Nestled at the foot of the majestic Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs is known for its spectacular natural surroundings like Garden of the Gods, which is home to a plethora of hiking trails sprinkled amongst impressive rock formations. But it’s also known for museums, parks, and lots more. The entire state of Colorado is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, and luckily, many of its top attractions and destinations are a short drive away from Colorado Springs. So, if you’re looking to explore some of the scenic surroundings and get out of the city for a day, check out these top day trips from Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Colorado Springs is known for its breathtaking natural landscape, so why not spend a day exploring its hidden gems and more secluded areas? The best place to start is Garden of the Gods, a spectacular park spread out over 1,300 acres (526 hectares) of land. It’s home to a plethora of hiking trails winding between impressive sandstone formations. The rugged terrain can be explored on foot or, for those more adventurous, by an open-air jeep for an authentic off-road experience.
Colorado Springs Rocky Mountain Foothills 4x4 Jeep Tour
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
2. Royal Gorge
Located an hour’s drive south of Colorado Springs and just outside Canon City, Royal Gorge is a spectacular canyon crossed by the Arkansas River. The canyon is known for its suspension bridge, which is one of the highest in the United States. Visitors coming to explore Royal Gorge Park get to cross the suspension bridge, all while enjoying an adrenaline-packed experience and 360 degrees of breathtaking views. The park is a gem for adrenaline seekers and sports enthusiasts, as it offers amazing climbing opportunities on the gorge walls, which is only allowed with the presence of a trained mountain guide. Guests can also access the aerial gondolas, Royal Rush Skycoaster, and Cloudscraper Zip Line.
3. Woodland Park
Woodland Park is a very accessible one-day destination from Colorado Springs - it’s only a 20-minute drive away. The drive up to Woodland Park offers scenic views along the Ute Pass, preparing travelers for the magnificence of the City Above the Clouds, as Woodland Park is named. This place offers its guests great accommodation, dining, and entertainment options, but what it stands out for is its outdoor concerts and festivals in the summertime, plus all the adventure sports accessible here. The fresh mountain air, clear-blue skies, and unspoiled wilderness make it the perfect setting for winter sports, hiking, mountain biking, and climbing.
4. Paint Mines Interpretive Park
Another unique treasure that Colorado can be proud of is Paint Mines Interpretive Park in Calhan, Colorado. Located near Pikes Peak, this park is a 45-minute drive southwest from Colorado Springs. The park is spread out over 750 acres (303 hectares) and is home to spectacular and incredibly colorful geological formations. The brightly colored rocks are the result of oxidized iron compounds that make for majestic scenery. The area is sprinkled with hiking trails and other natural wonders, and it even holds evidence of human life from 9,000 years ago.
Only 12 miles (19 kilometers) from Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak is the highest peak in the Southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The region has plenty to offer besides mountain sports and adventure and is an excellent choice for a family getaway. People love visiting the area for its thrilling zip lines, scenic train rides, local breweries, and family-friendly attractions. Pikes Peak is easily accessible year-round, and it’s a destination worth the trip whether you’re into sports or just want to enjoy a restful getaway and breathe in the fresh mountain air.
Moonshine and Craft Beer - The Monument Tour
Duration: 3 hours
6. Phantom Canyon
If you’re looking to escape Colorado Springs and explore some of the surrounding attractions, but you also want to enjoy the drive along the way, Phantom Canyon is an excellent destination in the Pikes Peak area. Enjoying Colorado’s backcountry roads and spectacular views will make the drive unforgettable. Once in Phantom Canyon, marvel at the majestic canyon walls, check out Adelaide Bridge, or take Phantom Canyon Road further and look for the ghost towns of Glenbrook, Wilbur, and Adelaide.
7. Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
If you’re an animal lover or you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind experience, add Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center on your list of activities while in Colorado Springs. The non-profit animal protection sanctuary is located in Divide and is the place that many wolves and other unwanted animals call home. Some of the animals that visitors can meet and learn about at the sanctuary include coyotes, Red and Fennec foxes, Gray, Arctic, and Mexican Gray wolves.
8. Eldorado Canyon State Park
The scenic Eldorado Canyon State Park, part of the Colorado State Park system, is located in Eldorado Springs, not far from Colorado Springs and Boulder, two of the state’s most iconic cities. The park is spread out on almost 900 acres (360 hectares) of land and includes Inner Canyon and Crescent Meadows. This park is popular among outdoor sports aficionados, as it’s an excellent setting for rock climbing and hiking. Some of the park’s most notable landmarks include Eldorado Canyon Trail, Rattlesnake Gulch Trail, and Bear Peak, which all offer breathtaking panoramic views.
9. Idaho Springs
Though the small town of Idaho Springs has a decreasing population, it’s rich in history. This is where gold was first discovered in Colorado back in 1859, and the city has been home to several mines, some that can even be visited today. Just like pretty much any place in Colorado, Idaho Springs doesn’t fall short when it comes to outdoor activities, and the place attracts sports enthusiasts with its river rafting, ATV tours, biking trails, and horseback riding.
The historic town of Georgetown, a former silver mining camp, is nestled on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The small town is less than an hour away from Denver and a two-hour drive north from Colorado Springs. During the prolific days of the silver boom in Colorado, Georgetown was the third-largest city in the state. Today, however, the town merely counts 1,000 residents but compensates in the number of visitors who come here eager to discover a former mining town. The picturesque Main Street boasts a variety of shops and places to eat, but there are also museums worth seeing, along with Georgetown Loop Railroad, a steam train tour and one of the biggest attractions here.
The colorful and picturesque Manitou Springs is a quaint mountain town known for its mineral springs and spectacular mountain landscape. This family-friendly destination from Colorado Springs is ideal for zip lining, hiking, and taking rope courses at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park, but also for Miramount Castle, a Victorian mansion with stunning architecture that was turned into a museum. There is also Rainbow Falls, a hidden waterfall surrounded by graffiti-colored canyon walls.
Manitou Springs "Colo-Rad" Zipline Tour With 4x4 Tranport
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Colorado Springs and beyond: exploring the scenic surroundings
The entire state of Colorado is a natural marvel, with mineral springs, waterfalls, winding rivers, soaring mountain peaks, off-the-grid roads, and majestic canyon walls. While Colorado Springs is a fantastic destination for the entire family, many attractions around the city are worth the drive.
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