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The Top 10 Things to Do in Colorado Springs

My family and I love to travel and explore new places. We have been blessed to travel across the United States.

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO with Pikes Peak towering above it.

Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO with Pikes Peak towering above it.

Things to Do in Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs (6,035 feet) is an incredible place with more than 300 days of sunshine each year. It is in central Colorado along the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Pike's Peak towers majestically above it. Colorado Springs is home to several unique and beautiful natural wonders. There is so much to see and do there. Here is a look at the top 10 things to do in Colorado Springs.

1. Visit America's Mountain: Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak (14,110 feet) is incredible! It is stunningly beautiful as it sits over 8,000 feet above Colorado Springs. The tremendous view from its summit inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write the words to America the Beautiful. Hence its nickname, "America's Mountain." I remember standing at the top and looking in all directions. The views are awesome! At the visitors center on top of Pikes Peak, be sure to try a high-altitude donut. There are very tasty. There are several ways to get to the to: drive, Pikes Peak Cog Railway, or hike the Barr Trail. Here is a look at the two easiest ways to get to the top of Pikes Peak.

Drive Pikes Peak Highway

Pikes Peak Highway offers a great way to enjoy the tremendous views on the way to the summit. It is about a 19-mile drive to the top. Be sure to have at least half a tank of gas. All visitors are required to pay a $35 per car admission fee. There are numerous places to turn out and take in the incredible views. The most spectacular views are between Glen Cove and the summit. On the way back down, stay in low gear and avoid riding the brakes, which could lead to brake failure.

Pikes Peak Cog Railway (Closed until 2021)

The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is a fun way to get to the summit. It is the highest operating railroad in the United States. It is unique because it uses a cog and gear system to climb and descend the mountain without slipping. The first mile of track climbs over 2,000 in the first three-quarters of a mile.

My family and I bought tickets for a late afternoon ride. It was a relaxing ride with stunning views all around. An important thing to remember is that the summit is at over 14,000 feet and has much less oxygen than the station which was at 6,600 feet. It is possible to be a little light-headed when at the summit. I highly recommend it, and a must-do in Colorado Springs.

Unfortunately, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway is shut down for maintenance and will not reopen until 2021. They are investing in new equipment and tracks. It is something to keep in mind when visiting in the future.

2. Visit Garden of the Gods

The Garden of the Gods is a must-see. It is one of the most popular attractions in Colorado Springs. It is known for its red sandstone rock formations that spike up out of the ground to a height of a few hundred feet. The Arapaho, Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Ute tribes all thought that the rock formations were sacred.

The Garden of the Gods is a hot spot for rock climbing. Groups of climbers head out from the visitor center every 30 minutes. The park also offers numerous hiking trails, jeep and segway tours, and a terrific visitors center. Garden of the Gods is one of the best picture-taking spots in Colorado Springs. Plan on spending at least several hours at the Garden of the Gods.

My family and I enjoyed our time at the Garden of the Gods. It was a unique experience. I would suggest visiting early or late in the date as the rocks come to life with the lower sun angle. I highly recommend visiting the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

3. Visit Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park offer something for the whole family. It is in nearby Canon City, Colorado. The bridge alone is worth a stop. The park offers rides, concerts, and many areas for a picnic. Here is a closer look at the best things to see and do there.

Royal Gorge Bridge

It is home to the highest suspension bridge in the United States that towers 956 feet above the Arkansas River. To give a perspective of how high it is, the Empire States Building would fit underneath the bridge with three feet to spare. Visitors cannot drive across the bridge but can walk out on it. The bridge has 360-degree views that are breathtaking. It alone is worth a visit.

Royal Gorge Aerial Gondolas

The Royal Gorge Aerial Gondolas offer incredible views of the gorge from 1,200 feet above it. It is especially great for families as it allows everyone to enjoy the views. It is also a great way to photograph the bridge and gorge.

Royal Gorge Cloudscraper Zip Line

The Royal Gorge Cloudscraper Zip Line is the highest zip line in the United States and offers a great adrenaline rush. Riders soar at 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River below. They sit in a unique harness that allows them to be hands-free as they speed across the 2,200 feet of the gorge. Riders must weigh between 100-245 pounds. However, the wind can change the weight requirements.

Royal Gorge SkyCoaster

The Royal Gorge Skycoaster is not for the faint of heart. Nicknamed the World's Scariest Skycoaster because riders lay down and are swung back and forth at 50 mph on the edge of the gorge at 1,200 feet above it. Three people can ride at once. Thrill-seekers will love this ride.

Tommy Knocker Playland

The Tommy Knocker Playland is a tremendous place to let kids run around and get their energy out. It is a three-story enclosed playland with nets, ropes, slides, tunnels, and a splash pad. There is also a vintage carousel for the kids to enjoy.

Royal Gorge Railroad

The Royal Gorge Railroad is another must when visiting the gorge. The train runs along the Arkansas River. The views are nothing short of spectacular. President Teddy Roosevelt, in 1905, had this to say about the Royal Gorge Railroad, "the trip that bankrupts the English language!" They also run many special trains throughout the year, including spring fling, murder mystery, family night, fall fling, Santa express train, and more.

4. Visit United States Air Force Academy

The United States Air Force Academy is one of the top tourist attractions in Colorado. The main attraction is the U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel which is unique and beautiful. It is about 150 feet high and shaped like a spacecraft or Star Wars shuttle. Inside, the chapel is lit up in different colors because of its stain-glassed windows.

The other main attraction is the full-size B-52 bomber display near the entrance. It is a huge aircraft. Hiking and biking are also options as the academy has several trails.

5. Visit Seven Falls

Seven Falls in Colorado Springs is made up of seven cascade waterfalls that fall a total height of 181 feet. At night, the falls are lit up in different colors. It is spectacular. Visitors can climb up the 224 steps to the peak of the falls. The Eagle's Nest viewing platform is another way to see the falls and is accessible by elevator.

There are two beautiful trails to hike at Seven Falls. The Inspiration Point Trail is about an hour round trip and offers incredible views of the Great Plains and Colorado Springs. The Midnight Falls Trail is shorter and leads to Midnight Falls, which is on the shorter side. Visitors looking for souvenirs should visit the Seven Falls Shop, which has various things to purchase. Seven Falls is a must-see when visiting Colorado Springs.

6. Visit Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the only zoo in the United States located on the side of a mountain. It is home to 750 animals and offers beautiful views of Colorado Springs. It is unique because it is home to the largest herd of reticulated giraffes (also known as a Somali giraffes).

It is also unique because the zoo was designed to allow visitors to get closer to the animals than a typical zoo. There is an antique carousel ride and a Mountaineer Sky Ride that the kids will love. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a great place to spend a few hours.

7. Visit Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon offers rust-colored rocks and is a terrific place for outdoor lovers. There are miles of hiking and biking trails as well as an open-air pavilion for live entertainment and evening movies. It is a great place to walk and take in the area's beauty. This area also attracts photographers because of the beautiful rock coloring. Red Rock Canyon is a great place to visit.