Pikes Peak

A view of Pikes Peak and the North Catamount Reservoir from the Mackinaw Trail

The North Slope Recreation Area on Pikes Peak opened for the season May 1, a sure sign that summer is rapidly approaching. A haven for picnickers, anglers and non-motorized boaters — think kayaking and standup paddleboarding —  it's also a good place to take in some very scenic hiking. The views of Pikes Peak from the north shore of the recreation area, which encompasses the North and South Catamount reservoirs, are some of the best you'll find. 

While a timed entry reservation will be required to drive to the summit of America's Mountain, it won't be needed for the North Slope, and the entry fee is only $5 per person to go as far as the reservoirs. However, parking is limited, and when the parking lot is full, the gates close, so you'll want to secure a free parking pass to ensure your place. My experience has been that if you show up to the Pikes Peak Highway toll both with a valid parking pass, you'll have no trouble getting in.

You can also access the recreation area from the Catamount Ranch Open Space near Divide, as I did when I hiked around both reservoirs. You can read about it here. 

El Paso County is seeking three volunteers to serve on its County Park Advisory Board (PAB). "The Park Advisory Board reviews and comments on items and proposals related to park policies, philosophies and objectives, and makes formal recommendations to the Board of County Commissioners," according to the vacancy announcement on the county's website. The openings on the board will represent county commission districts 1, 4, and 5. As having previously served for six years on the county PAB, I found the experience educational, enlightening and gratifying. If you're a civic-minded person who cares about the county's parks and open spaces, can devote an afternoon once a month, and wants to serve as a citizen representative, find more information here. Applications are due no later than May 16.

The popular Horsethief Park trail near Cripple Creek was threatened with closure last year by a private property owner due to a very short segment of the trail crossing their property. You can read more about the controversy in my column here, and a follow-up column here. The issue is about to be remedied by a short rerouting project, coordinated by the Colorado Mountain Club, the Friends of the Peak and the U.S. Forest Service. Volunteers are being sought for this two-day project June 18 and 19. Check out this flyer for more info. 

Horsethief Park Volunteer Trail Project

Be Good. Do Good Things. Leave No Trace.

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