The Pikes Peak region offers so many outdoor recreational opportunities, from whitewater kayaking to steep and loose rock mountain biking. Sometimes, choosing the relaxing and easy-going choice of picnicking just sounds right on a clear sunny day. With wonderful seasonality, topology, and high-altitude wildlife communities, many Colorado parks and recreation areas provide perfect picnic locations for holiday gatherings, large groups, families, or a simple date. Spend quality time with friends and/or family playing games like frisbee, bocce ball, and, the widely growing, corn hole, or relax further by spending some time reading in the shade. And parents, these are great areas for letting the kids explore and burn stored energy while the adults sit and talk. Picnicking areas are distributed all throughout the region in close proximity and some offering more seclusion.
Before You Get Started
Plan accordingly with the number of people going and the amenities required for your stay. Visit each parks information web page for amenities (e.g. bathrooms, gazebos/pavilions, water access, grills, playgrounds, and open space/fields). Gazebos and pavilions may need to be reserved during your stay. Don’t forget to clean up your space afterwards for other families – bringing a trash bag may be appropriate.
Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics for Frontcountry Use
Know Before You Go
- Be prepared! Remember food and water, and clothes to protect you from cold, heat and rain.
- Use maps to plan where you’re going. Check them along the way so you’ll stay on course and won’t get lost.
- Remember to bring a leash for your pet and plastic bags to pick up your pet’s waste.
- Learn about the areas you plan to visit. Read books, check online and talk to people before you go. The more you know, the more fun you’ll have.
Stick to Trails and Camp Overnight Right
- Walk and ride on designated trails to protect trailside plants.
- Do not step on flowers or small trees. Once damaged, they may not grow back.
- Respect private property by staying on designated trails.
- Camp only on existing or designated campsites to avoid damaging vegetation.
- Good campsites are found, not made. Don’t dig trenches or build structures in your campsite.
Trash Your Trash and Pick Up Poop
- Pack it in, Pack it out. Put litter–even crumbs, peels and cores–in garbage bags and carry it home.
- Use bathrooms or outhouses when available. If not available, bury human waste in a small hole 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet or 70 big steps from water.
- Use a plastic bag to pack out your pet’s poop to a garbage can.
- Keep water clean. Do not put soap, food, or human or pet waste in lakes or streams.
Leave It As You Find It
- Leave plants, rocks and historical items as you find them so others can enjoy them.
- Treat living plants with respect. Carving, hacking or peeling plants may kill them.
Be Careful with Fire
- Use a camp stove for cooking. Stoves are easier to cook on and create less impact than a fire.
- If you want to have a campfire, be sure it’s permitted and safe to build a fire in the area you’re visiting. Use only existing fire rings to protect the ground from heat. Keep your fire small.
- Remember, a campfire isn’t a garbage can. Pack out all trash and food.
- Before gathering any firewood, check local regulations.
- Burn all wood to ash and be sure the fire is completely out and cold before you leave.
Keep Wildlife Wild
- Observe wildlife from a distance and never approach, feed or follow them.
- Human food is unhealthy for all wildlife and feeding them starts bad habits.
- Protect wildlife and your food by securely storing your meals and trash.
Share Our Trails and Manage Your Pet
- Be considerate when passing others on the trail.
- Keep your pet under control to protect it, other visitors and wildlife.
- Listen to nature. Avoid making loud noises or yelling. You will see more wildlife if you are quiet.
- Be sure the fun you have outdoors does not bother anyone else. Remember, other visitors are there to enjoy the outdoors too.
The Leave No Trace Seven Principles are reprinted with the permission of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. For more information, visit www.LNT.org.
From large to small group picnics, make sure to have everything you need for a more relaxing stay. Several retailers in the region offer picnic equipment like chairs and blankets. You can also find many small activity gear like badminton sets at these retail locations. Also, don’t forget plenty of water and sunscreen!