MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. -- The Rainbow Falls Recreation Area in Manitou Springs is going to be reclassified as an El Paso County Historic Site.
Rainbow Falls is popular with families because it's just a short walk to a beautiful waterfall. There's also water to play in and plenty of places to picnic. However, some visitors are surprised by the high number of walls and rocks in the area that are marred by graffiti.
"By giving the popular 5-acre site an historic designation, the County hopes to foster a change in the culture of park use from one of vandalism and graffiti to one of respect," El Paso County officials said in a news release. "The Rainbow Falls Historic Site will have designated days and times when it will be open to the public and it will be supervised by staff or volunteers at all times when it is open. Accessing the area when it is closed will be considered trespassing."
The area is historic. It includes a segment of the old Ute Pass wagon trail that was used as access the mining camps in Cripple Creek and Victor and the Colorado mountains.
"It’s such an important part of our local history and such a beautiful area that we need to find a way to preserve and protect it,” said El Paso County Commissioner Chair Sallie Clark.
An historic 1932 Highway 24 Bridge that crosses the creek at the falls is listed on the National Register of Historic Bridges.
El Paso County plans to spend nearly $500,000 to repair and improve the Rainbow Falls area in 2017.