Colorado Springs has its own regional airport providing some direct flights to the city. If direct flights are not an option, Denver is only about a 1.5 hour drive away and has a much larger airport.
When visiting Colorado Springs, you will likely want to rent a car. If you plan to venture outside the downtown city center or away from your accommodations, you will largely need a car to get around, especially if you are interested in getting outdoors and on the trails whether it be hiking or mountain biking.
You can find hotels in the downtown area of Colorado Springs that are conveniently located with restaurants and bars around.
A beautiful resort with a large property including numerous different buildings for guests, a golf course, pool, multiple restaurants, tennis courts, and offsite properties in unique locations. The Broadmoor has many different room styles to choose from and you can easily stay on property and never leave or explore the area around.
The Broadmoor also offers a wilderness experience at Cloud Camp located 9000 feet above sea level on Cheyenne Mountain. Cloud Camp is an all inclusive hotel where guests get to enjoy the peacefulness of the outdoors. The hotel has rooms within the main building and also offers small family style cabins. There are two outdoor jacuzzis sitting in the trees looking out on beautiful views. Each day, the hotel offers different activities for guests to participate in if interested. These activities include group hikes, ziplining, cooking demonstrations, horseback riding, and archery, among others. If you choose to stay at the Cloud Camp, plan to stay until you would like to go back down to base level and then switch hotels rather than going up and down to explore elsewhere. The trip up to Cloud Camp takes about 30-45 minutes on the winding dirt road.
We stayed at Cloud Camp for two days and the Broadmoor for three days, which provided a good balance. The Broadmoor was an easy place to travel to other day activities from (hiking, mountain biking, meals, etc) while Cloud Camp offered a relaxing and quiet place to stay.
Large open, public park with giant red rock formations. There are many different spots to enter the park along with a variety of parking lots and street parking. There are a variety of walking paths throughout the park, some paved around the main large rock formations and many gravel paths around the area.
City park and area to explore with beautiful views of the Garden of the Gods. The trails running through the park are good for walking around or beginning mountain bikers and lead to main other trailheads. There are also rock climbers, with permits, scattered throughout the park.
Distance: 6.4 miles
Elevation gain: 1,700 feet
Estimated Time: 3.5 hours
Out and back trail, which goes through a variety of different terrain from forest to meadows to lakes. The trail starts from the parking area and takes about 1 mile to actually reach the trails. If you are hiking with anyone with lower hiking interest or abilities, consider dropping them off at the top of the road before parking and beginning the trek. The trail then continues into a long climb up through the forest area before flattening out in the meadow, also called the Garden of Eden meadow. After the meadow, you continue through the forest again before hitting the road and taking the road up to the halfway and turnaround point at the South Catamount Reservoir.
This trail does not include it, but you can walk past the South Catamount Reservoir up the road to also see the North Catamount Reservoir if you like. There are nice views from the reservoir of the mountains in the background. As this is an out and back, you know exactly what is coming on your way back and is mainly downhill as you climbed to reach the reservoir. There is a decent amount of parking at the base, but no parking closer to the trail that would allow you to skip the 1 mile on the road.
Distance: 8.7 miles
Elevation gain: 2,550 feet
Estimated Time: 4.5 hours
This trail begins the same as the Catamount Falls trail, but adds a few extra miles and changes the route on the way back so it is not just an out and back trail. Once you reach the South Catamount Reservoir, it takes you to the North Catamount Reservoir as well, before turning around. The way back begins the same, but the path veers left before it reaches the Garden of Eden meadow again. The trail then takes you up through the forest with great glimpses of Pikes Peak.
At peak elevation, you have some beautiful views. The trail takes you along the side of the mountain for awhile before making the descent down to the base. The last mile is baking in the sun and has a more drier and desertlike feel as you are taken out of the forest. There is a fair amount of parking available at the beginning of the hike.
Distance: 5.7 miles
Elevation Change: 1,300 feet
Estimated Time: 3 hours
Heavily trafficked loop which can be done clockwise or counter-clockwise. The trailhead sits at the beginning of the counter-clockwise option, the more challenging of the two directions. The route starts with a steeper incline for about 2.3 miles, and then continues with a gradual downhill for the rest of the hike. Alternatively, you can walk down the road a few hundred yards past the trailhead and main parking spots to begin the clockwise hike. This route is easier as you have a gradual, longer climb for about 3.4 miles and then a steeper downhill for the remaining portion of the hike. If you are active and capable, I recommend going counter-clockwise as the incline is challenging but doable and the steady downhill is enjoyable.
The peak altitude sits around 7,800 feet with overall elevation change of 1,300 feet. The top has some nice views, but is not a big open space. Overall, this is a moderate hike with nice views and scenery. Plan for about 3 hours for this hike. We did it in 2.5, but did not stop at the top and had a decent pace. The parking may seem limited once you arrive at the trailhead, but if spots are full, continue driving down the road and you will immediately see another area to park. If this is also full, again continue down the road further to a large parking area. This larger parking area is closer to the beginning of the trail for the clockwise option.
Distance: 3.7 miles
Elevation Change: 1,292 feet
Estimated Time: 2 hours
Out and back trail that climbs for the first two miles until you reach the panoramic viewpoint over the area. The climb up is challenging but rewarding and very doable as it is a quicker climb up. There are some steep parts at the very end before you reach the top. Plan for about 2 hours and note that there is limited parking at the trailhead. There are other areas to park on the way to the trail if the trailhead parking is full.
Distance: 6.3 miles
Elevation Change: 1,299 feet
Estimated Time: 3.5 hours
Out and back trail that provides nice views of the surrounding mountains. The trail climbs up and has a steep incline before reaching the halfway point. If you are inclined to take on an additional challenge, the Swisher trail veers off the McNeil Trail and climbs a very steep ~800 feet in 0.2 miles. The path can be hard to find, but is found about halfway in the trail. Overall, this is a nice and quiet trail.
Distance: 2 miles
Elevation gain: 2000 feet
Estimated Time: 1.5 hours
The Manitou Incline is known to be a challenge as it gains 2000 feet of elevation in under a mile uphill climb. The path is largely stairs up, with over 2000 steps.
Open space about 30 miles from Colorado Springs with uniquely colored clay rocks in shades of yellow, red, purple, orange, white and grey. There are different paths throughout the area providing views of the rock formations and areas to explore.
Many of the trails around Colorado Springs are used by mountain bikers, both at the beginners level through the very experienced. Broadmoor Outfitters offers different options if you are interested in doing a mountain biking excursion.
The Broadmoor offers a ziplining experience through Seven Falls with 10 different ziplines.
Throughout the parks you will surely spot rock climbers, but most parks require a permit. Look into this in advance if you plan to go on your own or sign up with a company like Broadmoor Outfitters.
The Broadmoor has a beautiful course
Delicious restaurant with some unique dishes and fun drinks. The restaurant theme is based on Alice in Wonderland so the menu follows this theme. It offers some tasty small plates and good options to share with others. It is located in downtown Colorado Springs.
Brewery in downtown Colorado Springs offering a full menu for dining and a nice outdoor terrace on the second level.
Microbrewery located in an old school and a local favorite
Delicious Italian restaurant at the Broadmoor resort
Fantastic ice cream shop in downtown Colorado Springs. Some recommended flavors include Colorado Cookies & Cream, Salted Peanut Butter Cup, Moose on the Loose, Rocky Mountain Road, Oatmeal Cookie, and Purple Mountain Majesty.
Keep in mind Colorado Springs is about 6000 feet above sea level. When traveling, make sure to hydrate and allow time to properly acclimate. The oxygen levels in the air are lower so you may find yourself out of breath quicker when hiking, biking or doing other activities.
Colorado Springs provides a nice summer spot to visit, with warm temperatures but the dry climate makes it comfortable. It is convenient to get to and provides a nice, outdoor getaway.
Depending on what you plan to do, a long weekend or week is the perfect amount of time in Colorado Springs. It gives you the chance to relax and also get out on the trails.
Transportation and Accommodations
Things to do and see
Food and Drinks