Bear Creek Regional Park and Nature Center

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Bear Creek Regional Park 3

Bear Creek Regional Park and Nature Center is a regional park located in Colorado Springs, Colorado that has trails for hiking, horseback riding, running and cycling. Within the park is a nature center and the El Paso Park Headquarters.

There are tennis courts, soccer fields, basketball courts, and other sports fields and courts. A section of the park is dedicated as a dog park.

There are also soccer fields.[1] Restrooms, pavilions and most picnic spots are wheelchair accessible.[2]

At the eastern end of the park is a connection to a short trail called the Bear Creek Trail that meets up with the Pikes Peak Greenway. At the western edge of the park, a trail connects to the high-country Bear Creek Cañon Park.

History[edit]

From the late 1800s to 1983 or 1984, there was a residential poor farm located on land that became the Bear Creek Park. Gardens were operated for and by the residents to provide food. There was also the Pest House and Pauper's Cemetery on what became park land.[2]

In 1873, and for many years, the only trail up to the Pikes Peak Signal Station started in Manitou Springs and went through Bear Creek Cañon. The 17 mile trail also passed through Seven Lakes, Jones Park and the past Lake House at Lake Morraine areas.[3]

Sections of the park[edit]

Nature center[edit]

Media presentations, interpretive programs and special events are held at the nature center, located on the western side of the park on Bear Creek Road off of 26th Street and Lower Gold Camp Road. Visitors may take self-guided or guided tours of the trails which include interpretive signs about the park's animals and plants. Horses, pets and bicycles are not allowed on the nature center trail.[2][4] The nature center is open Wednesday through Saturday throughout the year.[5]

Bear Creek Terrace[edit]

Bear Creek Terrace, the most developed part of the park, includes a picnic area with 5 pavilions, 3 play fields, volleyball area, horseshoe pits, an archery range, and tennis courts.[2][6] Eight tennis courts are located at 2201 Argus Boulevard.[7]

Bear Creek East[edit]

Bear Creek East also has a picnic area, playground, horseshoe pits and a volleyball court. Bear Creek flows through this area. The Park Headquarters are located in Bear Creek East. It is located east of 21st street.[2]

Dog park[edit]

The 24 acre Bear Creek Dog Park has a ¾ mile loop trail that owners and pets can hike on, stabilized pools within ⅓ mile of creek access for dogs to play in, a holding pen near restrooms and a penned small dog area. About ½ of the park is fenced off from the rest of the park to prevent conflicts with other park visitors. It is located at 21st Street and Rio Grande. A volunteer organization, Friends of Bear Creek Dog Park, supports the park.[8]

Park[edit]

Trails[edit]

Nature trails are for hiking, and pets are not allowed. Visitors can hike, walk their pets on a leash or ride horseback on the regional trails. Flora within the park includes ponderosa pine and cottonwood trees, scrub oak, grass prairie and meadows. A mountain creek runs through the park.[4] The trails are open from dawn to dusk each day.[5]

A short .4 mile trail, Bear Creek Trail, provides a trail from the eastern edge of the park at 8th Street to the Pikes Peak Greenway in the Power Plant Reach.[9][10]

Trails can be accessed at the nature center, picnic pavilions or the 21st Street trail parking lot.[3]

Horseback riding[edit]

Trails for horseback riding can be picked up at the Penrose Equestrian Center on Rido Grande, off of 8th Street. The gravel trails are wide and are good for riding in the winter. The trail can be taken through the park, across creeks and over hills, to 21st Street and ride into section 16 which has steeper hills. The trail is shared with cyclists and hikers.[11]

Birdwatching[edit]

Birds spotted at the park include lesser goldfinch, broad-tailed hummingbird, spotted towhee, Woodhouse's scrub jay, common raven. In May, vireo, flycatcher, and western tanager, and the yellow, Virginia's, and orange-crowned warbler may be seen during their migratory journey. The fall can be a good time to spot towhee, jay, junco, Say's phoebe, red crossbill, and pine siskin. Duck, raptor, bald eagle, wild turkey, and rough-legged hawk may be spotted in the winter. Many other varieties have been spotted.[5]

Wildlife[edit]

Coyote,[3] mule deer, and elk range through the park.[5]

Parks Department offices[edit]

The El Paso County Parks Department offices are located at 2002 Creek Crossing St., off of 21st Street.[6]

Events[edit]

  • July - Summer Roundup Trail Run 12K[12]
  • August - Colorado Springs 5K Run[13]

Other events include The BRC Down and Dirty Trail Series, Sand Creek Mountain Bike Series, and the Fall Series.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bear Creek Park". Open Space Volunteers sponsored by Trails and Open Space Coalition. Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e El Paso County: Regional Parks and Trails, El Paso County Parks, 1992, pp. 5–7
  3. ^ a b c Zoltan Malocsay (1991), Trails Guide to Pikes Peak Region, Colorado Springs: Squeezy Press, p. 78
  4. ^ a b "Bear Creek Nature Center". El Paso County, Colorado. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d Doris Cruze (April 20, 2012). "Hotspots near you: Bear Creek Regional Park". Birdwatching Daily. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Bear Creek Regional Park". El Paso County. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  7. ^ "Bear Creek Park - Tennis Courts". Global Tennis Network. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  8. ^ "Bear Creek Dog Park". El Paso Parks. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  9. ^ "Bear Creek Trail - Pikes Peak Greenway". City of Colorado Springs. Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  10. ^ "Pikes Peak Greenway map". City of Colorado Springs. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  11. ^ "Bear Creek Park". Trails and Open Space Coalition (formerly Pikes Peak Area Trails Coalition). Archived from the original on June 25, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  12. ^ "Summer Roundup Trail Run 12K". Summer Roundup. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  13. ^ "Colorado Springs 5K Run". Race for Freedom. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  14. ^ "Local Places to Run". Boulder Running Company, Colorado Springs. Archived from the original on May 29, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°49′15.63″N 104°51′41.9″W / 38.8210083°N 104.861639°W / 38.8210083; -104.861639