Remember when Rainbow Falls was known as "Graffiti Falls"?
Well, if not, let me catch you up. Rainbow is a pretty little waterfall just outside Manitou Springs. It used to be a big tourist attraction in the old days. Then the U.S. Highway 24 bridge was built above it, and over the years it sort of became a place for crackheads to hang out and spray paint obscene and funny things all over the rocks — and I mean all over.
Anyway, in recent years some well-meaning citizens swooped in and saved the day, getting government funds to completely clean up the little waterfall and make it a cute place for families again.
But shortly afterward — no! — flooding off the Waldo Canyon Fire burn scar came racing down the waterfall and totally messed up everything. The banks were shredded. The trail was destroyed. Even the bridge saw some damage.
So much for happy endings.
Rainbow will likely get another shot at being a tourist attraction in some future summer when everything is fixed. For now, though, no one gets to hang out there because the state is going to be doing work all summer.
But on the bright side, as we wrote Tuesday, some fun attractions that have been closed since the fire will be opening this weekend, including Rampart Reservoir.
But first, the bad news:
El Paso County Parks has announced that the Rainbow Falls Recreation Area will be closed to the public beginning Tuesday, May 28. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed by September 2013.
The closure will allow the Colorado Department of Transportation to construct major bank stabilization and drainage improvements on the site and along U. S. Highway 24 in the Ute Pass area. The improvements will help protect public and private property and ensure public safety.
Renovation of Rainbow Falls Recreation Area has been underway since El Paso County secured ownership of the property in 2010. Following the Colorado Department of Transportation improvements, El Paso County will resume efforts to improve trails and recreation amenities.
For more information on closures or renovation of the property, please contact El Paso County Parks at 719-520-PLAY.