5 Great State and Regional Parks in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region
One of the top reasons to visit Colorado Springs is the sheer amount of outdoor adventure that is located in and around the city. We are fortunate to be home to an amazing amount of land dedicated solely to the purpose of communing with the great outdoors. Our regional and state parks play a significant role in the preservation and maintenance of our beautiful wilderness areas, so we thought we would take a little time to highlight their amenities and all they have to offer. If you’re looking for the perfect spot to camp, hike and explore in the Pikes Peak region, we’re quite sure you’ll find it is located in one of these regional or state parks.
Regional Parks in and Around Colorado Springs
Bear Creek Regional Park
This popular, 545-acre park truly does have it all if you’re looking for a park that caters to everyone. Let’s start with the fact that it is the best dog park in the Pikes Peak regions, hands down. It’s 25 acres with a running creek, hills, flats, forest and grass. There are big and small loops that allow you to circle the park with your pup or you can check out the agility equipment. The rest of the park offers hiking trails, pavilions, a playground, playing fields, pickleball courts, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, and a basketball court. There’s a huge community garden and plenty of places to picnic. The trails through this park are mild and they allow hikers, cyclists and horses (and leashed dogs). Bear Creek Park is also home to a really amazing nature center with interactive resources and nature walks. Bear Creek Regional Park is located just south of Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs. The park also surrounds the parking area for the Broadmoor Seven Falls shuttle service, so keep that in mind if you plan to visit that attraction — you’ll be able to double up on scenic hiking with one stop.
Fountain Creek Regional Park
Located just 15 miles south of Bear Creek Regional Park, Fountain Creek Regional Park offers remarkably different terrain than its foothills-based sister. It is also significantly smaller at just under 500 acres, although no less cool. The southerly location is packed with ponds and situated right on the creek, and there are wetlands observation areas that provide ample opportunity for some pretty epic birding. Fountain Creek Regional Trail runs parallel to the creek through the park and, heading north, transitions into the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail. Essentially, you can bike from the park all the way to Monument and back if you’re feeling especially feisty. Horseback riding is permitted and there is a dog park on the premises. There are picnic tables, a pavilion, a basketball court, horseshoe pit and several places to fish. Fountain Creek Nature Center provides guided nature hikes and frequent educational activities, too.
State Parks in the Pikes Peak Region
Mueller State Park
Mueller State Park is one of the prettiest places to visit in the Pikes Peak region. Located about 4 miles out of Divide and just 15 miles from Cripple Creek on CO-67, the 5,000+ acre swatch of pristine wilderness is a wonderful spot to camp, hike and explore. There are miles of mountain biking trails that range from moderate to challenging and 50 miles of hiking trails. One of the coolest features is the option for an equestrian camp site. You can camp with your horse! In addition to all of this cool outdoor adventure, the park is also close to a lot of cool attractions in the Pikes Peak region. You can be in Cripple Creek in 15 minutes and enjoy a visit to a real gold mine or hop on an open-air train. You can take a longer drive and be gawking at the Royal Gorge after a scenic exploration of Southern Colorado. You can also make it basecamp for Colorado Springs shenanigans, like driving up Pikes Peak or mingling in Manitou. Turn your Colorado experience up to 11 and make Mueller your home base for Rocky Mountain magic.
Eleven Mile State Park
Located past Divide and Lake George off of Highway 24, Eleven Mile State Park is the place to play if you love boating and fishing to accompany your hiking and camping. Eleven Mile has hike-in, backcountry camping located right on the lake, as well as RV and regular tent sites. You can kayak, canoe and boat on the lake, but swimming, paddleboading, waterskiing and other body contact sports are currently prohibited. If you wish to paddleboard, you can head east to the Pikes Peak Highway and visit the North Slope Recreation Area, which allows such watercraft. Like Mueller, Eleven Mile State Park also offers visitors to Colorado the chance to create a hub for touring other areas in the region. You can visit the Florissant Fossil Beds (a national park) or head down into Old Colorado City for a non-camp dinner. You can also pop into Cave of the Winds or the Manitou Cliff Dwellings.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park
If you’d rather hang your hammock a little closer to Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain State Park is yet another enchanting location you’ll want to consider. This park encompasses 2600 acres of terrain in southwest Colorado Springs. The campground offers RV and tent camping and its convenient location next to Highway 115 will put you mere minutes from the May Museum of Natural History, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Fort Carson and many other popular places to visit. Of course, you don’t have to camp to enjoy the park. Locals love it for its huge trail system that covers a variety of terrain. There are 21 total trails that make up more than 27 miles of distance with ratings from gentle to extreme. The park is also home to an archery range that is open to the public. Disc golfers will be happy to learn there’s a 9-hole course in the Meadows Campground, too.
If you want to explore the best that the Pikes Peak regions has to offer, these state and regional parks in and around Colorado Springs are guaranteed to deliver. Feel free to make yourself at home.