Restore Fountain Creek in Manitou Springs

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Manitou and Fountain Creek

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Pikes Peak viewed from Colorado Springs

ountain Creek's headwaters are located high on the eastern face of Pikes Peak - "America's Mountain."  After leaving the mountain,  the creek flows down Ute Pass before making its way through Manitou.  In town, it is joined by Ruxton Creek and a couple smaller streams.

Fountain Creek is about 45 miles in total length.  After it leaves Manitou, the creek flows through Colorado Springs, then south and east to Pueblo, Colorado, where the creek is a tributary to the Arkansas River.

The histories of Manitou Springs and Fountain Creek are inseparable.  The creek is one of the principal water sources in this vicinity, and sustained both Plains and Mountain tribes of Native Americans before the first European settlers came to the area. 

  The histories of Manitou Springs and Fountain Creek are inseparable. 

Native Americans, principally the Ute, Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche and Kiowa, regularly visited the springs of Manitou before the Europeans came. Folklore has it that despite the state of nearly perpetual warfare among some of these tribes, no fighting was permitted in the vicinity of the springs.  Manitou was a place of healing, as the springs were inhabited by the Great Spirit whose breath infused the mineral waters.  Indians often left offerings near the springs, attesting to Manitou's spiritual and medicinal importance. Old Postcard

Eighteenth-century Spanish explorers called Fountain Creek Rio de San Buenaventura and Rio de Sacramento.  Later French trappers - one source identifies them as St. Louis merchants August Chouteau and Jules de Mun - called the creek Fontaine qui Bouille - the Boiling Fountain - in reference to the boiling appearance of the springs in Manitou.  The name was later shortened and Anglicized to Fountain Creek.

The springs of Manitou flow into Fountain Creek.  Though the springs' contribution to the overall volume of the creek is insignificant, the springs are the source of its name.