Nestled at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers alike. With its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture, there’s no shortage of amazing activities to experience. Whether you're hiking the scenic trails, exploring historic sites, or immersing yourself in the local arts scene, Colorado Springs offers something for everyone. From the breathtaking formations at Garden of the Gods to the awe-inspiring views atop Pikes Peak, the city is filled with opportunities for adventure and discovery. Here are the top 10 things to do in Colorado Springs that you won’t want to miss.

1. Garden of the Gods

Why You Should Go: Garden of the Gods is a natural landmark that boasts towering red rock formations set against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks. This stunning park offers 15 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

Garden of the Gods is a testament to nature's grandeur, where awe-inspiring red rock formations meet expansive blue skies. Located in Colorado Springs, this 1,367-acre park is a geological wonder, attracting visitors from around the world. The park's iconic sandstone formations, some towering over 300 feet, were created millions of years ago and have been sculpted by the forces of erosion. The dramatic landscape, set against the stunning backdrop of Pikes Peak, offers endless opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration.

Highlights:

  • Perkins Central Garden Trail: This is the park’s most popular trail, offering a 1.5-mile paved loop that winds through the heart of the rock formations. It's perfect for a leisurely stroll and is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. The trail provides close-up views of some of the park's most famous formations, including the Kissing Camels and Sentinel Spires.
  • Rock Climbing: Garden of the Gods is a premier destination for rock climbing, attracting climbers of all skill levels. The park offers numerous climbing routes, with varying degrees of difficulty. Climbers must obtain a free annual permit and adhere to park regulations to preserve the natural beauty and ensure safety.
  • Visitor and Nature Center: Before heading into the park, stop by the Visitor and Nature Center. The center features interactive exhibits about the geology, ecology, and cultural history of the area. It’s a great place to learn about the park’s unique features and plan your visit. Don’t miss the theater’s 20-minute movie, "How Did Those Red Rocks Get There?" which provides a fascinating overview of the park’s geological history.
  • Guided Tours: Enhance your visit with a guided tour. The park offers a variety of options, including nature walks led by knowledgeable naturalists and Segway tours for a unique and fun way to explore. Jeep tours are also available, providing an off-road adventure through the park’s rugged terrain.
  • Photographic Opportunities: Garden of the Gods is a paradise for photographers. The dramatic contrast of the red rocks against the blue sky, especially at sunrise or sunset, creates stunning images. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the beauty of this natural wonder.
  • Picnicking: Enjoy a meal amidst the natural beauty of the park. There are several picnic areas with tables and grills, offering a perfect spot to relax and take in the views. The Scotsman Picnic Area and the South Spring Canyon Picnic Area are particularly scenic.

Whether you're hiking, climbing, or simply enjoying the view, Garden of the Gods offers a memorable experience for visitors of all ages. Its stunning scenery and diverse recreational opportunities make it a must-visit destination in Colorado Springs.

2. Pikes Peak

Why You Should Go: Known as "America's Mountain," Pikes Peak is one of the most famous peaks in the United States. At 14,115 feet, the summit offers breathtaking views and a variety of ways to reach the top.

Pikes Peak, the inspiration behind the song "America the Beautiful," stands as one of Colorado’s most iconic landmarks. Rising to 14,115 feet, it’s one of Colorado’s famous "Fourteeners," and its summit offers panoramic views that extend for miles. This majestic peak attracts outdoor enthusiasts, sightseers, and adventure seekers alike, providing multiple ways to experience its grandeur.

Highlights:

  • Pikes Peak Highway: This scenic toll road winds its way 19 miles up the mountain, offering breathtaking vistas at every turn. The drive is an adventure in itself, with numerous pull-offs where you can stop to take photos, enjoy a picnic, or simply admire the view. At the summit, you'll find a visitor center with a cafĂ©, gift shop, and interpretive exhibits. Be sure to sample the famous high-altitude donuts, a unique treat only available at the top.
  • Pikes Peak Cog Railway: For a more relaxed ascent, take a ride on the world’s highest cog railway. This historic train journey, recently refurbished, takes you on a 3.5-hour round trip to the summit. The train winds through stunning scenery, including forests, rock formations, and alpine tundra, providing a comfortable and scenic way to reach the top. The narrated journey offers insights into the mountain’s history, geology, and wildlife, enhancing the overall experience.
  • Barr Trail: For those seeking a physical challenge, the Barr Trail offers a demanding hike to the summit. This 13-mile trail starts in Manitou Springs and climbs over 7,400 feet in elevation. The hike is strenuous and requires good physical conditioning, but the sense of accomplishment and the incredible views make it worthwhile. Many hikers choose to make the journey over two days, camping overnight at Barr Camp, a rustic shelter halfway up the mountain.
  • Summit House: At the top of Pikes Peak, the newly constructed Summit House offers stunning panoramic views and amenities to enhance your visit. The center features interpretive exhibits about the peak’s history, ecology, and significance. Large viewing platforms provide unobstructed views of the surrounding landscape, and the cafĂ© offers refreshments, including the aforementioned donuts.
  • Flora and Fauna: Pikes Peak is home to diverse ecosystems that change with elevation. Lower slopes are covered in dense forests of pine and aspen, giving way to alpine meadows and tundra at higher elevations. Wildlife sightings are common and include mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and marmots.

Whether you drive, ride, or hike to the top, Pikes Peak offers an unforgettable experience. The views from the summit, the journey up the mountain, and the sense of being on top of the world make Pikes Peak a must-visit destination in Colorado Springs.

3. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Why You Should Go: As the only mountain zoo in the U.S., Cheyenne Mountain Zoo offers a unique experience with over 800 animals and breathtaking views of the city.

Nestled on the side of Cheyenne Mountain, this zoo provides an extraordinary blend of wildlife encounters and spectacular scenery. It’s renowned for its efforts in conservation and animal care, offering visitors a chance to see a wide variety of species in beautifully designed habitats that mimic their natural environments.

Highlights:

  • African Rift Valley: One of the most popular exhibits at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the African Rift Valley is home to a large herd of giraffes. Visitors can feed these gentle giants from a specially designed platform, getting up close and personal with one of the largest giraffe herds in the country. The exhibit also features African elephants, lions, and meerkats, providing a comprehensive view of African wildlife.
  • Mountaineer Sky Ride: This open-air chairlift offers an aerial tour of the zoo and the surrounding landscape. The ride provides stunning views of Colorado Springs and the plains beyond, making it a must-do for visitors seeking a unique perspective. The Sky Ride is a relaxing and scenic way to see the zoo from above and appreciate the beauty of the mountain setting.
  • Australia Walkabout: This immersive exhibit transports visitors to the Australian outback. Walk among kangaroos and wallabies, and see emus and other native Australian species. The walkabout design allows for close encounters and interactive experiences with the animals, making it a favorite among families and animal lovers.
  • Rocky Mountain Wild: This exhibit showcases the wildlife of the Rocky Mountains, including grizzly bears, mountain lions, and moose. The habitats are designed to reflect the rugged beauty of the region, and visitors can learn about the conservation efforts in place to protect these iconic species. The exhibit also features a waterfall and a river habitat, adding to the scenic appeal.
  • Scutes Family Gallery: A favorite among children, this interactive exhibit focuses on reptiles and amphibians. It features a variety of species, from colorful frogs to giant tortoises, and offers educational displays about their biology and conservation.
  • Monkey Pavilion: This lively exhibit houses a variety of primates, including lemurs, tamarins, and gibbons. Visitors can observe these playful animals in action and learn about their behaviors and habitats through engaging displays.

Additional Activities:

  • Animal Encounters: Throughout the day, the zoo offers various animal encounters and feedings, providing opportunities to learn about the animals from knowledgeable keepers. These interactive sessions are both educational and entertaining, offering deeper insights into the lives of the zoo’s inhabitants.
  • Conservation Carousel: The carousel features hand-carved wooden animals and is a hit with kids. Proceeds from the carousel support the zoo’s conservation efforts, making it a fun activity with a purpose.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo offers a unique and enriching experience for visitors of all ages. With its diverse array of animals, beautiful mountain setting, and commitment to conservation, it’s a must-visit destination in Colorado Springs.

4. Manitou Springs

Why You Should Go: This charming town at the base of Pikes Peak is known for its natural mineral springs, vibrant arts scene, and historic architecture.

Manitou Springs, nestled at the foot of Pikes Peak, is a picturesque town renowned for its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and historical charm. The town's mineral springs have been attracting visitors for centuries, believed to possess healing properties and providing a refreshing taste of the area's rich geological history. Whether you're looking to relax and rejuvenate or explore the vibrant local scene, Manitou Springs offers something for everyone.

Highlights:

  • Mineral Springs Tour: One of the most unique features of Manitou Springs is its natural mineral springs. There are eight springs scattered throughout the town, each with its own distinct flavor and mineral composition. You can take a self-guided tour using the map available at the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce, or join a guided tour to learn more about the springs’ history and health benefits. Don’t forget to bring a water bottle to sample the different springs along the way.
  • Historic Downtown: Manitou Springs' historic downtown area is a charming blend of old-world architecture and modern amenities. Stroll along the streets lined with Victorian-era buildings, many of which now house boutique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes. The vibrant arts scene is evident in the numerous galleries showcasing works by local artists, and you can often find live music and performances in the local parks and venues.
  • Manitou Cliff Dwellings: Just a short drive from downtown, the Manitou Cliff Dwellings offer a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Ancestral Puebloans who inhabited the region over 800 years ago. These preserved cliff dwellings allow visitors to explore the ancient homes, climb ladders, and walk through rooms carved into the sandstone cliffs. The site also includes a museum with exhibits on Native American culture and history.
  • Iron Springs Chateau Melodrama Theatre: For a fun and entertaining evening, visit the Iron Springs Chateau, where you can enjoy a traditional melodrama performance complete with audience participation, hilarious antics, and classic booing and cheering. The theatre also offers a delicious dinner menu, making it a perfect night out for families and groups.
  • Pikes Peak Cog Railway: Manitou Springs is the departure point for the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which takes passengers on a scenic journey to the summit of Pikes Peak. The railway, recently renovated, provides a comfortable and unique way to experience the stunning views and changing landscapes as you ascend the mountain.

Additional Highlights:

  • Miramont Castle Museum: This historic castle, built in 1895, offers a fascinating look at the eclectic architecture and opulent lifestyle of the period. The museum features 30 rooms filled with period furnishings, Victorian art, and exhibits on the history of Manitou Springs.
  • Manitou Springs Penny Arcade: Step back in time at this nostalgic arcade, featuring hundreds of vintage pinball machines, video games, and mechanical amusements. The arcade offers fun for all ages, and many games still cost just a penny to play.
  • Hiking and Outdoor Activities: Manitou Springs is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Popular nearby trails include the Manitou Incline, a challenging climb that rewards hikers with breathtaking views, and the Barr Trail, which leads to the summit of Pikes Peak.

Manitou Springs offers a delightful mix of history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you're exploring the historic downtown, sampling the mineral springs, or embarking on a scenic adventure, this charming town provides a unique and enriching experience for visitors.

5. United States Air Force Academy

Why You Should Go: This prestigious academy is open to visitors and offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of cadets and the history of the Air Force.

The United States Air Force Academy, located just north of Colorado Springs, is one of the most prestigious military institutions in the United States. Established in 1954, the academy trains future leaders of the Air Force, providing a rigorous education that combines academic excellence, physical fitness, and military discipline. Visitors to the academy can explore its impressive grounds, learn about its storied history, and witness the dedication and spirit of the cadets.

Highlights:

  • Cadet Chapel: One of the most iconic buildings in Colorado, the Cadet Chapel is renowned for its striking modernist architecture. Designed by architect Walter Netsch, the chapel features 17 spires that soar 150 feet into the sky. Inside, the multi-faith chapel houses Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Buddhist worship areas, each with stunning stained glass and intricate design. The chapel is currently undergoing renovations but remains a must-see for its architectural brilliance and spiritual significance.
  • Barry Goldwater Visitor Center: Start your visit at the Barry Goldwater Visitor Center, which offers exhibits on the history and mission of the academy. The center features a large theater showing a short film about cadet life, as well as interactive displays and historical artifacts. From here, you can also enjoy panoramic views of the academy grounds and the surrounding mountains.
  • Noon Meal Formation: If your visit coincides with the academic year, try to catch the noon meal formation. This impressive event takes place on the terrazzo, a large open area at the center of the campus. Thousands of cadets march in precise formation to the dining hall, showcasing their discipline and the military traditions upheld at the academy.
  • Falcon Stadium: Home to the Air Force Falcons football team, Falcon Stadium is a must-visit for sports fans. The stadium offers stunning views of the Front Range and provides a thrilling atmosphere on game days. Check the schedule for upcoming games and events to experience the excitement firsthand.
  • Honor Court: Located near the Cadet Chapel, the Honor Court features statues and plaques that commemorate significant events and figures in Air Force history. It's a reflective space that highlights the values of honor, integrity, and service that are central to the academy's mission.

Additional Highlights:

  • Planetarium: The Air Force Academy Planetarium offers public shows that explore the wonders of the universe. With state-of-the-art technology, the planetarium provides an immersive educational experience that's perfect for visitors of all ages.
  • Arnold Hall: This multi-purpose facility includes a theater, ballroom, and meeting rooms. It often hosts public events, performances, and lectures, making it a vibrant part of the academy’s cultural life.
  • Outdoor Activities: The academy’s vast grounds are perfect for hiking, biking, and wildlife watching. Popular trails include the Falcon Trail, which offers a scenic loop around the campus, and the Stanley Canyon Trail, which provides a more challenging hike with rewarding views.

A visit to the United States Air Force Academy is both inspiring and educational. From the awe-inspiring architecture of the Cadet Chapel to the disciplined precision of the noon meal formation, the academy offers a unique glimpse into the lives of future Air Force leaders.

6. The Broadmoor Seven Falls

Why You Should Go: Known as "The Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado," Seven Falls is a series of seven cascading waterfalls set in a stunning box canyon.

The Broadmoor Seven Falls, located in Colorado Springs, is a natural wonder that captivates visitors with its stunning beauty and serene atmosphere. The series of seven cascading waterfalls, set against the dramatic backdrop of a box canyon, offers a unique and picturesque setting. Owned and operated by The Broadmoor, a historic luxury resort, Seven Falls combines natural splendor with top-notch amenities and activities.

Highlights:

  • The Falls: The main attraction, of course, is the series of waterfalls that give the site its name. The seven distinct falls tumble down a height of 181 feet, creating a mesmerizing display of nature's power. Visitors can climb the 224 steps alongside the falls to get close-up views and experience the refreshing mist from the cascading water. The climb is invigorating and provides stunning photo opportunities from various vantage points.
  • In-Mountain Elevator: For those who prefer not to climb the steps, the in-mountain elevator offers an easy alternative to reach the Eagle’s Nest viewing platform. This platform provides panoramic views of the entire waterfall series and the surrounding canyon, making it a perfect spot for photography and relaxation.
  • Eagle’s Nest: Accessible via the in-mountain elevator or a challenging hike, Eagle’s Nest offers breathtaking views of the waterfalls and the canyon. The platform is an excellent place to take in the beauty of Seven Falls and appreciate the natural landscape.
  • Nighttime Illumination: Seven Falls is especially magical at night when the waterfalls are illuminated with colorful lights. The changing hues create a dynamic and enchanting atmosphere, offering a completely different perspective from the daytime experience.

Dining and Entertainment:

  • 1858 Restaurant: Nestled at the base of the falls, this fine dining establishment offers a menu inspired by the flavors of the Old West. The restaurant's rustic charm and stunning views of the falls make it a perfect spot for a memorable meal. Enjoy dishes like Colorado trout and bison chili while soaking in the natural beauty of the surroundings.
  • Soaring Adventure: For thrill-seekers, Seven Falls offers the Soaring Adventure zipline tours. This exhilarating experience includes multiple ziplines that traverse the canyon, offering aerial views of the waterfalls and the surrounding landscape. The tours also include rope bridges and rappelling, providing a comprehensive adventure for those looking to add some excitement to their visit.

Additional Highlights:

  • Hiking Trails: Seven Falls features several hiking trails that cater to different fitness levels and interests. The popular Inspiration Point Trail leads to a stunning overlook with views of the city and the distant plains. Other trails offer more secluded and peaceful experiences, winding through the forest and along the creek.
  • Wildlife Watching: The area around Seven Falls is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, birds, and the occasional bear. Visitors can enjoy spotting these animals in their natural habitat while exploring the trails and scenic areas.

The Broadmoor Seven Falls offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, adventure, and luxury. Whether you're climbing the steps to the top of the falls, enjoying a gourmet meal at 1858 Restaurant, or soaring through the air on a zipline, Seven Falls provides a memorable and enchanting experience for all visitors.

7. Old Colorado City

Why You Should Go: As the original capital of the Colorado Territory, Old Colorado City offers a rich history and a lively shopping and dining district.

Old Colorado City, founded in 1859, is a historic district that has retained its 19th-century charm while evolving into a vibrant hub of culture, shopping, and dining. This charming area, located in the western part of Colorado Springs, was once the capital of the Colorado Territory and played a significant role in the region's early development. Today, it stands as a testament to the past, with its well-preserved architecture and bustling streets inviting visitors to explore its many treasures.

Highlights:

  • Historic Architecture: One of the most striking features of Old Colorado City is its well-preserved Victorian-era architecture. Walking through the streets, you'll find buildings that date back to the late 1800s, offering a glimpse into the past. Many of these historic structures now house modern businesses, creating a unique blend of old and new. Be sure to visit Bancroft Park, where you can see a replica of the original Colorado City cabin and learn more about the area's history through interpretive displays.
  • Shopping: Old Colorado City is a shopper's paradise, with a wide variety of boutiques, galleries, and specialty stores lining the streets. From handmade jewelry and unique clothing to art galleries showcasing local artists, there's something for everyone. Don't miss the opportunity to explore the eclectic mix of shops, each offering a distinct flavor of the area. Whether you're looking for a one-of-a-kind souvenir or a special gift, you're sure to find it here.
  • Dining: The dining scene in Old Colorado City is as diverse as it is delicious. With an array of restaurants, cafes, and bars, you'll find everything from casual eateries to fine dining establishments. Enjoy a meal at a historic saloon, savor gourmet cuisine at an upscale restaurant, or relax with a cup of coffee at a cozy cafe. Many establishments offer outdoor seating, allowing you to soak in the ambiance of this charming district while you dine.
  • Old Colorado City History Center: To delve deeper into the area's rich history, visit the Old Colorado City History Center. Operated by the Old Colorado City Historical Society, the center features exhibits on the founding and development of the town, its role in the Colorado Gold Rush, and the lives of its early residents. The knowledgeable staff and well-curated displays provide an engaging and informative experience for history buffs and curious visitors alike.

Seasonal Events:

  • Territory Days: Held annually over Memorial Day weekend, Territory Days is a lively street festival that celebrates the area's heritage. The event features live music, food vendors, arts and crafts, a petting zoo, and historical reenactments, making it a fun and educational experience for the whole family.
  • First Friday ArtWalk: On the first Friday of each month, Old Colorado City hosts an ArtWalk, where galleries and studios open their doors to showcase the work of local artists. Stroll through the district, meet the artists, and enjoy live music and refreshments as you take in the vibrant arts scene.
  • Farmers' Market: During the summer months, the Old Colorado City Farmers' Market offers fresh produce, handmade goods, and local delicacies. It's a great place to sample the flavors of the region and support local farmers and artisans.

Old Colorado City offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modern amenities. Whether you're exploring its historic architecture, shopping for unique finds, dining at one of its many restaurants, or participating in a seasonal event, Old Colorado City provides a charming and enriching experience for visitors of all ages.

8. Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

Why You Should Go: Housed in a beautiful 1903 courthouse, the museum offers exhibits on the history and culture of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region.

The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is a treasure trove of local history and culture, situated in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs. The museum, housed in the historic El Paso County Courthouse, offers a fascinating journey through the region’s past, from its early Native American inhabitants to its development into a thriving modern city. With its well-curated exhibits, engaging programs, and beautiful setting, the museum provides an enriching experience for visitors of all ages.

Highlights:

  • Historic Building: The museum itself is a piece of history. The 1903 El Paso County Courthouse is an architectural gem, with its grand facade, clock tower, and intricate interior details. The building has been beautifully preserved and restored, providing a stunning backdrop for the museum’s exhibits. As you explore the museum, take time to appreciate the historic architecture and the craftsmanship that went into its construction.
  • Permanent Exhibits: The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum features several permanent exhibits that cover a wide range of topics related to the region’s history. Highlights include:
    • Cultural Crossroads: This exhibit explores the diverse cultures that have shaped the Pikes Peak region, including Native American, Hispanic, and European influences.
    • From Paris to the Plains: Discover the story of Winfield Scott Stratton, a prospector who struck it rich in the Cripple Creek gold fields and used his wealth to benefit the community.
    • Helen Hunt Jackson House: Learn about the life and legacy of author and activist Helen Hunt Jackson, who championed the rights of Native Americans in the 19th century.
    • City of Sunshine: Explore the history of health and wellness in Colorado Springs, once known as a destination for tuberculosis patients seeking the healing effects of the mountain air.
  • Special Exhibits: In addition to its permanent displays, the museum hosts rotating exhibits that delve into various aspects of local history and culture. These exhibits offer fresh perspectives and new insights, making each visit to the museum unique.
  • Starsmore Center for Local History: Located within the museum, the Starsmore Center is a valuable resource for researchers and genealogists. The center houses a vast collection of historical documents, photographs, maps, and other materials that provide a deeper understanding of the region’s past. Visitors can access these resources for personal research or to learn more about their own family history.
  • Educational Programs and Events: The museum offers a variety of programs and events designed to engage and educate visitors of all ages. These include guided tours, lectures, workshops, and hands-on activities for children. The museum’s staff and volunteers are passionate about sharing their knowledge and bringing history to life in engaging and interactive ways.

Additional Highlights:

  • Museum Gardens: Surrounding the museum are beautifully landscaped gardens that provide a tranquil setting for reflection and relaxation. The gardens feature a variety of plants, flowers, and sculptures, creating a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.
  • Gift Shop: Before you leave, be sure to visit the museum’s gift shop, which offers a selection of books, souvenirs, and locally made products. It’s a great place to find unique gifts and mementos of your visit.

The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum offers a rich and immersive experience that connects visitors with the history and culture of the Pikes Peak region. Whether you’re exploring the exhibits, participating in a program, or enjoying the historic building and gardens, the museum provides a meaningful and memorable visit.

9. Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Why You Should Go: This lesser-known gem offers dramatic red rock formations, hiking and biking trails, and stunning views, all within easy reach of downtown Colorado Springs.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a hidden treasure located just minutes from downtown Colorado Springs. This 1,474-acre park is known for its striking red rock formations, scenic vistas, and a network of trails that cater to hikers, bikers, and climbers. The park offers a quieter alternative to the more famous Garden of the Gods, providing a serene and less crowded environment to explore the natural beauty of the region.

Highlights:

  • Red Rock Formations: The park’s red rock formations are its most distinctive feature, creating a dramatic landscape that is both beautiful and geologically fascinating. The rocks, which are part of the Fountain Formation, date back over 300 million years and have been sculpted by natural forces into a variety of shapes and sizes. These formations provide a stunning backdrop for outdoor activities and photography.
  • Trails: Red Rock Canyon Open Space boasts an extensive network of trails that offer something for everyone, from easy strolls to challenging hikes and bike rides. Popular trails include:
    • Red Rock Canyon Trail: This 3.3-mile loop trail takes you through the heart of the park, offering up-close views of the red rock formations and panoramic vistas of the surrounding area.
    • Roundup Trail: A moderate 2.4-mile loop that winds through the park’s canyons and meadows, providing a mix of open spaces and shaded areas.
    • Intemann Trail: This trail connects Red Rock Canyon with Bear Creek Regional Park and offers a longer, more challenging hike or bike ride with stunning views along the way.
  • Rock Climbing: The park is a popular destination for rock climbers, with numerous climbing routes available on the sandstone formations. Climbing areas are designated to ensure safety and preserve the natural environment. Climbers of all skill levels can find routes that suit their abilities, and the park offers a unique and rewarding climbing experience in a beautiful setting.
  • Wildlife and Flora: Red Rock Canyon Open Space is home to a variety of wildlife, including mule deer, foxes, and a wide range of bird species. The park’s diverse plant life includes native grasses, wildflowers, and shrubs, creating a vibrant and ever-changing landscape throughout the seasons. Wildlife watchers and nature enthusiasts will find plenty to enjoy as they explore the trails and natural areas.

Additional Highlights:

  • Quarry Pass Trail: This trail takes you past the remnants of historic quarries that were once active in the area. Interpretive signs along the trail provide information about the quarrying history and the significance of the red rock formations.
  • Pavilions and Picnic Areas: The park features several picnic areas with tables and shelters, making it a great spot for a family outing or a relaxing lunch amidst nature. The pavilions can also be reserved for group events and gatherings.
  • Dog-Friendly: Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a dog-friendly park, with designated off-leash areas where dogs can run and play freely. Pet owners will appreciate the well-maintained trails and open spaces where they can enjoy outdoor activities with their furry friends.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space offers a peaceful and scenic escape just minutes from the city. Whether you're hiking, biking, climbing, or simply taking in the views, this park provides a unique and enriching outdoor experience.

10. Olympic Training Center

Why You Should Go: As the main training facility for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams, this center offers an inspiring look at the dedication and training of world-class athletes.

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Training Center (USOPTC) in Colorado Springs is a hub of athletic excellence, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the rigorous training regimens and facilities that support America’s top athletes. Established in 1978, the center is one of three primary Olympic training facilities in the U.S. and serves as the epicenter for developing athletes in various sports. A visit to this state-of-the-art complex is both educational and inspiring, highlighting the dedication and hard work required to compete at the highest levels.

Highlights:

  • Guided Tours: One of the best ways to experience the USOPTC is through a guided tour. These tours provide an in-depth look at the training facilities and offer insights into the daily lives of the athletes. Knowledgeable guides share fascinating stories about past Olympians and Paralympians, explain the history of the center, and showcase the various training areas. Tours typically include visits to the weightlifting and wrestling facilities, the aquatics center, the gymnastics training center, and the sports medicine complex.
  • Hall of Fame Rotunda: The tour usually starts at the Visitor Center and Hall of Fame Rotunda, which celebrates the achievements of U.S. Olympians and Paralympians. The rotunda features plaques and memorabilia honoring the athletes and their contributions to the Olympic movement. It's a great place to learn about the history of the Olympics and the remarkable accomplishments of American athletes.
  • Training Facilities: The USOPTC boasts world-class training facilities that are designed to help athletes reach their peak performance. Highlights include:
    • Aquatics Center: Home to an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a diving well, this facility is used by swimmers and divers for both training and rehabilitation.
    • Sports Centers: The complex includes several multi-purpose sports centers that accommodate sports such as basketball, volleyball, boxing, and fencing. These versatile spaces are equipped with cutting-edge technology and equipment to support a wide range of training needs.
    • Sports Medicine and Performance Center: This facility provides comprehensive medical and therapeutic services to athletes, including physical therapy, sports psychology, and nutrition counseling. The center is crucial in helping athletes recover from injuries and maintain their health and fitness.
  • Athlete Dormitories and Dining Hall: During the tour, visitors often get a glimpse of the living quarters where athletes reside while training at the center. The dormitories provide a comfortable and supportive environment, allowing athletes to focus on their training. The dining hall is another key component, offering nutritious meals tailored to the specific dietary needs of elite athletes.
  • Team USA Shop: After the tour, be sure to visit the Team USA Shop, where you can purchase official merchandise and memorabilia. The shop offers a wide range of items, from clothing and accessories to posters and collectibles. Proceeds from the shop help support the training and development of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

Additional Highlights:

  • Community Programs: The USOPTC offers various community outreach programs and youth sports camps throughout the year. These programs aim to inspire the next generation of athletes and promote the values of the Olympic movement, such as excellence, friendship, and respect.
  • Special Events: The center occasionally hosts special events, including athlete meet-and-greets, demonstrations, and competitions. These events provide a unique opportunity for visitors to interact with athletes and see them in action.
  • Educational Exhibits: Throughout the Visitor Center, you’ll find educational exhibits that delve into the science of sports, the history of the Olympic and Paralympic movements, and the stories of individual athletes. These exhibits are engaging and informative, offering a deeper understanding of what it takes to compete at an elite level.

A visit to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs is a must for sports enthusiasts and anyone inspired by the pursuit of excellence. The center offers a rare opportunity to witness the dedication and effort that go into preparing for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Colorado Springs offers an unparalleled blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture, making it a top destination for adventurers and explorers. Whether you're hiking the scenic trails of Garden of the Gods, reaching new heights at Pikes Peak, or immersing yourself in the inspiring world of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center, there's something for everyone in this dynamic city. These top 10 activities capture the essence of Colorado Springs, promising unforgettable experiences and lasting memories.

Stay connected with more insights from the vibrant world of travel and adventure at Woke Waves Magazine.

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Posted 
Jun 12, 2024
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