Colorado Springs, Colorado is perhaps one of the most beautiful places on the planet. To the west are the towering peaks of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, with Pikes Peak towering over the town at almost 3 miles above sea level. If you get a chance to travel here, be sure and get a room with a view of Pikes Peak or get to a place before sunrise where you can view it. Watching the first rays of sunlight top the highest reaches of this ominous mountain is nothing short of spectacular. Some say it’s akin to a spiritual awakening each morning on the mountain. While it is magnificent and beautiful, Pikes Peak isn’t the only thing to see in Colorado Springs.
Mountain Arts Community of Manitou Springs is Right Next Door
There are so many things to see in and around Manitou Springs that it’s ahed to know where to start. I have spent many days and weeks here over the past 30 years and have seen the town grow from a little hidden mountain town into the a real must-visit destination for millions of tourists each year. This town at the foot of Pikes Peak is home several nationally famous historic restaurants, art galleries, antique shops, quite a few one-of-a-kind Victorian style bed & breakfast inns, and a fine art scene that rivals that found in many major metropolitan cities. One must experience this town in order to appreciate it fully. Bring warm clothing as the high altitude can make even August nights chilly at times.
Don’t Miss the United States Air Force Academy
Starting out at the Barry Goldwater Visitor Center, hundreds of thousands of tourists begin the tour of this amazing and awe-inspiring campus. In this visitor center is a 250-seat movie theater which runs a 14-minute movie throughout the day which highlights the AirForce Academy experience. There is also a one-third mile paved pathway that leads up to the Cadet Chapel, a beautiful and colorful masterpiece of modern architecture. The walk is a bit strenuous due to the many steep grades and hills along the way. If you’re from the flatlands, you need to remember that the high altitude is going to be a factor in any physical activity. There is a gift shop and several hiking trails around the campus are open to the public from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.
There’s a Good Reason it’s Called “Garden of the Gods”
Unique rock formations and red sandstone pillars of stone rising up from all over this unusual geologic area make this a truly magical place. Surrounded by the typically gorgeous Colorado scenery, Garden of the Gods a strikingly impressive place of beauty and natural splendor. Visitors to this timeless place refer to it as “beyond beautiful,” and a “tranquil oasis.” The park covers about 1400 acres and includes easy trails for family hiking. Most of the sandstone rock formations have been smoothed by time and make for easy climbing, even for younger kids.
I grew up among the high mountains of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and Denver so I may be a bit partial when it comes to describing travel in this area. I have lived out-of-state now for about 25 years and I still feel the pull on my spirit to return to this wonderful place several times each year. Colorado is a state of great extremes; extreme beauty, extreme weather conditions, and extreme passion. I can guarantee that if you travel to most parts of Colorado at any time of year, your spirit will be seduced and captured by this wonderful “colored red” country first explored by the Spanish in the 16th century.
10 Best Things to do in Colorado Springs
Historic Manitou Springs
U.S. Air Force Academy
Garden of the Gods