Photo of Palmer Divide Trail with Parks 50th Logo in upper right corner

May 19, 2021– On May 4, 2021, El Paso County Parks marked the 50th anniversary of when County residents approved the establishment of the park system

El Paso County has planned many events and initiatives throughout 2021 to celebrate the history and future of the County Park system. Specifically, citizens can participate in the “50K for 50 Years” hiking series guiding hikers on a series of 50 kilometers of trails at seven different parks throughout the County.

For a full list of trails in the hiking series and to participate in guided hikes, the public must register online at Citizens may also participate independently and are encouraged to photograph their adventures and share on social media using the hash tag: #EPCParks50Years. Registered participants who complete the series by December 1, 2021 will receive a commemorative neck gator.

“I look forward to participating in the 50K for 50 Years hiking series exploring our vast trail system and actively celebrating a legacy of successful stewardship of public owned land,” said Stan VanderWerf, El Paso County Board of County Commissioners Chair. “The El Paso County Parks system has always played a critical role in our community health, especially throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. As we move forward, I encourage citizens to get outside and explore, engage, and celebrate our unique and beautiful parks, trails, open spaces, and nature centers.”

Another initiative created to celebrate the El Paso County Parks 50th Anniversary is a treasure hunt series held at the El Paso County Nature Centers.

Select Saturdays throughout the spring and summer, El Paso County Nature Centers will host a treasure hunt where visitors will be able to hunt for wooden coins throughout each Nature Center property. Once a coin is found, visitors can bring the coin to the Nature Center staff to collect a 50th Parks Anniversary water bottle. Dates for these special treasure hunts are:

  • May 22, 2021 at Bear Creek Nature Center
  • July 24, 2021 at Fountain Creek Nature Center
  • August 7, 2021 at Bear Creek Nature Center

“These treasure hunts allow another wonderful opportunity for the public to experience each of our unique, award-winning nature centers,” said Mary Jo Lewis, Bear Creek Nature Center Supervisor. “We are inviting citizens of all ages to explore our centers, engage in the beautiful surrounding nature, and celebrate our Parks 50th Anniversary.”

For complete details and a full list of scheduled celebrations and events visit

“This year is a time to celebrate the vision and forethought of those that established El Paso County Parks in 1971,” said Todd Marts, El Paso County Parks and Recreation Division Manager. “Thank you to those that developed the outstanding parks, nature centers and trails over the past 50 years, and encourage all of us to take care of our parks for the generations to come.”