Open space signage and wayfinding

click to enlarge A conceptual design for a park entry sign - COURTESY COLORADO SPRINGS PARKS DEPARTMENT

  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Parks Department
  • A conceptual design for a park entry sign

Hikers of a certain age, or fans of music from a certain era probably can’t help but think of the song “Signs” when out enjoying Colorado Springs’ parks and open spaces. It seems that there is often not enough signs. Or the signs that are out there are in disrepair, or outdated and inaccurate. And then there are sometimes so many signs at a trailhead, it looks like there are “signs, signs, everywhere a sign”.

The signs in Colorado Springs parks have not historically been the model of durability, readability and flexibility.  Wayfinding signs are made of fragile plastic, which are attached to heavy, expensive 6″ wooden square posts that are time consuming and difficult to carry and install. The plastic signs are easily broken, and the one-person sign shop in the parks department is so back-logged that it takes months to replace a broken or missing sign. At trailheads, the metal signs used for general trail information are generally too small to contain all the relevant information for the trails.  This has resulted in sign clutter, as more and more signs were put in to cover all the rules, notices and useful information for the trails. The signs have typically had information printed directly on a metal sheet. If there is a change in trail information, a whole new sign has to be made.  This is time consuming, expensive and inefficient.

click to enlarge Conceptual designs of wayfinding signs - COURTESY COLORADO SPRINGS PARKS DEPARTMENT

  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Parks Department
  • Conceptual designs of wayfinding signs

Earlier this year, the Colorado Springs Parks Department started a process to develop a new signage and wayfinding package for it’s TOPS purchased properties. A consulting firm, the Architerra Group out of Littleton, was hired and representatives from the cycling, hiking and horseback riding community, along with various non-profit organizations and open space friends groups met during the course of the summer and fall. The goal was to develop a signage and wayfinding design package that would be attractive, durable, informative and cost effective. [Disclosure: I was a member of this group]. A couple of conceptual packages were presented to the public at an Open House in November, and attendees were asked for their opinions and preferences on the alternative packages that were presented.  Based on that feedback, the parks department and Architerra have developed on a signage package concept.

The next step before the concept is adopted is to present it to Colorado Springs Parks Advisory Board’s meeting on December 12. After that meeting,  the department will open up a public survey on the projects website. The public will also be able to submit comments via e-mail. To see the conceptual package, and to offer comments, visit the parks department Open Space signage and wayfinding webpage.

Be Good. Do Good Things.

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner and author of Hiking Bob’s Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for almost 28 years. Follow him on Twitter (
@hikingbob), Facebook (@hikingguide), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website ( E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: