Based on lists by other birders, this is the go-to place for high-mountain species in El Paso County. I went early on a Friday that was forecasted to get up to 90°.
The Rainbow Gulch Trail is about a mile-and-a-half-long dirt road that slowly descends from Rampart Range Road to Rampart Reservoir. For half the distance, the road parallels a man-made, boulder-lined “creek” that pours out of a cement hole.
I continued on the trail around the north side of the reservoir for perhaps another two miles. But I could tell a complete circumperambulation would be long (turns out to be close to 12 miles around) and it was already getting very hot, so I turned around.
North side of Pikes Peak from Rampart Range Road.
One of the inlets functions as a nursery. A pair of Canada Geese with four rather large but still downy goslings were relaxing on the shore. A female Mallard with five small ducklings were swimming by not six feet away. And a Spotted Sandpiper with a lone juvenile walked along the water’s edge in between.
I didn’t spend a lot of time trying for photos, but this Red Squirrel (called a Pine Squirrel out here) froze on a branch not six feet away from me, so I couldn’t resist.