Colorado Springs, CO – Things To Do & See

07/02/2019 | by Michelle Reynolds | Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is the second most populated city in the state, with around 420,000 people. It sits near the base of Pikes Peak, one of America’s most iconic mountains. The town is located about an hour south of Denver.

The Springs is a big city with a small town feel. It’s often rated as one of the country’s best cities to live in. The downtown area is lined with all types of shopping, dining, entertainment and history.


The city was founded in 1871 by General William Palmer, a Civil War General and a surveyor with the Kansas Pacific Railroad. He was responsible for selecting possible railroad routes south of Denver to be strategically occupied. The stunning mountain scenery and nearby Garden of the Gods made the Pikes Peak area perfect. His intention was to create an upscale resort community along the railroad.

Colorado Springs is situated in the Pikes Peak region. The place was named after the American explorer Zebulon Pike after his group attempted to reach the Pikes Peak summit. Unfortunately, they were not able to cross the mountain because of insufficient materials and gears. Nonetheless, the region has become a lively town because of its natural resources. It has then become a settlement for miners in the region and the Denver area.

Later on, in the 1890s, gold was discovered in the area. Almost overnight, the town has transformed from a cattle pasture, minor settlement area, to home of 50,000 people. Because of the success of the gold rush, the city was dubbed “the city of millionaires.”

As the local economy grew, the next step for the town was to connect to other cities. Spencer Penrose, one of the millionaires and former owner of a couple of the houses and inns in this list, invested in building Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain Highways. As to date, their foundation, El Pomar Foundation, still supports different causes that promote the Pikes Peak area.

It was not until the late 1940s when the town has been redefined, yet again. The United States Air Force Academy was established in the area, and the military base has been the central industry in the region. At present, there are multiple U.S. military installations in Colorado Springs including NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), Schriever Air Force Base and the Peterson Air Force Base.

Main Attractions

Air Force Academy – The giant campus is situated at the base of the Rocky Mountains and can be seen from I-70, north of town. You can take self guided tours of the academy, daily from 9am to 5pm.

Broadmoor Hotel – A sprawling, five star hotel with numerous first-class restaurants, golf courses and spas. It’s centered around Cheyenne Lake. It originally opened in 1891 as a gambling casino and was transformed into a world-class hotel & resort in 1918.

Olympic Training Center – Home to current Olympians, the campus is able to provide housing, dining and training facilities for more than 500 athletes and coaches. The 35 acre complex is located within minutes from downtown. Guided tours are available year round.



  • Cheyenne Mountain offers 51 full hook-up RV sites and 10 walk-in tent sites. It’s open year round.


Special Events

Feb – CSCCI Chinese New Year Festival – Annual celebration of the Chinese New Year and the twelve animal zodiacs, held in early February.

Jul – Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo – Historic four day championship rodeo event held annually since 1950 in mid July.

Jul – Springs Beer Fest – Afternoon of craft beer, food vendors and live music in America The Beautiful Park, held in mid July.

Aug – Steers and Beers Whiskey and Beer Festival – Annual summer Saturday of whiskey and craft beer since 2016, held in mid August.

Nov – All Colorado Beer Festival – Mid fall festival celebrating Colorado’s mission to be the best beer making state in the nation. Some proceeds go to charity.

Are You Ready To Climb The Manitou Incline?

05/10/2019 | by Michelle Reynolds | Manitou Incline

The Manitou Incline Trail features 2,744 steps and 2,000 feet of elevation gain in just over a mile. (Joshua Berman, Special to The Denver Post)

The Manitou Incline has been hailed as the holy grail of cardio for locals and athletes, alike.  The once railroad track now consists of approximately 2,744 steps made entirely of railroad ties! Although it’s only one mile in length, the ascension averages a 41% incline (68% at its highest) and a 2,000 foot climb in elevation! Phew! That’s a lot of stairs! That’s even more than the Empire State Building! Needless to say, this hike isn’t for the faint of heart, or heights. The Manitou Incline is considered one of the highest sets of stairs in the world! This trail is rated Extreme. So, if you think you have what it takes to conquer it, here are a few tips to surviving the Manitou Incline.

  1.  Pace Yourself – Slow and steady is the name of the game. Start at a pace that feels almost silly, it’s so slow. You’ll see others sprinting ahead of you but don’t be discouraged! Remember the tortoise and the hare? Keeping a slow pace will keep you from burning out too fast.
  2. Hydrate – You’ll be sweating…a lot. It’s important to stay hydrated while on the Manitou Incline. You must have water with you. Pace your drinking and try to make it last the entire hike.
  3. Breathe – You’re ascending a mountain, climbing 2,000 feet in elevation and exerting yourself on an expert level. Monitor your breathing the entire time. Not only will this keep your oxygen intake regulated, it’ll help keep a rhythm and distract you from the fact that your legs could give out at any moment.
  4. Take A Break…Or Two…Or Three – Don’t be afraid to stop and catch your breath every once in awhile! The majority of climbers stop a couple of times on their way up. When stopping, try not to sit all the way down. Lean if you have to. This way, you can make sure your heart rate doesn’t go back to resting. You want to be able to catch your breath without completely losing your momentum. While you’re resting, don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the view!
  5. Beware Of The False Summit – There will come a point when you near the top… well, what looks like the top. From the bottom of the trail, the highest point you can see is referred to as “the false summit”. Unfortunately, you still have about 300 steps to go after this point. The good news is you’re very very close to the end and once you’ve reached this summit, the most challenging and dangerous stretch is over!
  6. Take The Barr Trail Back Down – You’ve finally done it! Take a moment to soak in all the awesomeness that is your grand accomplishment! You just tackled a mountain, after all! Take photos, enjoy the view, even sit for a minute.Now it’s time to get down. Do NOT go back down the way you came. The path down is peppered with spikes, uneven steps and wobbly and loose blocks. Not only that, but it is much harder on your body, especially your knees, to go down at the angle.Instead, take the Barr Trail down. This beautiful trail will feel like a piece of cake after what you just accomplished. Plus, after about half an hour down the trail, the downhill slope will be challenging enough on your legs.
    • You can park at Iron Springs Melodrama for just $10.
    • Hours are from dawn to dusk daily
    • Take time to look around and appreciate the beauty of what’s around you! Soak it all in… You’ll be surprised by some of the things you may come across.
    • People are uncommonly kind on the Incline. Everyone who attempts the climb automatically joins an elite group of adventurers heading towards a mutual goal. Don’t be surprised by words of encouragement and don’t be afraid to pay it forward!

Terror-Dactyl Ride is Colorado’s Ultimate Adrenaline Rush!

04/30/2019 | by Michelle Reynolds | Cave Of The Winds

Thrill-seekers are known for traveling across the globe to find their next big adrenaline rush, but you don’t have to go far to feel like you’re sitting on the edge of the world. There’s a ride in Colorado that promises to have you “laughing and praying for your life at the same time,” and by the looks of it — and the faces of the riders — this ride delivers.

The Terror-Dactyl ride at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park in Manitou Springs, Colo., isn’t for the faint of heart, as brave riders will embark on an epic 200-foot free-fall drop into Williams Canyon. You’ll be hoisted up 200 feet on the edge of a cliff before being released to swing back and forth over the canyon floor at nearly 100 miles per hour.

But don’t let the name scare you away. While this crazy canyon swing may take a bit of courage, and plenty of G-forces, it gives you a whole new way to take in the Colorado scenery. Cave of the Winds is just outside Colorado Springs, the second-largest city in the state with an abundance of natural wonders in the area, making it a great place to catch a once-in-a-lifetime view.

The Terror-Dactyl is one of three outdoor activities at Cave of the Winds. While it’s the most extreme of the three, you can still get your adrenaline pumping on a 1,200-foot flight across Williams Canyon on the Bat-a-Pult or test your limits on the 3-story Wind Walker Challenge Course complete with a maze of beams, ropes, and ladders. In addition, the park offers three types of tours into the Manitou Grand Caverns.

From May 24th through September 2nd you can experience the Terror-Dactyl Pass at a discounted price! Choose either the Early Riser or the Happy Hour. Early Riser and Happy Hour tickets must be purchased online.

Early Riser & Happy Hour Terror-Dactyl Price: Per Rider . . . $40

Terror-Dactyl Website

Discover Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Renowned Giraffe Herd

04/23/2019 | by Michelle Reynolds | Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is about sharing the wonders of the natural world with kids of all ages and providing memories for a lifetime. Here, you do more than just look. Named 4th-Best Zoo in North America by USAToday’s 10Best, you’ll get to explore newly renovated and award-winning exhibits. Discover more than 30 species of endangered animals. Interact with our giraffes and don’t miss the chance to hand-feed them! Soar over your favorite animal exhibits and take in breathtaking views of the city below on the Mountaineer Sky Ride. We look forward to providing you an experience of a lifetime with your visit to America’s only mountain zoo!

Fun Things to Do

Best Place for Family Fun.

While your visiting Colorado Springs on vacation or just looking for family adventures, a day at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is like no other!

  • Hop aboard a captivating historic carousel,
  • take the chairlift-style Sky Ride with soaring views above the Zoo,
  • visit our walk-through aviary in Australia, where budgies and other birds will eat right from your hand,
  • hand-feed the largest giraffe herd at any zoo in the African Rift Valley,
  • stop by The Loft, where you can bring your curiosities and get hands-on with Zoo animals and learn what it’s like to work with wildlife!

Let us take you wherever your imagination roams:

Visit 365 days a year for family fun. Find out about tickets, hours and directions.

View All City Nights Rentals

Discover Woodland Park: City Above The Clouds

04/15/2019 | by Michelle Reynolds | Vacation Rentals

ust 18 miles west of Colorado Springs in Teller County, experience the history, adventure and beauty of the Rocky Mountains. The natural surroundings include spectacular views of Pikes Peak and the Rampart Range. Thick stands of spruce, pine and aspen, and deep blue skies with fresh air. Today with over 7,500 residents, Woodland Park, CO is a flourishing community of people who demand a high quality of life. Tourism continues to fuel the economy, often turning first-time visitors into lifelong residents.

Enjoy comfortable summers and mild winters. With over 300 days of sunshine, the region is ideal for year-around outdoor adventures. Surrounded by unspoiled wilderness, nestled among one million acres of Pike National Forest, bathed in sunshine at the base of Pikes Peak, is a pristine mountain community like no other. A recreational and scenic treasure. A small town with charm and friendliness. It’s your perfect mountain hideaway… it’s Woodland Park.

View Pine Bluff Suite in Woodland Park.

Shop And Chill In Old Colorado City

03/20/2019 | by Michelle Reynolds | Old Colorado City

Unwind from the excitement for a bit.

You’ve got more to do in the days ahead, so we suggest you take the rest of the afternoon off for a little chill time. Stroll through Old Colorado City and check out the shops and bars. We suggest a scoop at Colorado City Creamery, but don’t spoil your appetite for dinner.

Old Colorado City is the perfect blend of historic character, small-town charm and all the fun and excitement visitors have come to expect from a top Colorado destination. Once slated to become the capital of Colorado, this historic town has grown a lot from its Wild West roots — without losing the unique roots that make it so special.

In Old Colorado City, eclectic boutiques, award winning restaurants, and charming local art galleries offer hours of entertainment, perfect for strolling the day away down beautiful, tree-line streets. At night, the pubs and restaurants become hubs for live music and performances as well as some of the country’s best beer, wine and spirits — all made right here at home.

Your visit begins when you park in any one of the three conveniently located free parking lots. Then it’s simply a matter of choosing which way you want to go or what you’d love to do. Want to find that quintessentially Colorado souvenir? The perfect dress for an evening out? An inspired sculpture or painting for your home? All of that is right here, tucked between restaurants, candy shops and ice cream shops offering an unparalleled variety of cuisine that’s sure to please anyone in your group, from the picky eater to the consummate foodie.

If all that isn’t enough to get you out and about, Old Colorado City is also home to some of the Pikes Peak region’s most-loved events, including the three-day Territory Days street fair, which offers attendees live music, kid-friendly fun, local vendors and tasty street food fare. There’s also the whimsical Alice in Wonderland-themed Mad Hatter Day and the deliciously fun Taste of OCC food and spirit tasting. Oh, and Scarecrow Days, the Great Pumpkin Festival, food and wine tours …See the list here.

You really never run out of fun reasons to visit Old Colorado City and there is certainly no shortage of things to do when you get here. Come by and see how we’ve grown from a Wild West frontier town to one of the premier Colorado destinations for shopping, dining and fun.

Top 5 Reasons To Drive Pikes Peak

03/06/2019 | by Michelle Reynolds | Pikes Peak

The state of Colorado has a whopping 53 fourteeners, but our favorite (yes, we’re biased) is absolutely Pikes Peak, which sits like a gorgeous crown upon the panorama of our royally awesome region. There are many ways to reach the summit, like hiking via Barr Trail or riding the Cog Railway (and some people even run up it), but we’re rather fond of a different route, the Pikes Peak Highway. Why? Check out the top five reasons we like to take the high road!


One of the best parts of driving the Pikes Peak Highway is the freedom you have to stop on your own time and check out all the sights, especially the changing landscape. Starting in the Foothills Zone, the highway takes you on a steady climb through four of Colorado’s six life zones, allowing you experience the plants, animals and climate of each at various pull-outs along the way. In the Montane Zone, you’ll meet a lot of deer and, in the summer, see an enormous variety of wildflowers. You may even see a bear or mountain lion. Hopefully, from afar. Far afar. Up in the Sub Alpine Zone, you’ll see the trees and plants start to change as they adapt to low water and harsh altitudes. The final zone, the Alpine Zone, is where tree line stops and the plants get short and sparse. The most unique animals you may spot there are the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, which sometimes like to wander across the highway, much to the delight of drivers. Maybe you’ll be one of them.


Just a few miles past the tollgate lies the North Slope Recreation Area, a pristine outdoor space home to Crystal Creek Reservoir, South Catamount Reservoir and North Catamount Reservoir. The waters are calm and unmarred by gas-powered, motorized boating, allowing you to fish peacefully from the shore or in canoes, row boats and belly boats. All manner of trout can be found in the lake, including rainbow, cutthroat and brook. At Crystal Creek and South Catamount, you can fish with bait (no minnows); at North Catamount, you can use flies and lures. During the summer, the recreation area opens at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m., which means you can get a few hours of great fishing in before or after heading up to the summit. You’re allowed to take home four fish, which leaves plenty of room for lying about the bigger ones that “got away”. Don’t forget your fishing license!


As we’ve mentioned, you can hike up Pikes Peak on foot using Barr Trail — but there are also many other trails to be found along the Pikes Peak Highway that offer much shorter jaunts. They range in distance from two to five miles and the trailheads can be found at various pull-outs on the drive to the summit. It’s important to remember that the higher on the mountain you are, the more challenging the terrain. Trails around the North Slope Recreational Area and below are probably best for beginner-to-moderate hikers, while trails above the tree line are more suitable for those with experience. No matter the trail you chose, you will witness incredible Colorado views. Make sure you bring water and dress appropriately. One other tip? Hiking trails that start on a downhill always return uphill. What feels easy going down is definitely not so fabulous going back up, so plan for that as you hike.


At the same recreation area where you can fish and hike the day away, you’ll also find another unexpected treat — several miles of mountain biking trails. Park in the North or South Catamount Reservoir lots and discover logging roads, single track trails and gravel roadways. You’ll even be able to ride right alongside the South Catamount Reservoir, which makes for an amazing experience. Some of the trails are multi-use, so be sure to watch for hikers. And because the area is still untamed, even with all the visitors, you’ll want to watch for wildlife crossing your path, too. You don’t want to be that cyclist with the deer collision video on YouTube. The best part? After a few hours of riding, you can drive up the rest of the way to the summit and reward your massive calorie burning with some of the tastiest donuts in existence. Speaking of donuts …


Donuts have been served on the Pikes Peak summit for over 100 years, which is why we think their choice to call them “world famous” is well-earned. That and their appearance on the Food Network. The bakers have to use a special formula to accommodate the 14,115-foot elevation, but we’re pretty sure that’s part of the yummy goodness. Or maybe it’s that you can score them for a $1. Good deals always taste better, right? While you’re munching your sugary ring of carbs, you’ll be treated to views that feel like they extend to the edge of the earth, although it’s been said in community lore that you can “only” see five states. We suggest taking tons of photos. After all, you’ve technically summited a 14er!

There are many ways to reach the summit, but driving gives you the most freedom to truly explore all that Pikes Peak has to offer. Gather up your favorite folks and hit the Pikes Peak highway for an unforgettable journey.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience.
By using this site, you agree to all cookies in accordance with ourCookie Policy