Emerging from the shadow of Pikes Peak, the town of Colorado Springs has consistently earned its place on several “Best Cities to Live in" lists over the years. And it can look after its visitors, as well. There's a lot to explore in and around "The Springs".
Just west of Colorado Springs, you'll come across the most imposing natural landmark in the area: the Garden of the Gods. These surreal sandstone formations jut out of the terrain, standing 300 ft tall.
Locals will recommend you to revisit the Garden of the Gods during different times of the day, because the natural light seems to alter the earthy red hue of the rock.
Next, see if you can bag the tallest peak in the Rocky Mountains' Front Range: Pikes Peak (14,115 ft).
Besides Pikes Peak, there are about 160 miles worth of beautiful natural trails to hike around Colorado Springs.
If you feel like sleeping under the stars, just set up camp out in the wilderness of the 2701-acre Cheyenne Mountain State Park.
Whitewater rafting on the legendarily turbulent Arkansas River makes for more than just a bumpy ride. Some stretches of this river near Colorado Springs should be tackled only by advanced rafters.
The mighty Arkansas River does slow down enough to allow for fishing. Whether you prefer to fish with floats or walk-and-wade, trout are sure to bite! See if you can catch all kinds of trout (rainbow, brown, cutthroat, cut-bow).
Equestrians can go for a relaxing ride around a 700-acre urban park in Colorado Springs: Palmer Park. You should also check out the localTherapeutic Riding Center for equine-assisted therapy.
At Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (the only mountain zoo in USA), you can feed the giraffes. Also, there are 30 endangered animal species to marvel at.
The mountain biking trails of Manitou Springs' Red Rock Canyon Open Space are not for the faint-hearted.
Here's a chance to earn your stripes as a seasoned hiker: conquer the never-ending Manitou Incline. There are more than 2700 steep steps to the top! But the panoramic view from the summit is well worth the gruelling climb.
Next, check out the ancient Manitou Cliff Dwellings of the Native American Ancestral Puebloan tribe. These crude, yet fascinating structures were relocated here from a site near Cortez.
If you can handle heights, strap yourself to the highest zip line in USA: the one at the Royal Gorge. The thrilling ride is 2400 ft long and it hangs over a 1200 ft drop into the chasm below!
Test your grip on the sheer rock face of the Cave of the Winds MountainPark. It has European-style Via Feratta (rock climbing routes) for you to pit yourself against.
Back in the heart of the city, visit the Olympic Training Center to find out why Colorado Springs is also known as Olympic City USA. It's the state-of-the-art training facility of the US Olympic team.
Before you leave the city, you should embark on the most scenic road trip of your life: a 19 mile drive on the lofty curves of the Pikes Peak Highway.