I started the new year off by crossing a new destination off my travel bucket list: Colorado Springs! This was also my first time in Colorado, and I can’t wait to head back to check out, Denver, Aspen, Breckenridge, Boulder, and Vail.
Not only was this my first visit to Colorado Springs, but this was my first time ever visiting Colorado – or heading out west… hello, altitude. Let me first start by saying, I am not a skier and I did not go to Colorado to ski. Colorado Springs is one of those places everyone wants to visit. With everything from Pikes Peak to old west trails, Colorado Springs is jampacked with history and adventure.
Colorado Springs is located at the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains and is known for its beautiful rock formations and one of the highest peaks in the entire state of Colorado. Colorado Springs comes with no shortage of things to do. While you’re visiting Colorado Springs check out museums, zoos, hikes and more.
Pro Tip: Visit https://www.pikes-peak.com/ to grab coupons and tickets to all of these attractions!
Visit Pikes Peak: The Highest Peak in North America
Pikes Peak is located in west downtown Colorado Springs. The mountain is known as the highest peak of the Rocky Mountains in North America at 14,115 feet. Pikes Peak is the second most visited mountain in the world and is a must for anyone’s bucket list. You can reach the summit a few ways, my personal favorite is the 19-mile drive up via Pikes Peak Highway. There are plenty of areas to pull off along the way.
Tips for visiting Pikes Peak
1. Bring a jacket. No matter what the weather is once you ascend to 14,000 feet you’ll be wanting some layers.
2. Drink lots of water. I know, I know. Literally, everyone will be telling you to chug water by the gallons if you aren’t from an area with higher elevation – but they’re not lying. It’s so easy to start feeling a bit woozy at that altitude.
3. Stop and take pictures. Pikes Peak is filled with some beautiful scenery, be sure to stop at all the overlook areas.
4. Get there early. Pikes Peak is a hot spot, and to get the most out of your experience make sure you get there early.
Pro Tip: Head up with a full tank of gas and 2-4 hours to spare.
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods is one of the most places that I have ever been and is completely FREE to the public. The red rock formations that fill the Garden of the Gods are breathtaking and draw people from all over the world. If you want more adventure out of Garden of the Gods check out options for hiking, rock climbing, cycling, and even horseback riding.
Pro Tip: Parking is limited at Garden of the Gods and it can be even trickier as the day goes on, be sure to get there early.
Cave of the Winds
If you’re into tight and dark spaces, then Cave of the Winds in Manitou Springs is the perfect place for you! This cave gets its name from the cool breeze that emanates from the entrance. Cave of the Winds opened in 1880 and is now home to over 20 massive and lighted rooms. The spaces feature limestone, stalagmites, cave bacon, and other amazing rock features. Cave of the Winds offers two types of tours for its visitors.
The Discovery Tour
The Discovery Tour is the basic walkthrough of Cave of the Winds and provides brief histories about rock formations and caves. Since I was battling an upper respiratory infection while I was visiting Cave of the Winds, this is the tour I opted to do. My tour guide was amazing, informative and lots of fun. At one point in this tour, you will experience total darkness for about one minute, which was a really neat experience.
The Lantern Tour
The Lantern Tour at Cave of the Winds is not designed for younger children or anyone with mobility issues This tour takes you through the undeveloped sections of the caverns with only a lantern for light. At one point, you experience total darkness for about one minute. The caverns are considered to be haunted and feature tons of uneven surfaces, low ceiling heights and tight spaces.
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
Explore the gorgeous architecture of the ancient Anasazi as well as walk through two museums featuring cultural displays, while overlooking the historic town of Manitou Springs.
PS: Notice all that sunshine? Gotta love Colorado!