**Please note that due to COVID-19, some attractions are experiencing a delayed opening and most will have a limited capacity. Please visit pikes-peak.com/covid for the most up to date information.**
The Pikes Peak region is a pristine, beautiful outdoor playground just waiting for you to come out and explore. Here are the coolest places to play!
Take a Peek at Pikes Peak
Every trip to the Pikes Peak region should start with a visit to its namesake: Pikes Peak—America’s Mountain. You can drive yourself up the Pikes Peak Highway, you can take a comfy, climate-controlled tour via Gray Line Tours or you can even ride up in a van and then ride down the mountain by bicycle. Local outfitter Challenge Unlimited will feed you breakfast, outfit you with gear and a trusty bike, drive you to the top and then let you zip down the 20-plus miles to the bottom of the mountain. Yee-haw!
Colorado’s Geological Wonders
Of course there are other famous formations in the Pikes Peak region, although they’re slightly shorter. The towering rocks of Garden of the Gods are a stunning experience that should not be missed. For a twist, tour them on horseback with Academy Riding Stables. Their one- and two-hour tours are fun and led by excellent cowboys and cowgirls. If you find you’re madly in love with horsemanship, we suggest you add a visit to the ProRodeo Hall of Fame while you’re in Colorado Springs — more horses and cowboys galore!
You can also tour the Garden with Adventures Out West in a customized Jeep. Be sure to ask about their packages that include ziplining and other fun. Before you leave the Garden, visit the Garden of the Gods Trading Post and pick up a souvenir (or 10). The historic shop has thousands of square feet devoted to art, jewelry, clothing, gifts and homemade fudge, plus local beer, hot coffee and locally made ice cream.
West of the Garden you’ll find Cave of the Winds, an epic show cave offering daily tours of its winding depths. Above ground, you can scale cliffs near the cave on the via ferrata course or enjoy some thrilling rides. Speaking of rides, it may not be a geological wonder, but the North Pole Santa’s Workshop is right up the road from the cave and it’s a wonder in its own right with its cool rides and frequent visits from Santa. Maybe take a little detour for some extra family fun since you’re already up there.
South of Colorado Springs you’ll find a famous chasm crossed by a world-famous suspension bridge called the Royal Gorge Bridge. Look down as you cross and you might catch a glimpse of folks rafting the rapids with Echo Canyon River Expeditions. They’re right up the road and offer family floats in addition to more adventurous excursions. For more water with less paddling, head back to the Springs where Broadmoor Seven Falls has a magnificent display of crashing falls lined with viewing areas and walking paths.
Small Town Pride
The Pikes Peak region is home to three quintessentially Colorado towns, each with its own unique flair. West of Colorado Springs you’ll find the historic mining town of Cripple Creek, where you can take the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad on an open-air tour of the mountains and old mining sites … or go 1,000 feet below the surface to tour the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine.
Heading back toward Colorado Springs, you’ll find the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, authentic, hands-on preserved ancient Puebloan structures that signal you’ve almost arrived at the whimsical town of Manitou Springs. In Manitou Springs, you can catch an authentic melodrama show at the Iron Springs Chateau, sip tea and explore Miramont Castle’s unusual rooms or dine and shop your heart out at the many boutiques and restaurants.
Between Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs proper lies Old Colorado City. Its charming and welcoming main street is lined with shops and restaurants that make it the perfect place for a snack, shop and stroll excursion. It’s also right next to the Wild West Ghost Town Museum, which features actual ghost town structures and thousands of historic artifacts. You can also enjoy dinner and a show at the recently rebuilt Flying W Ranch, where you’ll enjoy an authentic chuckwagon dinner and a colorful cowboy show.
Serve Up Some Science
It’s not all history and rocks in the Pikes Peak region. Colorado Springs also offers other science attractions for those who like lab coats more than hiking boots. The Space Foundation Discovery Center is located right near Garden of the Gods and it has hands-on exhibits, authentic space artifacts, robots and other cool tech. For a science attraction that’s a bit more down to earth, visit the May Natural History Museum. It’s packed with thousands of bugs (deceased ones) collected from all over the planet.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo offers the fuzzier side of science with adorable animals and giraffes you can feed. And although it’s connected to history, the Western Museum of Mining and Industry shares the historic and technical side of Colorado’s mining industry — plus, you get to pan for gold.