Susan Davies of the Trails and Open Space Coalition has a few ideas about parks to explore around the Pikes Peak Region. This week on Nature's Neighborhood, Davies shares two lesser-known spaces for rest and relaxation that will help you get away from the crowds and enjoy the outdoors.
John Venezia Park
If you're looking for a short hike with dogs and kids, check out John Venezia Park. The park itself can become pretty crowded because it has a fabulous playground and a splash pad.
You can access the trails from the southern side from the Academy International Elementary School and take a nice one mile hike. If you'd like a little less wilderness, there's a short hardpack track within the park and in season you're going to find a wide variety of birds and flowers.
While the central portion of the Garden of the Gods may be too crowded to allow for good social distancing, there is a little known trail that provides great views with solitude. Of the park's more than 1300 acres, the Niobrara Trail is a small, less traveled section on the south east side of the park.
Many trails branch off from this one, including one that will take you all the way to Rock Ledge Ranch. Discover another piece of history as you stroll along an old dam with some remaining stonework and a view of a dry, no longer used reservoir.