Sixty miles south of the Midwest metropolis of Denver is Colorado Springs, in the shadow of landmark Pikes Peak. The city is known for its attractive scenery and the diverse mountain terrain that's popular with a varied bunch of outdoors appreciators, from artists to rock climbers, hikers and bikers to sightseers. They come not only for the recreation but for the Western community atmosphere that retains a feel slightly apart from modern urbanity. So whether you want to take in the scenery via a historic local train or a rappel down a gorge at the end of a rope, you'll find attractions to enjoy and many active things to do.
For an overview of local frontier history, visit the Western Museum of Mining and Industry, the Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum or the Pioneers Museum. If you don't mind getting your hands wet, you can relive the gold rush era and try your luck panning for gold at the Ghost Town Museum.
For a dramatic tour up into the mountains, jump aboard the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. The trip begins at the historic depot and travels 9 miles up to the top of the peak, along cascading Ruxton Creek, past the timberline and ancient bristlecone pines to the summit. If you're lucky you'll spot a Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. At the top you'll definitely enjoy stunning views in all directions, as well as the cafe and gift shop, if you're so inclined.
Events and Festivals
Colorado Springs finds itself sited between preserving its frontier traditions and coming up with new ways to entertain the flocks of tourists who find their way here. When it succeeds, it does both. The weekly Farm and Art Market features eclectic shopping for local produce, foods and works by local artists. Annual festivals are also worth a visit if you're in town at the right time. Over Labor Day weekend is the spectacular Colorado Balloon Classic, full of roaring burners and vibrant color. The Springs Spree in mid-June is a lively street fair in the charming downtown area, with concerts and other entertainments, arts, crafts and many food venues.
Whether you're in the mood for a relaxing nature-themed vacation or pursuits like rock climbing and whitewater rafting, the area's unique and varied terrain (kissed by 300 days of sunshine a year) can match the level of adventure you're looking for. Hikers can make the long trek up Pikes Peak on the Barr Trail. If you're on a bike, you can take the highway to the top.
For a different sort of mountain experience, explore the rocky underground mansion in Cave of the Winds. Climbers often head for the Garden of the Gods and its 13 imposing cliffs. Newbies here can follow bolted trails with rappel anchors or take guided climbs, while advanced climbers can register for technical climbing. For a view above it all, you can charter a plane or helicopter for a tour over the entire Pikes Peak region.
One Lake Circle
1805 N 30th St
2 E Pikes Peak Ave
11 North Circle Dr