Fountain Creek Nature Center Audio Tour – Stop 7 – Fountain Creek

This creek has shaped nature and human history in the Pikes Peak region for thousands of years.

Listen to discover how humans, plants, and animals use the water, and how we might effect it.


Fountain Creek is the spine of our watershed. A watershed is an area of land where all the water that’s in it collects into the same place. All of the water from rain snow melt and smaller creeks in our watershed eventually flows into Fountain Creek. The creek carries that water to the Arkansas River leading to the Mississippi River and eventually the Gulf of Mexico. Fountain Creek has sustained the plants, wildlife, and people here for thousands of years. The Ute Indians may have called the creek Nuch Pa, meaning people water. They followed the path created by Fountain Creek to move between summer hunting grounds in the peaks and winter camping grounds on the prairie. This created what is now known as Ute pass. Explorers and settlers also rested along Fountain Creek banks. Many wildlife feed on the fish and invertebrates within the creek. Kingfishers can often be seen flying overhead looking for a tasty fish to snap out of the water. Muskrats use the creek as a liquid highway to travel their territories and beavers have built dams and lodges in the creek. All of the uncontained pollution in our watershed flows into Fountain Creek as well. Any trash, pet waste, chemicals, and fertilizers on the ground can be washed into Fountain Creek by rain and melting snow. This throws the creek ecosystem out of balance by introducing plastics, toxins, unhealthy bacteria, and excess nutrients. With all of that pollution in the water life and the Creek becomes much more challenging. Try running in place as fast as you can for 5 seconds, not so bad right? Now hold your breath and run in place again for 5 seconds. How was that? It’s much harder when you can’t get the oxygen you need. This is similar to what fish experience in polluted water. More pollution means less oxygen is available in the water to breathe. And now you know how hard it is to keep going with that kind of challenge. The good news is there are many opportunities for you to help improve Fountain Creek’s water quality. Pick up litter and pet waste make sure your vehicle is in good repair. Work with community leaders to establish more wetlands and volunteer for local creek cleanups. Fountain Creek’s water quality can be improved by the thoughtful actions of a large community that cares about and supports it.