outdoor recreation while maintaining proper social distancing.
Most trails and parks remain open, though facilities like restrooms and pavilions are closed. Explorers are encouraged to practice social distancing while outdoors, wear face masks, avoid crowded trails and take any necessary precautions.
Open Activities (Please Note Any Restrictions)
Angler's Covey – You can still outfit your fly fishing adventure, whether tying flies or preparing for your next on-water adventure! Angler's Covey is back open for normal business hours (6 am - 6 pm daily) and also offers online shopping, phone orders and curbside pick-up. Book guided fly fishing trips, scout out where to go and take a private lesson. Visit their website for more information.
Barr Camp – Pikes Peak's Barr Camp is open for limited services such as restrooms, creek and ground access, curb-side service of prepacked snacks, water filters and merchandise. Masks are required on Barr campgrounds. NO overnight stays are permitted at this time.
Clear Spring Ranch – Clear Spring Ranch and the trails within are now open for use from 5 am - 9 pm daily. Bathroom facilities and indoor facilities remain closed at this time. You can find more details on the website.
Colorado Camping – El Paso County Public Health has issued a Notice of Determination stating all campgrounds are permitted to reopen. Please click here for more information.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife – Group picnic areas for groups of 25 or fewer; campgrounds including cabins, yurts and group camping for groups of 25 or fewer; camper services buildings; and designated swim areas are now open. Please follow all directions and precautions required by Governor Polis's Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors Order. The check-in time for all yurt and cabin reservations is now 4 p.m. Playgrounds at Colorado's state parks remain closed until further notice.
Colorado Trail Explorer(COTREX) – With help from local, state and federal partners, COTREX is now monitoring trail-related COVID-19 closures across Colorado on a daily basis.
Dragonfly Paddle Yoga – Classes are now resuming. They are following social distancing and prevention protocols for everyone's safety. Stay tuned for announcements on specials - including Season Passes – plus the full class schedule.
El Paso County Parks and Playgrounds – Park headquarters is reopened. Park restrooms are beginning to reopen. County Fairgrounds Office is open Monday – Friday from 8 am to 4:30 pm.
Florissant Fossil Beds National – The visitor center, visitor center parking lot, adjacent picnic area and pit toilets are temporarily closed. All the Monument's trails remain accessible to the public in accordance with the latest federal, state and local health guidance, in addition to entry fees being waived for visitors. Pets are not allowed on the Monument's trails. Service dogs that are specifically trained to perform a task to assist a person with a disability are permitted on a leash.
Fremont Adventure Recreation – Compiled a list of "easy" trails that can be accessed and utilized by folks of all ages and abilities. Resources online for kids and families.
Fountain Creek and Bear Creek Nature Centers – These parks are now open, Tuesday through Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm. Access will be limited to nine citizens at a time. There will be no organized programs or activities until further notice. You can find more info on the website.
Front Range Climbing Company – Offering guided climbing and keeping safety top of mind. The staff are meeting clients with masks and a friendly wave, plus a bottle of hand sanitizer.
Golf Courses – In collaboration with local and state public health officials, the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department adjusted policies and procedures at its two municipal golf courses - Patty Jewett and Valley Hi. Visit the city site for detailed information on precautions, restrictions and guidelines.
Parks & Recreation – Playgrounds, pavilions and other gathering spaces reopened to the public on June 5, with a limit of 25 people at a time. Garden of the Gods, North Cheyenne Canon Park, Mueller State Park, Fossil Beds National Monument, or other hiking opportunities in Teller County (i.e. The Crags) and Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site remain open.
Pikes Peak - America's Mountain – Now accepting cash and credit cards at the Gateway. To minimize the interaction between visitors and Gateway staff we are offering a 10% discount for guests who purchase their one-day admission tickets online during the month of June. Use discount code “Jun10” to receive the discount.
Playgrounds - All of the City’s 137 playgrounds are open to 10 people at a time. Signage will be posted at each site with the capacity recommendation and physical distancing and hygiene reminders.
Pools, Spray Grounds and Fountains - The Deerfield Hills Spray Ground, Water Hole at Venezia Park and Uncle Wilbur Fountain at Acacia Park are open as as of June 17 with a recommended maximum of 50 people at a time. Routine cleanings will occur several times daily.
Wilson Ranch and Monument Valley will open at a limited capacity. An opening date has not yet been determined. Surfaces in restrooms and locker rooms will be cleaned routinely. As previously scheduled,
Teller County – Hiking and biking options are a great choice and relieve overburdened trails in the COS/El Paso County area.
Trails & Open Space Coalition – The team at TOSC put together some suggestions for alternative outdoor spaces that they are finding to be less crowded. Peruse mapped locations for walking, hiking, biking and more.
UpaDowna – Discover the many ways to stay active and healthy (both mentally and physically). They also offer virtual trail cleanups and hikes, photo scavenger hunt challenges and more. Learn more by visiting their site or Facebook page. Also accepting donations.
Julie Penrose Fountain at America the Beautiful Park is closed this summer due to construction activity in the area.
The Manitou Incline – The Incline currently remains closed to the public due to safety concerns from COVID-19.
Portal Pool and Prospect Lake Beach will remain closed for the season.
Guidelines for Enjoying the Outdoors Responsibly
Head to Trails Less-Traveled – Literally! Go somewhere off the beaten path that perhaps you've never been before. Think of places where you're least likely to see other outdoor enthusiasts. If the parking lot looks full, find another place to recreate.
Make Yourself Known. If you approach other folks enjoying their time outside, offer a wave and some communication and discuss the best way to pass by. You may be at a very tight and constricted part of a trail, but we urge you to make the safest decision for the circumstance.
You Gotta Keep 'em Separated. Maintain a safe distance of 6 feet between yourself and other people around you.
Pack It Up, Pack It In (in the immortal words of House of Pain). Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trace, take everything out to protect park workers.
Bring Your Own Hydration Station. Bring water or drinks. Public drinking fountains may be disabled and should not be used, even if operable.
"Go" Before You Go. Users may find public restrooms closed. Be prepared before you leave, and time outings so that you are not dependent on public restrooms.
Keep It Clean. Bring hand sanitizer with you to clean your hands if soap and water are not available. Do not touch any surfaces that are likely to be touched by other people.
Feelin' Ill? Stay Home! DO NOT use parks, trails and open spaces if you are exhibiting symptoms. If you or your children are experiencing symptoms, it’s important to stay home when sick.
Don’t Touch. Do not touch any surfaces that are likely to be touched by other people.
Stay Away from Crowds. If the parking lot looks full, find another place to recreate.
Don't Be a "Team Player." Do not gather in groups or engage in any activity where you cannot maintain at least 6 feet from other people. This includes activities involving physical contact or the sharing of equipment.
Avoid Playgrounds. We know it's hard to tell your kiddos they can't play on the playground, but please do not use or play around playground equipment.
Taking all of this into account, we anticipate an increase in outdoor recreation, so the need for us to communicate with other users is more important than ever. Say hello, offer a wave and support each other during this time. Maybe it can carry over to when we all get back to a more normal way of life. So, let’s play outside. But, let’s play by the rules. The new rules. Also, feel free to join in on some virtual hikes with Trails & Open Space Coalition.
Do you have additional offerings or information that you think should be included on these pages? Don't hesitate to reach out!
Jane joined VCOS in January 2019 with a background in communication and social media. She supports the marketing team with newsletters, website updates, publications, ad sales, content creation and more. Jane has bachelor degrees in mass communication and journalism from Miami University. In her free time, you can find Jane sipping on a margarita, eating sushi, traveling or playing with her future dog that her boyfriend does not know about yet!