Fishers Peak, Colorado's 42nd state park, has moved at uncharacteristic speed in becoming an outdoor recreation destination. Named a state park in 2019, it was opened to the public with limited facilities in 2020. Fast forward to October 27th of this year, when the park opened 11 miles of new trails in the park. The new trails also open the park to bicycles, which had previously been banned on the few miles of trails that had been open prior to the 27th.
Typically, a Colorado State Park doesn't open to the public until it goes through a master plan process, followed by construction of the park, all of which can take years to accomplish. In the case of Fishers Peak, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, with an appropriation of money via the state legislature, was able to start construction on some trails, while simultaneously working through the master plan process. The public input period of the draft master plan ended about a month ago.
The new trails, named the Fishers Peak Trail, Osita Point Trail, Poison Canyon Downhill Trail, Lower and Upper Lone Cub Trails, and Goldenrod Trail, all start from the lone established trailhead that was opened in 2020. The new trails are a variety of mixed-use, hiker only and mountain bike only trails. The park is still closed to equestrian use.
The Osita Point Trail is the highest elevation trail in the park, and as of now, no trail goes to the summit of Fishers Peak. According to this CPW news release announcing the new trails, the park hopes to have a trail to the summit by the fall of 2023.
About a year ago I interviewed park manager Crystal Dreiling while on a audio tour of the park, where she told of her vision of the park as it develops. You can hear that interview on my podcast, here.
Until now, I didn't feel that the park had enough to warrant the almost two hour drive to get there - but it was worth a stop if you were driving by on I-25. The addition of these new trails now makes it worth a special visit, something I plan on doing in the very near future.
Things You Need To Know: Entry fees do apply. There is an automated kiosk at the parking lot to purchase a daily park pass. There are two restroom facilities and parking for 92 cars at the trailhead, however water is not available. Park hours are sunrise to sunset, all year. At this time no horses, camping, or dogs are allowed.
How To Get There: From southbound I-25, get off at Exit 11 and then turn east and cross over I-25. Go just past the northbound off-ramp and turn right onto the service road and follow it for approximately 1.5 miles south to the Fishers Peak Trailhead entrance.
Veterans Day is next Friday, November 11th, which means that entry fees are waived at all National Park Service sites. The weather forecast, while a little chilly, looks good for next Friday, so take advantage of the weather and free day to visit your favorite national park or monument, of maybe visit a new one.
The 2022 Give! campaign started on November 1st, and this hugely successful annual fundraiser has benefitted many non-profits groups in the Pikes Peak region. A number of outdoor recreation non-profits are part of the "Great Outdoors" category, and you can show your support by donating to your favorites through to the end of the year.
Daylight Saving Time ends at 2am this Sunday, so not only should you remember to set your clocks back an hour, but also when planning your adventures starting on Sunday, don't forget to take into account that it will be getting dark earlier in the day.
Be Good. Do Good Things. Leave No Trace.