Hiking, birding, wildlife and wildflower watching, other nature-based activities. View All
Bring sturdy boots for hiking and please leave your pets at home. View All
Striking images can be found here, the zone between the plains and mountains where dramatic red spires and outcrops collide with rich green flora.
This is a high-quality foothills ecosystem along the southern Front Range. A treasure trove of plant and animal communities call this home.
Named after ornithologist Charles Aiken, this is a great destination for birders—more than 100 species have been seen. Aiken, a U.S. surveyor, taxidermist and collector, first surveyed this region in the 1870s.
Southcentral Colorado, about 16 miles south of Colorado Springs
A well-maintained, four-mile-loop hiking trail begins at the entrance. An additional 3/4 mile trail branches off from the loop and makes its way through the canyon. Interpretive signs highlight important features along the trail.
Aiken Canyon is one of the last high-quality examples of the southern Front Range foothills ecosystem. The preserve is composed of a mosaic of habitat types, including shrublands, tallgrass prairie meadows, pinyon juniper woodlands and mixed coniferous woodlands.
Conservation targets include the following:
In 1991, the Conservancy signed a 99-year conservation lease, giving it exclusive right to manage 1,080 acres of state land. Since then, the Conservancy has acquired another 541 acres, bringing the entire Aiken Canyon Preserve to 1,621 acres.
Given its proximity to Colorado Springs, the preserve is a strategic location for engaging the public in the Conservancy's mission. An innovative straw-bale Field Station doubles as an educational facility for visitors and students.
We recently revised our management plan. We will more actively engage our neighbors and key public partners in conservation action in the landscape. Volunteers and researchers assist us with:
The preserve is open year-round, dawn to dusk, on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The Field Station/Visitor Center is open year round, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
You'll find excellent examples of two globally rare plant communities:
Several native tallgrass species also occur here
More than 100 species of birds have been documented. The sharp-eyed birdwatcher may see one or more of the following species:
You will encounter rocky areas with low brush and cactus - and maybe even a rattlesnake! - so please wear a pair of sturdy leather boots.
Please leave pets at home while you enjoy the native fauna at Aiken Canyon.