Vacation might look a little different this summer with multiple closures, limited plane travel and social distancing.
Luckily, we live in one of the most beautiful regions in the United States, and people drive for miles to see all of the sights that are right in our own backyard in Colorado Springs. These are 5 of our favorite places to visit on day trips around Colorado Springs, but I am sure you have some of your own that you could share!
Garden of the Gods Park: Being outside is one of the safest places to be, and I never get tired of the beauty of the red rocks! It is a great place for kids to walk around, and older adults to appreciate earth’s natural beauty. Stop by the Visitor’s Center for guided tours (temporarily closed, so check first), and information on the geology of the red rocks. Hike, bike or stroll through the park and enjoy the Colorado Springs vistas!
Pike’s Peak: Looming over Colorado Springs, the top of Pikes Peak offers majestic views in all directions. The summit of this 14,114 ft. mountain can be accessed by driving or biking the Pikes Peak highway. Be aware that because of the construction of the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex, you may drive to mile 16 and then catch a shuttle to the top. You may want to check out the website before heading out for construction and weather updates. You may also hike Barr Trail to the top and back down remember, since the Cog Railway is not running, that is not an option for getting down. Leave early (like 5am!) to avoid frequent afternoon thunderstorms!
Spruce Mountain Trail: This is a beautiful hike, located just north of Palmer Lake. There is a moderate climb to the top of the mesa, and then you can hike a relatively flat loop around the top of the mesa. Stop and have a snack on one of the rock outcroppings and enjoy the view! Round trip is about 5.5 miles. On your way back through Palmer Lake, take a break on O’Malley’s deck for a cold brew – O’Malley’s is now open!
Bishop Castle: Located just 24 miles west of Colorado City (1.5- 2 hours from Colorado Springs), this castle was started as a cabin in 1969 and just kept getting bigger. Possibly the largest one-person project, this “castle” needs to be seen to be believed. A combination of rock, mortar, rebar and welded supports, the structure just goes on and on (quantity over quality!). The builder is an eccentric and opinionated man, who shares his beliefs openly, while he continues to build his own unique “castle”. From the website, the castle appears to be open, but always check before you go!
Salida, CO: Cute artsy town right on the river, just 2 hours from Colorado Springs (104 miles), is a fun destination! Be sure and get off of Highway 50 and follow signs to the Historic Downtown area. Paddle boards are available to rent and you can enjoy the (cold!) water that warms up through the summer! The town has developed extensive mountain biking trails on the “S” mountain, as well as south of Highway 50.
Mountain Biking: Too many places to name, but the trails around the state have been developed extensively throughout the last few years. Stratton Open Space in Colorado Springs is a great place for hiking and biking, and Canon City (just 45 miles south) and Royal Gorge area have a relatively new trail system. The Mountain Bike Project is an invaluable app for mountain biking trails across the US…and beyond!
These are just a few suggestions – send us your favorites to help keep us active during this strange Covid time…let’s make the best of it!
Don’t forget to get your car serviced before you head out on a trip! Make your appointment today.