5 Best Day Trips from Colorado Springs
A true nature lover’s paradise thanks to its gorgeously pristine Alpine surroundings, Colorado Springs has been a destination resort for decades.
As a result, it has grown into the state’s second largest city, boasting nationally renowned museums, universities and a rapidly developing restaurant scene.
This, combined with the cache of natural attractions on offer in the surrounding region, make Colorado Springs an irresistible destination for the domestic and foreign traveller alike.
1. Garden of the Gods
Aptly named because of the majestically towering sandstone formations, spires, and stacks dotted throughout this diverse pocket of landscapes.
The fascinating combination of grassland, woodland and alpine mountain forest makes for one of the most intriguing parks in the country, with an array of activities on offer.
From hiking and horseback riding to simply finding a picturesque spot to enjoy the incredible views, the Garden of the Gods has something for everybody and is actually registered as a National Natural Landmark.
2. Royal Gorge
Not for those with an aversion to heights, this day trip will see you suspended high above the breath taking sandstone chasm known as Royal Gorge.
Home to the highest bridge in the United States, as well as a swing, zip line and gondola, there are endless ways to experience the dizzying heights and incredible views of the gorge.
If you’d like to check it out from the base, you can ride a train along the railroad snaking its way alongside the Arkansas River Valley, or even raft along the river itself.
Be sure to book both excursions in advance to ensure a place, as seasonal periods can get busy.
3. Paint Mines Interpretive Park
The surrealist landscapes of the Paint Mines Interpretive Park make for an aesthetically fascinating day trip for those looking to escape to a novel and unique slice of nature not far from Colorado Springs.
The colorful clay has formed multi-coloured rocks that range from purple to beige and yellow, and was in fact used for early Native American ceramics as well as more contemporary locally-crafted pottery.
The archaeological attraction isn’t the only thing to be found in this Colorado Badlands-type region; there are also various hiking trails that are easily accessible for all skill levels, taking you up into the wooded areas flanking the famous rocks.
5. Pikes Peak Highway
Less than half an hour from the neighbourhoods of Colorado Springs is the entrance to the Pikes Peak Highway – a looping three-hour road that will take you all the way to the top of Pikes Peak: an impossibly scenic 14,000-foot mountain that epitomises the alpine beauty of Colorado mountain ranges.
With numerous stop off points perfect for picnics and hikes, the highway is just as popular with locals as it is with visitors.
Be sure to stop off at the Pikes Peak Summit House to try the world-famous donuts, known for being the only donuts to be made at this altitude and possessing a unique texture as a result.