Nestled at the foot of the majestic Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs is a treasure trove of natural beauty and cultural richness. This vibrant city offers an array of places to visit and things to do that are both breathtaking and unique. From awe-inspiring natural wonders to historical landmarks, Colorado Springs is a destination that appeals to all.
Garden of the Gods
The Garden of the Gods is a mesmerizing natural rock formation that ranks high among the places to visit in Colorado Springs. This geologic wonder features massive red rock structures set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, creating a striking contrast that leaves visitors in awe. The park spans 1,364 acres and offers a myriad of activities.
- Hiking: Explore numerous hiking trails that wind through the park, suitable for all skill levels. The Central Garden Trail is a popular choice for its accessibility and panoramic views;
- Photography: Capture the stunning beauty of the red rock formations against the backdrop of Pikes Peak. Sunrise and sunset are particularly magical times for photography;
- Nature Appreciation: Simply relax and bask in the glory of nature, as you take in the unique rock formations and the surrounding natural beauty.
Known as “America’s Mountain,” Pikes Peak is an iconic landmark that offers a spectacular panoramic view of Colorado Springs and the surrounding region. Reaching the summit of Pikes Peak is a must-do activity for any visitor, and there are several ways to achieve this feat.
- Scenic Drive: Take a scenic drive to the summit via the Pikes Peak Highway. The road is a picturesque journey with numerous viewpoints along the way;
- Hiking: For the more adventurous, hiking to the summit is an option. The Barr Trail is the most popular route and offers a challenging yet rewarding experience;
- Cog Railway: Enjoy a leisurely and informative ride to the summit on the historic Pikes Peak Cog Railway. It’s a unique way to experience the mountain’s beauty.
Seven Falls is a series of seven cascading waterfalls nestled in a picturesque canyon. This natural wonder is a must-visit for those seeking a memorable outdoor adventure. The falls are a short drive from downtown Colorado Springs.
- Waterfall Experience: Witness the power and beauty of the seven cascading waterfalls, which are illuminated at night, creating a magical atmosphere;
- 224-Step Staircase: For an unforgettable experience, climb the 224-step staircase alongside the falls, leading to breathtaking viewpoints;
- Hiking Trails: Explore the surrounding hiking trails, including the challenging Inspiration Point Trail, offering sweeping vistas of the falls and canyon.
Colorado Springs not only boasts natural wonders but also offers a rich cultural heritage to explore. Here are some cultural attractions that should be on your itinerary:
Description: Dive into the history of the area at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. This museum features exhibits that showcase the cultural and historical heritage of the region. It’s a great place to gain insights into the early settlers and the development of Colorado Springs.
- Exhibits: Explore a wide range of exhibits, including artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays that tell the story of Colorado Springs’ past;
- Historical Programs: Check the museum’s calendar for special events and programs that offer a deeper understanding of the city’s history;
- Educational Opportunities: The museum offers educational programs for visitors of all ages, making it a family-friendly attraction.
Description: Broadmoor Seven Falls is not just a natural wonder but also a place steeped in cultural significance. In addition to the stunning waterfalls, visitors can enjoy Native American dancing performances and wildlife viewing.
- Waterfall Experience: Witness the majestic waterfalls surrounded by lush vegetation and towering rock formations;
- Cultural Performances: Experience Native American dances and storytelling, providing insight into the cultural heritage of the region;
- Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for local wildlife, including birds and mule deer, which can often be spotted in the area.
Description: Explore Old Colorado City, a historic district that perfectly blends history and modern charm. This area is home to quaint shops, art galleries, and restaurants, making it a delightful destination for a leisurely stroll and some shopping.
- Shopping: Browse through unique boutiques and shops offering a wide variety of merchandise, from art and antiques to handmade crafts;
- Art Galleries: Admire the work of local artists in the numerous art galleries that showcase a diverse range of artistic styles and mediums;
- Dining: Enjoy a meal at one of the charming restaurants, cafes, or bakeries that dot the streets of Old Colorado City, offering a taste of local cuisine.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Located on the slopes of Cheyenne Mountain, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is not your average zoo. It’s America’s only mountain zoo, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with a wide range of wildlife species while enjoying breathtaking views of Colorado Springs below.
|Wildlife Encounters||Encounter exotic animals like giraffes, lemurs, and grizzly bears in a stunning mountain setting.|
|Scenic Overlooks||Enjoy panoramic views of Colorado Springs and the surrounding mountains as you explore the zoo.|
|Animal Experiences||Participate in various animal experiences, including feeding giraffes and interacting with zookeepers.|
Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a range of activities such as hiking, biking, and rock climbing. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of Colorado’s red rock formations.
|Hiking||Explore numerous trails of varying difficulty levels, each providing stunning views of the red rock formations.|
|Biking||Ride along designated bike trails that wind through the open space, suitable for riders of all skill levels.|
|Rock Climbing||Test your climbing skills on the natural rock formations. Make sure to follow safety guidelines and regulations.|
Description: For the thrill-seekers, The Broadmoor Seven Falls Zip Line Tours offer an exhilarating experience of soaring across canyons and waterfalls. This adventure will take you to new heights and provide a unique perspective of the stunning natural surroundings.
|Zip Line Courses||Enjoy multiple zip line courses that take you across canyons and waterfalls, offering breathtaking views.|
|Professional Guides||Experienced guides ensure your safety and provide interesting insights into the natural environment.|
|Adventure Packages||Choose from a variety of adventure packages, including options for different skill levels and group sizes.|
While outdoor adventures are abundant in Colorado, the area also boasts hidden gems that showcase its unique culture and history. Let’s explore some additional must-visit spots in and around Colorado Springs.
Just adjacent to Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs is a quirky and charming town known for its distinctive character. It offers unique shopping opportunities, diverse dining options, and the famous Manitou Incline for fitness enthusiasts seeking a challenge.
|Unique Shopping||Discover eclectic boutiques and shops along Manitou Avenue, offering a wide array of handmade crafts and more.|
|Dining Experiences||Sample the local cuisine at restaurants, cafes, and brewpubs that reflect the town’s vibrant and diverse culture.|
|Manitou Incline||Take on the challenging Manitou Incline, a steep hike with 2,744 steps, providing incredible views and a workout.|
The United States Air Force Academy, located north of Colorado Springs, stands as a symbol of military precision and discipline. A notable attraction is the Academy’s Chapel, an architectural marvel with stunning design and symbolism.
|Cadet Chapel||Explore the Cadet Chapel, a striking building with 17 spires reaching up to 150 feet tall, open to visitors.|
|Visitor Center||Visit the Air Force Academy Visitor Center to learn about its history and mission, with interactive exhibits.|
Sports enthusiasts will appreciate a tour of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. It’s where aspiring and world-class Olympians prepare for their competitions, offering a glimpse into the world of elite sports training.
|Training Center Highlights||Details|
|Guided Tours||Take guided tours of the training facilities, athlete dormitories, and the Olympic Hall of Fame.|
|Olympic Memorabilia||Explore the Olympic Hall of Fame, showcasing a wealth of memorabilia from past Olympic Games.|
|Interactive Exhibits||Engage with interactive exhibits that celebrate the dedication and achievements of Olympic athletes.|
Palmer Park is a city park situated in the heart of Colorado Springs, providing stunning vistas of the city against a mountain backdrop. It’s an ideal destination for a family picnic, a leisurely hike, or simply enjoying the great outdoors.
|Scenic Overlooks||Hike or drive to scenic overlooks within Palmer Park, offering panoramic views of Colorado Springs.|
|Hiking Trails||Explore the extensive network of hiking trails, catering to various skill levels and preferences.|
|Picnic Areas||Pack a picnic and unwind at designated picnic areas, surrounded by natural beauty and fresh mountain air.|
Spring in Colorado Springs
- Territory Days: Held in Old Colorado City, Territory Days is a lively festival that commemorates the area’s history. It features live music, tantalizing food vendors, and a wide array of artisan crafts. Visitors can immerse themselves in the heritage of the region while enjoying the festive atmosphere;
- Garden of the Gods: Springtime in Colorado Springs is particularly enchanting at the Garden of the Gods. The vibrant spring bloom adds a vivid splash of color to the already spectacular red rock formations. Hiking trails wind through the park, offering breathtaking views of the scenery.
- Pikes Peak Hill Climb: For adrenaline junkies, the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a must-see event. This motorsport competition attracts thrill-seekers from around the world as drivers navigate the challenging 12.42-mile course up Pikes Peak. The race is a thrilling spectacle against the backdrop of the Rockies;
- Summer Concerts in the Park: To unwind during the warmer months, Colorado Springs hosts a series of free concerts in various parks across the city. These family-friendly events feature a diverse range of musical genres, making them perfect for a relaxed evening of entertainment.
- Hot Air Balloon Festivals: Fall in Colorado Springs is synonymous with the breathtaking sight of hot air balloons filling the sky. Numerous hot air balloon festivals take place in the area, offering visitors the chance to witness a kaleidoscope of colors as balloons gracefully ascend against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains;
- Autumn Foliage: As the leaves change, the region becomes a haven for leaf-peepers. One of the best spots to witness the vibrant autumn foliage is North Cheyenne Cañon Park. The trails here offer hikers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows.
- The Broadmoor Holiday Lights: During the holiday season, The Broadmoor Hotel transforms into a magical wonderland with its Holiday Lights display. Visitors can stroll through the elaborately decorated grounds, enjoying the enchanting atmosphere created by thousands of twinkling lights, festive decorations, and seasonal music;
- Winter Sports: Colorado Springs is also a gateway to winter sports enthusiasts. Nearby ski resorts such as Breckenridge, Keystone, and Vail offer world-class skiing and snowboarding opportunities. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner hitting the slopes for the first time, these resorts provide an abundance of snowy adventures.
Colorado Springs stands as a splendid testament to nature’s artistry and human endeavor. This city, cradled by the Rocky Mountains, offers a diverse array of experiences, ranging from the tranquility of natural wonders to the vibrancy of cultural festivities. Each location, from the awe-inspiring Garden of the Gods to the historic streets of Old Colorado City, tells a unique story. The fusion of nature and culture in Colorado Springs provides an enriching experience for all visitors, regardless of age or interests. Whether seeking adventure at the Pikes Peak or a peaceful stroll in Palmer Park, Colorado Springs promises memories that last a lifetime. Its seasonal events add further charm, making it a year-round destination. In essence, Colorado Springs is not just a place to visit but a wonderland to experience, cherish, and explore.
Q1: What is the best time of year to visit Colorado Springs?
A1: Colorado Springs is a year-round destination. Spring and summer offer beautiful blooms and outdoor concerts, fall brings stunning foliage and balloon festivals, and winter is perfect for holiday lights and winter sports.
Q2: Are there activities for families with children in Colorado Springs?
A2: Absolutely! Families can enjoy the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, interactive exhibits at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, and the fun-filled adventure of zip-lining at The Broadmoor Seven Falls.
Q3: How accessible are the natural attractions for those with mobility issues?
A3: Many natural attractions, like the Garden of the Gods, offer accessible paths and viewing areas. However, some activities, like climbing the Manitou Incline, may not be suitable for everyone.
Q4: Is Colorado Springs suitable for adventure sports enthusiasts?
A4: Yes, it is an adventure haven. From rock climbing at Red Rock Canyon Open Space to hiking Pikes Peak and zip-lining across canyons, there’s plenty for thrill-seekers.
Q5: What are some unique cultural experiences in Colorado Springs?
A5: The Broadmoor Seven Falls offers Native American dancing, and Old Colorado City provides a glimpse into the region’s history with its quaint shops and art galleries.
Q6: Can visitors tour the Olympic Training Center?
A6: Yes, the Olympic Training Center offers tours, providing a unique opportunity to see where Olympians train.