For Colorado Springs’ urban explorers, Sinton Pond is a treat.
It is a surprising, wild oasis a stone’s throw from Interstate 25 and a railroad-bordering industrial zone, hiding amid tall cottonwoods and pines and grasses and shrubs — protection for a colorful array of residents. The 13-acre open space “is a small enclave of natural habitat in an otherwise urban setting,” reads a management plan by the city of Colorado Springs.
From a paved regional path, one suddenly meets a thin, dirt trail and is greeted by bird song and critters shuffling near the shore. Mice and amphibians make home here, while red-tailed hawks and great horned owls occasionally roost. One might find Canada geese on the water or spot a great blue heron. Some watch for other winged migrators and dwellers, while others go fishing for carp.
Along the short loop trail, a bench faces Pikes Peak. Here we found a man sitting and reading a book. Another person walked her dogs. A couple went around picking up trash, caring for this overlooked slice of paradise.
What began as a homestead — the dairy operation in view is a nod to Melvin Sinton’s livelihood — is now a multi-use preserve, protected by the city since 1996.
Sinton Pond is often discovered by cyclists and runners along Sinton Trail, a connection of the Pikes Peak Greenway, which continues west of here for about 3 miles to 30th Street and Garden of the Gods Road.
For those wanting to exclusively visit the pond and park legally and safely on public grounds, the city points to Goose Gossage Youth Sports Complex. From the south side of the complex, Sinton Trail runs less than a mile to the pond.
Trip log: Loop around pond about a quarter-mile.
Getting there: Pond along Sinton Road, at intersection with Ellston Street, west of Mark Dabling Boulevard. Goose Gossage complex at 3950 Mark Dabling Blvd.
FYI: Open 5 a.m.-9 p.m. Nov. 1-April 30; 5 a.m.-10 p.m. May 1-Oct. 31. Foot and bike traffic. Dogs on leash.
SETH BOSTER, THE GAZETTE