Revitalize Yourself and Reinvigorate the Park
Familiar with Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument? Then you probably know about the park’s incredible assortment of fossils that detail the story of prehistoric Colorado – a landscape very different than that which exists today. Besides these incredible artifacts, the park offers other “classic” park activities to enjoy, like hiking the many miles of trails or visiting in the winter for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
In addition to these treks and fossil exhibits, the park offers some exciting specialty hikes and volunteer opportunities, getting you and the park healthy as you experience this national park in a whole new way.
Guided hikes include the “Bird Hike” with a local birder and the “Aspen Leaf Hike” to find hidden areas filled with beautiful golden aspen leaves. Another unique option is the ranger led “Elk Hike” that takes visitors off-trail and into rugged terrain to hear the fascinating sound of elk bugling.
For many, the park’s weekly yoga hikes, which take place from the spring through fall, and volunteer activities on the trails are the perfect ways to stay healthy, while ensuring the park’s health for years to come.
Good for you: Recharging on the trails
Hikes are a great way to get your heart pumping and blood flowing, but sometimes it’s best to go with a slower hike to relax and re-charge. The slow-paced yoga practiced on the hike is perfect for yogis of any level. Practice improving standing poses amidst the beauty of the great outdoors and in the fresh air. Take deep breaths as you strengthen your muscles, stretch, and reconnect with your center.
The yoga hike involves a 1-mile hike with intermittent stops for stretches and standing yoga poses. Starting at 9 am, the group meets in the visitor center and is accompanied by a certified yoga instructor and a park ranger. Mats aren’t necessary, as the practice is confined to standing poses. Layering clothing is recommended, as you’re likely to build some heat as you hike and stretch under the morning sun. It’s also important to remember water and sun protection on any hike!
Good for the park: Volunteering your time
Besides yogis, volunteers are another group of welcomed visitors to the park. Improve your mind as you assist in the library or serve as an interpretive ranger. Other opportunities to better yourself and the park are even more unique to Florissant Fossil Beds, such as the chance to work as a roving trail ambassador or help as a member of the trail crew.
As a roving trail ambassador, you’re trained in everything from area geology/paleontology to customer service. Volunteers in the role are usually trained by former trail ambassadors and patrol once per week for about 4-6 hours. The work is crucial in maintaining a presence throughout the area and standing as an ambassador for the monument. These volunteers also take photos and notes along the way in order to keep rangers updated on any protentional issues they find. Trail ambassadors range in ages from those in their mid-20s to more senior ambassadors over 70 years old.
If you prefer to volunteer in a group setting, volunteers are also needed to assist the trail crew. In this role, volunteers assist the park’s maintenance division. Large groups have offered the park staff a tremendous amount of help by keeping the trails clean and assisting with other needs such as installing water bars and signs. Volunteer groups include church groups, scouts, school groups, and even a group of nearly 100 United States Air Force Academy cadets!
To volunteer with your group, head to the park’s site to learn more. Volunteers are always welcome and opportunities to assist the trail crew are open spring through fall.
Get healthy in parks and volunteer to keep parks healthy! Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is just one example of a park offering tons of ways to do both. Whether you’re taking deep breaths in a yoga pose or while recording an issue you find along the trail, health is a great goal when you #FindYourPark/#EncuentraTuParque. Download our free “Recharge in the Parks,” to find another ways to get healthy in a park near you!