Corral Bluffs Open Space is a Trails, Open Space and Parks “TOPS” property located east of Colorado Springs consisting of over 700 acres. It is a rare, rugged, and beautiful landform running along both the north and south sides of US Highway 94. At a slightly higher elevation than the surrounding plains, Corral Bluffs provides a unique geographic perspective, featuring a foothills type environment even though it is about 15 miles from the Rocky Mountain foothills.
This amazing fossiliferous site holds the secrets to how the globe recovered from a major catastrophe, the die-off of the dinosaurs and the first million years of mammals. With expansive vistas, a multitude of wildlife, native flora, and geology like no other in Colorado - it’s worth a visit!
However, because it is undeveloped and subject to important scientific research, it’s only available via guided tours. Our friends group the Corral Bluffs Alliance “CoBA” offers these tours on a scheduled basis. Gather 6+ hikers and plan for a 3+ hour trip back in time through very unusual terrain. Whether you are part of a church group, scout troop, family reunion, or a school classroom, CoBA customizes hikes to meet your needs. Contact CoBA to schedule a visit today. Hikes are available every month of the year; moonlight/full-moon hikes are only available in winter months.
CoBA is an alliance of concerned citizens formed with the focus of protecting the Corral Bluffs area and the adjacent Jimmy Camp Creek. CoBA was founded after a long fought battle with El Paso County to keep Corral Bluffs from becoming a dirt bike park. CoBA’s efforts resulted in the preservation of Corral Bluffs by it becoming a designated TOPS property. CoBA works with the City of Colorado Springs through its Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department to secure additional land and seeks to have this historically rich area available for future generations. CoBA members’ participate in activities designed to protect, preserve and enhance the Jimmy Camp Regional Park and this Open Space property.
“This area is regionally significant because its extensive natural outcrops are the best exposures of Late Cretaceous and Early Paleocene strata in the Denver Basin. It likely represents one of the top 20 sites in the world for the preservation of the first 1 million years of the age of mammals”.
by Dr. Kirk Johnson, Ph. D, when Chief Curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science
Also, the Corral Bluffs has been designated by the State of Colorado as a Colorado Natural Area. Established by statute in 1977, the Colorado Natural Areas Program is a statewide program focused on the recognition and protection of areas that contain at least one unique or high-quality natural feature of statewide significance. The Natural Areas Program was unanimously reauthorized by the Colorado Legislature in 2004, and the Natural Areas Council was reauthorized in 2014.
A few examples of how this designation helps Corral Bluffs is by
- recognizing and promoting outstanding environmental stewardship,
- enhancing awareness of the conservation values of this area to decision makers and users, and
- supporting extraordinary examples of rare species and their habitat, special geologic features, fossils, and representative ecosystems within Colorado.
To get involved, or to schedule your hike, please contact CoBa at www.corralbluffs.org or:
As a 501c3, contributions to the CoBA are tax-deductible to the extent the law allows.
Follow the Leave No Trace Seven Principles
The City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services department is proudly partnered with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics in order to promote environmental stewardship and safeguard the natural, cultural, and historical resources that make Colorado Springs such a fantastic place to live and visit. Follow the Leave No Trace Seven Principles to help keep our parks, trails, and open spaces healthy and sustainable. Learn more at lnt.org
|Plan ahead and prepare. Access to this open space requires special reservations with CoBA or a park staff member. Bring extra layers and sunscreen for this windy, exposed area. Plan to pack out all of the trash you generate.|
|Travel on durable surfaces. Walk on routes pre-determined by hike leaders. Dry creek beds are a popular choice as they are durable and easy to follow. Avoid unsafe or sensitive areas in the open space such as cliff edges and wildlife nesting locations.|
|Dispose of waste properly. Pack it in, pack it out. Put litter–even crumbs, peels, and cores–in garbage bags and dispose of after your hike. Trash often gets blown in from afar at this windy open space, pack out extra trash for bonus points! There are no facilities at this open space.|
|Leave what you find. Artifacts and fossils left where they are help tell the story of the past. Rearranging them limits their scientific value and the experience of other visitors. It is illegal to dig, remove or collect artifacts or vertebrate fossils without a permit.|
|Be careful with fire. Wildfires don’t have an off season. Fires, charcoal grilling, and smoking are prohibited at Corral Bluffs Open Space. Do your part and help us protect this area from wildfires.|
|Respect wildlife. Watch your step! Corral Bluffs provides an excellent habitat for Prairie Rattlesnakes. Give these animals, and all other wildlife, their space when encountered. Have a “zoom meeting” with wildlife by using the zoom on your camera!|
|Be considerate of others. Corral Bluffs Open Space is a window into the past and has been designated by the State of Colorado as a Colorado Natural Area. Educate others to not dig at sites or collect “souvenirs.” If you see people vandalizing sites or removing artifacts or fossils, report it as soon as possible.|