There are so many things to do in the Pikes Peak region that it’s hard to know where to start. Read on for some ideas that will help you make the most of your trip.
Appreciate the famous views.
No matter how you summit Pikes Peak — by car, train or foot — it won’t take you long to realize why the mountain is one of Colorado’s most famous. The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the world’s highest cog railway, weaves through exquisite aspen and pine woodlands to the top, where you can see all the way to Kansas and New Mexico on a clear day.
If you prefer to see “America’s Mountain” from the comfort of your vehicle, the Pikes Peak Highway leads visitors to the summit with plenty of worthy stops along the way, including scenic outlooks, alpine lakes for fishing, picnic areas and hiking trails. Learn more about hiking Pikes Peak >>
Get rockin’ (literally).
A getaway to the Colorado Springs area wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Garden of the Gods’ dramatic red-sandstone formations. Pick up information on all the best hiking and biking trails and browse works by local artists and a giant selection of Colorado souvenirs at Garden of the Gods Trading Post.
Cave of the Winds Mountain Park, another geological gem in south-central Colorado, offers two wondrous cave tours and other fun. The Terror-Dactyl launches riders 200 feet into Williams Canyon at nearly 100 miles per hour, while the Bat-A-Pult takes visitors on a round-trip flight across the canyon.
Reach new heights.
Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, one of the world’s highest suspension bridges, sits 956 feet above the Arkansas River. Stroll or drive across the bridge’s nearly 1,300 wooden planks; or glide across the gorge via zipline or in one of their new aerial gondolas.
Or climb a 224-step staircase beside a series of waterfalls within a 1,250-foot granite box canyon at The Broadmoor Seven Falls. From the top of the falls, take the 1-mile trail to Inspiration Point, which has dazzled ramblers with views of Colorado Springs since 1883. An elevator whisks those who don’t feel like climbing to the observation deck, and new Restaurant 1858 serves up seasonal Colorado cuisine (think: bison roast, Rocky Mountain trout and Palisade peach cobbler).
Ride the Arkansas.
One of the best ways to see the Pikes Peak region’s iconic landscape is from the water. The Arkansas River flows through the Royal Gorge and affords amazing whitewater rafting. Hook up with Echo Canyon River Expeditions, who will help you plan a flawless rafting excursion, whether your group is seeking a low-key float or a wild ride.
Delve into ancient Colorado history.
Long before the West was won, American Indian tribes made their homes in the Centennial State. Learn about some of our earliest residents at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, where you can survey the architectural talent of the Ancestral Puebloan people who inhabited Colorado’s Four Corners region more than 700 years ago. The Anasazi Museum, which opened to the public in 1907, offers a unique look into the daily lives of these ancient people.
Taste the American West.
National Historic Districts in Old Colorado City, Manitou Springs and Cripple Creek offer a window into Colorado’s colorful past, when railroaders, gold rushers, cowpokes and bandits mingled in a brave new world.
A former 1890s mining camp, Cripple Creek’s golden history lives on through the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad, Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine, Cripple Creek Heritage Center and many other museums in the area. Admire the historic storefronts; or try to strike at rich at one of the city’s dozen or so casinos.
Meanwhile, many of Old Colorado City’s more than 100 locally owned boutiques, galleries and restaurants are housed in preserved Victorian structures. And you can still sip water from Manitou Springs’ eight preserved natural mineral springs, which have attracted patrons for centuries, from American Indian tribes to riders of the 1880s-era Denver and Rio Grande Railroad.
Keep the kids smiling.
Only in the Pikes Peak region can little ones visit with Santa and one of the largest giraffe herds in the world — all in the same day. Nearly 30 themed rides, shows and opportunities to feed the North Pole’s llamas and goats make North Pole – Santa’s Workshop a primo family destination. And Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the nation’s only mountain zoo, has more than 950 animals from all over the world, including African elephants, Amur leopards and zebras.
Planning your trip?
Browse coupons for Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region, check out the Pikes Peak blog and view the events page to learn about happenings during your visit.