Planning a trip to Colorado, or a new resident to the area? We know the entire state has incredible views and countless attractions to explore, but we have compiled a short list of some of the most popular outdoor attractions right in our backyard of Colorado Springs. It is sometimes hard to choose where to go and what to do when you have so many options surrounding you. COS alone has 60 different attractions that pull in tourists every year. Everything from museums, parks, art exhibits and more, there is something for everyone!!
Check out this short list of wonders in Colorado Springs! Each of these tourist attractions will offer you a unique experience and lifetime memories to cherish!
1. Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak, probably one of most well known monuments in Colorado, is the forefront of our city. Stretching above the clouds, often snow capped, you can see it from any point in town. Need to go West…look for “America’s Mountain”, she’ll point you in the right direction. Fun fact about the mountain, the famous poem and song, published in 1895 “America the Beautiful,” by Katharine Lee Bates, was originally titled “Pikes Peak.” It is said that the words for the poem came to her in her travels, at the pinnacle of the mountain. The Peak isn’t just beautiful to look at from afar, you are able to take a scenic drive all the way to the top! At this time, the Summit House, which was settled in, atop the mountain is currently under construction. Nature is harsh at such high elevations and the state is working hard to resurrect a brand new Pikes Peak Summit Complex. Construction is projected to be finished sometime in 2021.
2. Garden Of Gods
Also known as “The Sandstone Gem”, Garden of the gods is a free park, with magical views that are sure to wow you and the family. The rock formations here stand out against the skyline in stark grandeur, unique in their color, shape and enormous size. You do have the ability to climb selective rocks, with the proper gear, but most formations prohibit it, for safety reasons. There are around 21 miles of trails to walk and hike, you free to do one your own, or you can take a guided tour. The park also offers shuttle rides throughout it, explain the formations and all of the history the park has to offer. Garden of Gods is a must see when visiting the Springs area!!
3. Cave Of the Winds
Ever wanted to go explore some huge unknown caves? Although not “unknown” Cave of The Winds can definitely help you check that off of your bucket list. “From mild, to wild” as the park would say, Cave of The Winds offers a unique experience for all ages. The caves here are millions of years old, but were discovered here, in 1881. The Caves gained their name “Cave of The Winds” after it was discovered the Jicarilla Apaches spoke of the The great Spirit of The Wind residing here. We will save the rest of the history of the caves for your tours, but we will tell you, its pretty cool stuff!! There are a few different tours you can choose from, include a Haunted Lantern Tour, but additionally, the caves also have an outdoor park located above! You can enjoy a rock climbing wall, the Bat-a-pault- which is similar to a ziplining experience, multiple courses that test your balance and even a virtual reality ride. While exploring the mysteries of the underground caves is genuinely a different experience, Cave of the Winds gives a new turn and gives you a different insight on what lies beneath our feet.
4. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Sitting at an elevation of 6,714 ft above sea level, being the highest zoo in America, is our beautiful Cheyenne Mountain Zoo! This zoo has actually been voted #4 Best Zoo in North America by USA Today’s Best Readers Choice Awards and it is easy to see why. The zoo offers many different unique experiences from watching the elephants getting their teeth brushed, cleaning their large feet and even feeding them apples. A crowd favorite is the giraffe exhibit, for a small fee you can get up close and personal, and we mean CLOSE with the giraffes, feeding them large pieces of lettuce and interacting with them. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo prides itself on being a big contributor in animal conservation and works very hard to provide the best lives possible for each and every one of their animals. In the recent years, they rebuilt the entire elephant exhibit, to give them more space and more enrichment. Over the better part of 2019-2020, the zoo spend time on rebuilding a completely new building and exhibits for their penguins and hippos. Not only will you find one of a kind experiences with the animals here at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, but there are multiple activities for you and the family; multiple small parks for the kids, a huge food court with food ranging from pizza, to burgers and more, a huge attraction here is the chair lift. The lift takes you soaring in the sky above the entirety of the zoo, giving you sweeping views of the exhibits and also breathtaking views of the entire city of Colorado Springs. When visiting, you may also notice a tower like building up further into the mountain, this is the Will Rogers Shrine of The Sun. This shrine is dedicated to Mr. Will Rogers, as a tribute to the humorst, actor and philosopher after his plane crash in 1935. You can purchase tickets to visit the shrine at the zoo’s entrance. Take a drive up the mountain and visit these one of a kind attractions with friend and family.
5. Painted Mines Interpretive Park
Located in Calhan Colorado, the Painted Mines are a 4 mile stretch of trails, containing colored clay and sandstone formations as well as geographical hoodoo formations, and a wide array of plants and wildlife. Because of the areas geological and archeological significance, it has been protected for some time by the El Paso County Parks Department. Walking through the park has been described as unworldly by some, the spires that tower over you almost seem fake, and the natural coloring of the clay is unlike anything you have seen. Artifacts such as stone dart tips and arrowheads show evidence of occupation by prehistoric Native American people. They say that the clay from this area was used to build these arrows as well as for making pottery, and even used for paintings. Going about 30 miles east of Colorado Springs, you will find this breathtaking attraction, and we promise it will always have you coming back for more.