One of the joys in my life is to be able to walk the Cottonwood Creek Park Trail almost every day. I get lots of green grass, lots of foliage, and views of Colorado Spring's beautiful Pikes Peak.
Nestled just north of the Northwind neighborhood, Cottonwood Creek Park has just about everything you would want: huge soccer field, three baseball diamonds, an easy walking path, a rec center with an indoor pool, a large playground, and even a disc/frisbee golf course. I didn't even know what disc golf was until I started walking here.
Cottonwood Creek Park Has Something For Everyone
I'm going to let you in on a local secret about this park: sledding.
The hill in between the in-line hockey court and the baseball diamonds is pretty steep, and every year the hill is packed with kids who can't wait to try it out. Older kids will also create snow ramps to make it more interesting.
Our main use of the park though is Cottonwood Creek Trail. It's a 1.5 mile trail that wraps around Cottonwood Creek, with wide sidewalk on one side, and a dirt trail on the opposite side of the creek.
The perk of the wide sidewalk is that you don't have to skirt to the side of the road every time someone comes your way. And they do frequently. It's a popular park, and wheelchair accessible, and you'll see cyclists, joggers, skateboarders, and dog and stroller walkers.
Speaking of dogs, this is a really dog friendly park. There are empty milk jugs tied to posts all down the trail, with plastic bags stuffed inside them, in case you forget to bring your own poop bag.
There is even a good Samaritan who occasionally lays out an entire bag of dog food, and a water bowl, on the side of the trail, for the random escapee or homeless dog.
The rules of the road apply here, so stay on the right side of the sidewalk. Cyclists will ring their bell or yell at you if you're in the way, but keep an eye out anyway, as you may not hear them.
You will see several cottonwood trees on the trail. Cottonwood trees are everywhere in this neighborhood, hence the name. While great for shade, and extremely easy to grow, this is unfortunately the weed of trees. The more shallow roots destroy everything they touch, and cottonwood tree branches break easily, so they are a liability if they are too close to your house or driveway.
Cottonwood trees also release their seeds around June, which look like small balls of floating cotton. Allergy sufferers and people who don't like things going into their eyes for an entire month, beware.
Cottonwood Creek Disc Golf Course
I've never played disc golf/frisbee golf, but there's quite a space just for that. I pass it every day on my walk, and people seem to enjoy it. I still have no interest in trying. Still, they've got a great view of Pikes Peak on the first course.
Cottonwood Creek Family Center YMCA
It's a YMCA with a wave pool. Classes, a gym, swimming, and probably Pokemon Go. Oh yeah, I do see Pokemon Go'ers at one corner of the soccer field, so if you're into that, you'll see a small group of people on their phones.
Anyway, the rec center is great for days when it's just too hot outside, or if you don't have access otherwise to a pool.
Next to the rec center is the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden, which is a tiny xeriscaped garden. There are plenty of signs that say what kind of plants and trees everything is, so that you can be inspired to xeriscape your yard and save on water, courtesy of Colorado Springs Utilities.
If you plan on moving to Colorado Springs, you might want to check out the demonstration garden for ideas on what grows well here.
Also in the parking lot of the Cottwonwood Creek Rec Center is Kokomo Sno Hawaiian Shave Ice. I'm pretty sure they're there on every hot day, so on the way to your trail walk, pick one up. They're delicious!
Next to the Hawaiian Shave Ice, there is an in-line hockey rink and a couple tennis courts. I rarely see them used, so if you're a hockey or tennis player, take advantage of the unused space!
Cottonwood Creek Playground
The playground is every child's dream. There are three separate playgrounds, one for toddlers, one for younger kids, and the taller slides for the older kids, though the younger ones like the challenge also.
There are also a few benches, if you want to hang back while they duke it out on the playground. There is also a covered pavilion next to the toddler playground, and I occasionally see a birthday party being hosted there.
There are four soccer fields in the large grassy area, which has a good view of Pikes Peak. Soccer games are at Cottonwood Creek Park constantly during the summer, and there are also events at the park once in a while.
There are public restrooms next to the soccer fields, although they are not maintained well. You have toilet paper and running water, but don't expect anything else. Bring some hand sanitizer, and use some leftover toilet paper to open the door on your way out.
Cottonwood Creek Park Trail
Back to my favorite part. If you make it all the way to Union Street on the trail, you have the option to cross the street and continue your journey, or you can cross north over the bridge on Union and hook back over the north edge of the creek. Here you are on dirt as opposed to pavement, so I wouldn't recommend it for wheelchairs or cumbersome strollers.
Without the sidewalk, it feels more like a nature path, and there are a couple spots where you can pretend you're deep in a forest. Eventually the path takes you back east to the bridge on Rangewood Drive, and you can reconnect in the park.
Great views and fresh air, plus great for kids and dogs, makes Cottonwood Creek an excellent stomping ground!
West Cottonwood Creek Trail
Union Street pretty much puts an end to most walkers/joggers/cyclists adventures at Cottonwood Creek. But did you know that you can keep going? If you cross west across Union Street, the trail does keep going west, and it will eventually connect with Edmondson Trail Head of Santa Fe Trail. This section of the trail was completed May 2019.
You will have to walk under the bridges at Academy and at Vincent before you connect to Edmondson, and before that, you will cross three bridges. It's a great walk on the west trail, with even more foliage and views than the standard trail close to the park, but this area is also frequented by homeless, and walking underneath the bridges of Academy and Vincent does seem a little sketchy. Still, being Colorado Springs, it's not much to complain about, as we do not have a high crime rate.
Are dogs allowed at Cottonwood Creek Park? Is there a fenced off area for dogs?
Dogs are absolutely welcome at Cottonwood Creek Park and Cottonwood Creek Trail! There is no fenced in area though. For that, Bear Creek Dog Park would be a good option.
Can you swim at Cottonwood Creek Park?
Swimming is available in the YMCA (Cottonwood Creek Recreation Center).
Do I have to reserve a gazebo/pavilion for events like birthday parties?
If it's under 50 people, then it's first come, first serve. If more than 50, then you will need to reserve at ColoradoSprings.gov.
Are there grills in the park?
No grills in the park.
How do I reserve a baseball diamond for a game? How do I make reservations in general?
Call the Sports office of the Parks and Rec department at 719-385-6531.
Can I use a hammock at this park?
As long as you can find suitable trees, then yes. Your only option though may be in the disc golf zone, which is not optimal.
Can you camp or fish at this park?
No, there is no camping or fishing available at Cottonwood Creek Park.
Cottonwood Creek Park is located at 7040 Rangewood Dr. (Dublin Blvd. & Rangewood Dr.).