After making the 12 hour drive from St. Louis, hours of which were in the flat state Kansas, we were excited to see the mountains! However getting in after dark prohibits that view so we went straight to our AirBNB to rest up! The next morning we hit the pavement hard and were off to see all we could in Colorado Springs.
Pikes Peak: At 14,115 feet and 19 miles Pike’s Peak will take your breath away.
Fortunately you have multiple ways to reach the top:
–Drive your personal vehicle ($12/adult, $5/child, $40/car load max of 5) *This is the method we chose because we wanted to be able to go at our own pace. There are a ton of scenic overlooks to pull over on along the way. We recommend you give yourself 2-4 hours at Pike’s Peak if choosing this mode of transportation.
–Take the Pikes Peak Cog Railway You can make your reservations here.
Cost: $38/adult, $20.50/children
-For those who have ambitions to summit a 14er while in Colorado you can also hike or bike up and down Pike’s Peak. However, if you haven’t prepared for this we recommend you choose one of the previous options!
–Bring a jacket! No matter what the weather is in Colorado Springs, once you ascend to 14,000ft you’ll be wanting some layers!
–Drink a lot of water. I know, literally everyone and their brother, uncle, sister, mother, etc. 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! We decided to drive Pikes Peak and just walking around at the top of the mountain and climbing some of the rocks there had us feeling somewhat woozy.
–Stop a lot and take pictures. Pikes Peak has some beautiful scenery and areas that you can step out of your vehicle and take photos.
–Get there early: At almost every hot spot in Colorado you’ll want to be up early to be able to enjoy the scenery without fighting the crowds.
Click here for more information about Pikes Peak
Garden of the Gods: A really intriguing park with incredible rock formations. Here you are able to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, horseback rides, running, and much more. Click here for a printable hiking map.
–Bring a picnic: When we arrived we were shocked by the amount of neat areas that you could stop and have a picnic! Instead of eating lunch out, bring some food and snacks with you and stop and enjoy the beauty here.
–Get there early: Parking is limited at Garden of the Gods and it can be tricky especially as the day goes on.
Click here for more information about Garden of the Gods
Location: 3820 N 30th Street, Colorado Springs
Hours: Sunday: 1pm Monday-Saturday: 11am & 1pm
Travel Tip: You will need to make a reservation to do the tour by calling 719-265-7050
Cost: $9 per person, free for children 5 and under
Paradise Cove: About an hour from Colorado Springs but terrific for a day trip! It is one of the top swimming holes in Colorado and also had some neat cliff jumping. However be aware that cliff jumping is a dangerous activity and be sure to use every safety precaution when doing so.
Location: 13800 Main Street, Guffey
Trail Rating: Moderate, 1 mile loop
Seven Falls: While this is what we consider to be a “tourist trap” it can fun if you are looking for something to do with family or people of any age!
A few thoughts we had while visiting:
-If you are able to, walk the trail upon arrival instead of taking a tram to the falls. It is a short distance to walk, will save you a little money, and you won’t be waiting for what seems like hours for the tram to come by.
-Unless you’re just looking for exercise we didn’t feel like the trek up the the 224 steps was worth it because we had visited many other beautiful hiking trails. Plus the view from the bottom (as seen below) was the most pretty part of Seven Falls!
-Make sure to wear appropriate footwear! Hiking shoes tennis shoes with good traction are highly recommended.
-Check out this hiking map for assistance in planning your visit.
Location: 6 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs
Cost: $14 per person; have to take a free shuttle from parking lot.
Manitou Incline: A once used railroad track now converted to a 2,744 step one mile hike with an average of a 41% incline (68% at it’s highest) and 2,000ft of elevation change. You’ll be gasping for air once you finally reach the top!
Trail Rating: Difficult
Check out this site for more information, if you dare!
Paint Mines Interpretive Park: A 750 acre geological park composed of what is thought to be the painted clay formations of Native Americans from over 9,000 years ago. Not only is the appearance interesting, it is also home to many different ecosystems such as the badlands, wetlands, and the prairie. It is truly a hidden gem in Colorado!
Address: 29950 Paint Mines Road, Calhan
Click here for a map of the park.
–Over Easy: Power up at Over Easy for a delicious made from scratch breakfast and build your own Bloody Mary bar!
Location: 28A S. Tejon St.
Hours: Sunday-Saturday: 7am-2pm
Location: 1665 N. Newport Rd.
Hours: Sunday-Saturday: 11am-9pm (reservations recommended to eat on the plane)
–Nosh: Eclectic Asian fare with a semi-Latin twist.
Location: 121 South Tejon Street (free parking in the underground Plaza of the Rockies parking garage)
Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday: 11am-3pm, Happy Hours: Monday-Friday: 3pm-6pm Dinner: Monday-Thursday: 5pm-9pm, Friday-Saturday: 5pm-10pm
–Paravicini’s: Italian in Old Colorado City voted best Italian in Colorado Springs and featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
Location: 2802 W Colorado Ave, Colorado Springs
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 11am-9pm, Friday-Saturday: 11am-10pm (reservations recommended)
–Pizzeria Rustica: located in a historic 1889 building in Old Colorado City, Pizzeria Rustica offers handmade wood-fired pizzas and a large selection of other menu items.
Location: 2527 W Colorado Ave.
Hours: Monday: 5pm-9pm, Tuesday-Sunday: 12pm-9pm (reservations recommended)
–Amanda’s Fonda: Local Mexican restaurant with terrific food and margaritas.
Location: 8050 N Academy Blvd., Colorado Springs
Hours: Sunday: 10am-9pm, Monday-Thursday: 11am-9pm, Friday & Saturday: 11am-10pm
–Amy’s Donuts: Just imagine your favorite candy bars in donut form! That’s what Amy’s Donuts is capable of.
Location: 2704 E Fountain Blvd, Colorado Springs
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 4am-7pm, Friday & Saturday: 24 hours
While we had a short time in Colorado Springs we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. What did we miss that you would recommend?
Logan & Kallsy
Pages of Travel
(Please note: we were not able to visit all of the restaurants listed above. Some options listed came highly recommended by others and locals.)