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Outdoors

Top Rated Attractions in Colorado Springs

Search Radius (Miles)
Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods is a public park and United States National Natural Landmark that was deemed a "fit place for the gods to assemble" by Rufus Cable, one of the two surveyors tasked with identifying a site for Colorado City in 1859. With its towering spires of red sandstone pitted against the incongruous greenery of its surrounds, Cable's inspired choice of name is an apt summary of the wonders that it contains. The jagged pinnacles, mammoth needles, and precariously balanced rocks strewn across the landscape are glorious monuments thrust upward, sideways and slanted by tectonic undercurrents, subsequently whipped by the wind into curious shapes. From the biological perspective, the Garden of the Gods is a remarkable merger of the vegetation typical of both highlands and lowlands creating a kind of chronicle of the evolution of planet earth. The land was bequeathed to the City of Colorado Springs by the children of Charles Elliott Perkins who originally owned this parcel of land. The only stipulation was that it must remain “free to the entire world.” Riddled with nature trails and hiking paths, the Garden of the Gods is a popular spot for outdoor activities like horseback riding, rock climbing and hiking that is always free, in keeping with Perkins' wishes.

North Cheyenne Cañon Park

Located in the foothills just west of the The Broadmoor, this park is the perfect locale to visit if time is limited and you want to get a sense of some mountain hiking. It offers hiking trails through mountain canyons, many of which offer great views of the Rockies to the west. The canyons are also popular with climbers. There are plenty of picnic shelters, and for wildlife and fauna information visit the Starsmore Discovery Center inside the park.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Spread across a whopping area of 789 acres (31929 hectares), the Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a popular city park that was converted from a landfill. The park is known for its spectacular canyons and rock formations. There are several trails leading to these natural formations and hikers often explore these well marked trails. Mountain biking is another activity that is enjoyed by many visitors at the Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Rock climbing can also be enjoyed at the park, but a prior permit is required.

Peterson Air & Space Museum

Anyone with an interest in mechanical things that leave the ground will enjoy this museum. It is located in the original art deco-styled Colorado Springs Passenger Terminal Building. With its military setting, it looks exactly like one of those buildings used in 1950s sci-fi movies when horrible, giant ants terrorized man. The focus of the museum is on early aviation history, with an emphasis on World War II. Since it is inside Peterson Air Force base, you will need identification to enter and access is restricted. Entry to the museum is free.

Pikes Peak

Towering 14,110 feet (4,300 meters) above Colorado Springs, this mountain serves as one of the nation's most famous landmarks. Believed to be the sacred home of the Ute people, this summit vaults wondrously above mosaicked landscapes, and can be seen at its majestic best from the Garden of the Gods balcony. The Barr Trail, a 13-mile (20.9-kilometer) path meanders itself along precarious slopes, providing an arduous yet rewarding way to reach the summit. The Pike's Peak Cog Railway, and the Pikes Peak Highway, alternate paths that lead to the summit, wind through stands of pine and aspen before cresting above treeline. A soul-stirring experience for many, Pike's Peak is best known for having inspired Katherine Lee Bates to pen the utterly patriotic America the Beautiful.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Spend a day at America's only mountainside zoo. The zoo features endangered species in mountain exhibits that resemble their natural habitat. You can walk the hilly terrain or catch the tram at one of seven stops. Hands-on contact with animals is permitted in front of the Aquatics building - giraffes will eat from your hand, and zoo crackers can be purchased at the entrance. Mountain weather changes rapidly, so bring a light jacket.

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