By receiving this highest standard of recognition, Gold Standard Sites are exemplary models, encouraging other public lands to ensure that Leave No Trace education is part of everyone’s experience when spending time outdoors. Learn more about what it means to be a Gold Standard Site here.
The preservation of the Austin Bluffs Open Space was made possible through partnership and widespread community support including:
- Citizens of Colorado Springs
- City of Colorado Springs TOPS Program
- Great Outdoors Colorado
- Palmer Foundation
- Private Land Owner Donation
The Austin Bluffs Open Space is comprised of 584 acres. The United States Forest Service has ranked this open space as "unique" in the National Feature Inventory for its distinctive rock formations. One rock formation dates back to the Eocene period of the Tertiary, other formations include the Denver formation, Arapahoe formation, and the Dawson arkose. Following the most recent period of regional geologic uplift, about 65 to 70 million years ago, sedimentary sandstone and arkosic sandstone units.
Note: Trailhead construction and trail designations are currently underway.
From I-25 take the Garden of the Gods exit, which turns into Austin Bluffs Parkway. Turn left onto Union Boulevard. Turn left on Ranch Lane and left on Montebello Drive West.. Turn right at Rockhurst Blvd and park near the intersection of University Park Blvd and Rockhurst. The park may be accessed through the road easement, which runs through adjacent open space lands owned by the City.
Master and Management Plan
The Austin Bluffs Open Space Master Plan was prepared in 2018, developed through a community guided planning process to inform the passive recreation development and management of the Austin Bluffs Open Space for the next 10 to 15 years.
The plan is based on the best available information and provides a comprehensive assessment of existing conditions, community input and future use. The plan provides a guideline for the balance for public access, recreation, and the protection of the resources present in the open space.
The Austin Bluffs Master and Management Plan was adopted by the Park and Recreation Advisory Board on June 11, 2020. We thank the public for their valued input and participation in the public process.
- Management Plan for Austin Bluffs (University Park) Open Space
- Approved Austin Bluffs Master and Management Plan Appendices (PDF)
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. Be prepared! Remember food and water, and clothes to protect you from cold, heat, and rain. Bring a leash for your pet and plastic bags to pick up your pet’s waste. Plan to pack out all of the trash you generate, including food and pet waste.
|Travel on durable surfaces. Walk and ride on designated trails to protect fragile trailside plants and eliminate the creation of unsustainable “rogue” trails. Avoid unsafe or sensitive areas in the park such as cliff edges.
|Dispose of waste properly. Pack it in, pack it out. Put litter–even crumbs, peels, and cores–in garbage bags and dispose of at the trailhead. Use bathrooms or portalets prior to your hike or ride. Use a plastic bag to pack out your pet’s poop to a garbage can.
|Leave what you find. Leave plants, rocks, and historical or archeological items as you find them so others can enjoy them. Treat living plants with respect. Carving, hacking or peeling plants may kill them. Take pictures to share your adventure!
|Be careful with fire. Wildfires don’t have an off season. Fires, charcoal grilling, and smoking are prohibited at Austin Bluffs Open Space. Do your part and help us protect this area from wildfires.
|Respect wildlife. 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. Have a “zoom meeting” with wildlife by using the zoom on your camera!
|Be considerate of others. Be considerate when passing others on the trail. Keep your pet under control to protect it, other visitors, and wildlife. Avoid making loud noises or yelling. Be sure the fun you have at the open space doesn’t bother anyone else. Remember, other visitors are here to enjoy the outdoors too.