A former mining town in the Colorado Rockies, Colorado Springs is known for its natural surroundings and spectacular views. From the Great Plains to Pikes Peak and Red Rock Canyon, the diverse terrain provides endless activities for outdoor lovers. You can also re-live the city’s history and Wild West persona through museums, gold panning and penny-based gaming.
Things to do
Start with a romp through Old Colorado Historic District, which was founded in 1859 and harbours a collection of historic structures. You’ll find old-fashioned mom-and-pop stores, cafes and art galleries occupying former gold-rush buildings. Stop by the Western Museum of Mining & History to see original mineral-extraction machines and to try panning for gold.
Delve into nature with a hike through Pikes Peak, which towers above Colorado Springs at about 2.4 kilometres high. Known as “America’s Mountain” for inspiring the lyrics of the patriotic song “America the Beautiful”, the mountain offers stunning vistas when riding Pikes Peak Cog Railway or driving the twisting Pikes Peak Highway.
Don’t miss seeing Garden of the Gods, a collection of intricate red-rock formations carved by nature. You can discover the geology and history of the region at the Nature Center, then explore the park by foot, horseback or rented bicycle.
Aviation aficionados can gather at the U.S. Air Force Academy for self-guided tours of the institution, Cadet Chapel, the Honor Court and Falcon Stadium. Save a few hours in the afternoon for exploring Manitou Springs, a National Historic District with bohemian-style art galleries, earthy cafes, eclectic boutiques and antique game machines that still cost a penny.
You can rent a car in the downtown area or at Colorado Springs Airport, about 17 kilometres away. Walking, cycling, buses and taxicabs offer plenty of transportation options.