Colorado Springs is incredible, especially if you love nature, exploring and the outdoors. This sleepy town is centered around the outdoors, in winter it is cold and quiet but it comes alive in summer with plenty of tourists exploring the hiking trails and natural wonders.
The MANITOU INCLINE is a both an incredible walk and incredibly hard. Be prepared for a lot of steps on the walk as that is all it is with them slowly getting bigger and bigger. This walk however, is good fun and can be achieved by anyone with a medium level of fitness. The Manitou Incline gains 2000 vertical feet over 1 mile. This hike is one that you can power up or take your time with, but in summer be warned there is plenty of people on the trail and you will have to take your breaks to the side of the path. If you are doing the hike in winter, don’t be silly like me and wear runners, make sure you have spikes. Once you get to the top the view is incredible, and the feeling of accomplishment is amazing! Take the Barr Trail down this is a much easier walk, and is a steady hike down around the mountain. The hike can take anywhere from 30 minutes (for Olympic athletes) to 3 or 4 hours (for those that aren’t too fit).
NORTH CHEYENNE CANON PARK in Colorado Springs is also another great spot to. Known for its towering evergreens and wildflowers, stunning rock formations, hiking paths and waterfalls is nice for a walk or drive around, with plenty of hiking trails to explore.
GARDEN OF THE GODS (left) is one of the most incredible spots to witness. The rock formations appear from the ground and are massive around the park. With vast expanses the red rocks stand out among the green shrubbery. You can drive around the garden and see the rocks from the car, but make sure you get out and walk around if you can, take some photos and most importantly take in the incredible nature that is one of the United States Natural Landmarks. The Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center is worth visiting, get a map from here and decide if you are going to drive or walk the park.
SEVEN FALLS is a series of seven cascading waterfalls. It is a privately owned tourist attraction so check the opening hours before you go. Seven Falls is Colorado’s only waterfall that is included in the National Geographic list of international waterfalls. The waterfalls are a gorgeous spot to explore and take in, especially after a few long days of hiking. Make sure to check out the Broadmoor estate whilst you are there exploring the falls, it is an incredible AAA, 5 star resort, that is known throughout the world for its high class facilities.
PIKES PEAK (below is the view from the drive up) is one of the 14,000ft mountains in Colorado. Located in Pikes National Forrest this is an incredible prominent mountain that you can either climb up, drive up or get the train. The Manitou and Pike’s Peak Railway is a cog railroad that operates from Manitou Springs to the summit year-round, conditions permitting. You can also drive up the summit weather permitting, in winter often they will shut the road from certain points on, when I drove up in January, the road was shut from the 13 mile point. The drive is a 19 mile drive, and has some amazing viewpoints. The most popular hiking route is the Barr Trail up the mountain. This hike needs to be started early in the morning and be sure to have plenty of water, food, and warm clothes. Whilst rated a level 1 hike it is a long and arduous hike with nearly 8,000 feet of elevation gain, and a 13 mile trip one-way with low levels of oxygen at the top of the mountain. Enjoy the mountain whichever way you choose to go up it. You will be able to see all of Colorado Springs and much more from the top.
MANITOU SPRINGS is a town worth checking out too whilst you are here. It is a town that is quiet and feels like you’ve stepped back in time 100 years. Now a historical district the town has a variety of art galleries, boutiques to check out and cute, funky cafes scattered up its streets. The Manitou Springs Penny Arcade is a great spot to stop at with around 250 arcade games, you can play the day away in here. Get to Good Karma Coffee Lounge and Deli for a bite to eat and a decent coffee before walking the streets and browsing the shops.
Eat at PAPPADEAUX’S SEAFOOD KITCHEN, which has a variety of locations around CO and all are great, there is heaps on the menu from crazy things such as fried alligator, crawfish and plenty more. Everything I have eaten here and friend have eaten has been amazing! Get the dirty rice for sure, and also the crawfish etouffee.
Snack at AMYS DONUTS. Here is an incredible donut shop located just out of the city. The donuts here are incredible, with so many flavours to choose from you will be in heaven. I loved the Almond Banana Caramel, The peanut-butter oreo and the vanilla cheesecake for the crazy flavours, and the plain old glazed donut was also heaven. With close to 100 donut flavours you wont have an issue finding one that you like, the hard bit will be picking only one!
Eat at THE GREEN LINE GRILL. They have the best burgers in CO Springs. With a simple as anything menu this burger joint do a few burgers, but do them very well!!