Columns » Hiking Bob

25th Annual National Trails Day; Rainbow Falls reopening; and dogs in state parks?


June 3rd marks the 25th anniversary of National Trails Day, an opportunity to engage in outdoors activities of all types. Celebrated on the first Saturday of every June, the day was created in 1993 on what was then the 25th anniversary of the National Trails System Act. On that day, the American Hiking Society and other trails groups around the country created National Trails Day to celebrate the legislation.

Now the day is marked by events all across the country, and of course, the Pikes Peak region.

Among the regional events is a hike lead by El Paso County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf at Bear Creek Nature Center. Commissioner Longinos Gonzalez will be hosting a fishing derby at Willow Springs Ponds at Fountain Creek Regional Park. There will also be bike rides, trail building and maintenance opportunities, and more local events. For more information, go to the NTD website.

Rainbow Falls reopens

The popular, and perennially vandalized, Rainbow Falls located near Manitou Springs will be reopening on June 3rd. Designated in 2016 as a County Parks Historical Site, Rainbow Falls will now be managed in a cooperative agreement between the county parks department and the Manitou Environmental Action Committee, a local volunteer group. The falls will have limited operating hours, only be open to the public Friday to Monday from 10-4 June, July and August, and Saturday and Sunday from 10-4 September and October. The site will be closed from November 2017 to June 2018.

Improvements at the falls include more security measures, including live video monitoring by El Paso County Security, and also new interpretive signs. Additional renovations are awaiting funding.

Get a glimpse of the reopened historic site at a clean up event on June 3.

Dog days of summer

Dog owners love to take their dogs hiking with them — I'm no exception. But two places that have long been off-limits to dogs are the trails in our most local Colorado State Parks, Mueller and Cheyenne Mountain. According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesperson Bill Vogrin, these two parks are the exception in the state parks system to not allow dogs on any trails. That may change, however, depending on how a test program at those parks goes.

Starting June 1st, leashed dogs will be allowed only on specific trails in only those parks, designated by signage. Dog owners must carry bags for picking up dog waste and your four-legged companions cannot get into confrontations with other people or wildlife.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife says the test program is scheduled to end on August 31st, but can end at anytime if the test policy is abused or other problems arise. According to Vogrin, enforcement of the test program will be "aggressive". More details, including which trails will be open to dogs, is available in this CPW press release.

As an aside, I see many dog owners thumbing their noses at current leash laws in parks, so I'm not too optimistic that things will be any different during this test program. Hopefully, I'll be proven wrong.

Happy Trails!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for 25 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website ( E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob:

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