Fountain Creek Regional Park is great for a day hike. It has everything a nature lover could want, from a dog park to a beaver pond. Secluded areas abound, where nature takes over, along with more populated areas for learning about the wildlife and birds. We parked at the Duckwood Road Trail Access point and began our exploring from there. Noelle here, by the way.
We’ve spent a good bit of time in Colorado Springs these past couple years. Family keeps calling, so that’s how the bulk of our time here is spent. But once in a while, we get a down day or two. The area is sure beautiful. And it’s almost always sunny, even when it’s bitterly cold. Here’s a fun look at a day hike we did, some exploring in Fountain Creek. Enjoy!
Different areas of Fountain Creek are preserved as natural areas. For instance, Cottonwood Meadows welcomes red-tailed hawks, white-tailed deer, Great horned owls and American Kestrels in its refuge. Also, the Willow Springs Fishing Ponds are stocked with trout, catfish and blue gill. An interpretive trail follows the ponds’ banks with signage to instruct anglers on how to catch a big fish.
Connecting the park to neighboring Cities
Plans are in the works to connect this regional trail with Colorado Springs and Palmer Lake. What a spectacular trail that will become! Already though, there’s something for everyone in this park. Pokémon Go players can find Poke stops all along the trail, while children love the huge play structure at the beginning of the park. Dogs and their humans romped and played on the day we visited. The fenced dog park sports a giant fire hydrant and plenty of space to run and fetch. Another great thing are the picnic pavilions. They sure make for an easy spot for a family lunch date.
Fountain Creek originally had the name River of the Boiling Springs due to the bubbling springs at its emergence from Ute Pass near Manitou Springs. You know I’m always on the look out to soak in hot springs, but sadly this is not the park for it! Information kiosks throughout the park tell of its history and of the peoples who settled this area.
The Cattail Marsh Wildlife Area intrigued us with its displays of beaver life. We didn’t actually see the animals but their presence is quite apparent. There are several wildlife observation pavilions for the chance to watch geese and deer. Fountain Creek’s Nature Center resides in this portion of the Park, but remained closed during our visit. It’s normal hours are 9:00am to 4:00pm Tuesday through Saturday. We peeked through the windows and wished we could tour its exhibits.
Monarch butterflies in Fountain Creek
Monarch butterfly caterpillars feed in fields of milkweed plants. The plants produce a toxic milk that the caterpillars thrive on and which gives them and the butterflies a protective edge over hungry birds. The milk makes them unappealing, which helps the caterpillars and butterflies to survive. August and September are the best Monarch viewing times after the milkweeds bloom and pod. The fields are then full of eggs, caterpillars and milkweed pods. It certainly creates a desire in me to return for this show!
Through the fields of milkweed, Fountain Creek provides certified waystations, which create, conserve and protect Monarch habitats. The Monarch project educates the public in order to provide waystations for the Monarch. These waystations provide habitats and breeding grounds to turn around the decline of butterflies seen in the last 15 years. Monarch Watch also seeks to recruit hundreds of volunteers annually to count and report the numbers of butterflies seen across North America. Maybe when we’re stationary again, I’ll look into this project a bit more. Counting butterflies daily would sure add peace and tranquility to one’s life!
Steve and I sure enjoyed our visit to Fountain Creek Regional Park, even though the weather is chilly! Check it out next time you’re in the Colorado Springs, Colorado area. It makes for fun day hiking.