Colorado Springs sits at the foot of Pike's Peak in Colorado's Front Range, and is tightly knit with military life, as the US Air Force Academy and the North America Radar Defense “guard” its doors. The second largest city in Colorado, its mountainous and rocky landscape boasts the iconic Garden of the Gods with plenty of terrain to explore. Colorado Springs is an ideal place to embrace the great outdoors and experience, firsthand, the way that nature and erosion shape the world.
Named after explorer Zebulon Pike, Pike's Peak is the country's easternmost Fourteener, with an elevation of 14,114 feet. Take the Manitou and Pike's Peak Cog Railway nine miles to the summit, where you'll be greeted with the same breathtaking views that inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write “America the Beautiful” in 1895. You can also drive yourself to the summit via the 19-mile Pike's Peak Highway. Those with a sense of adventure can scale the Peak by gaining about 7,400 feet in elevation and hiking to the summit via the 13-mile roundtrip Barr Trail. Grab refreshments at the Summit House and soak in the views from the crest of America's Mountain.
Visit the park and you'll see why the park is often rated one of the best America has to offer. The Garden of the Gods has spectacular views of Pike's Peak and contains 15 miles of hiking trails. The park also provides opportunities for biking and rock-climbing. Stop by the Trading Post for a buffalo burger and unique souvenirs. The park is open year-round, and best of all, it's free!
Spend time exploring the grounds of the U.S. Air Force Academy, see the famed Cadet Chapel, and walk among the statues and memorials in the Honor Court. If you're visiting during the fall, take in some gridiron action and cheer on the Falcons at Falcon Stadium.
Located just a few miles outside of Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs is a world of its own. Stroll down Manitou Avenue and browse the funky shops and art galleries. Manitou Springs is famed for its natural mineral springs. There are 11 springs in town, all open to the public. Pick up a walking map at the Visitor's Center, bring your cup and drink up.
Visitors looking for accommodations options can choose from a wide range of Colorado Springs hotels. If you're staying in Downtown Colorado Springs, consider the Antlers Hilton, located within convenient walking distance of the Pike's Peak Center for the Performing Arts. Enjoy a classical music concert, or explore the city's nightlife on Tejon Street. Travelers on a budget can choose from many chain hotels located throughout the city.
The Colorado Springs Airport (COS) is served by airlines such as American, Delta and United. International travelers can fly into Denver International Airport (DIA) and take a shuttle flight to COS, or rent a car and drive down to Colorado Springs. The extensive Metropolitan Mountain Transit bus service runs throughout the town for nearby visitors looking to get away.
Due to the rain shadow effect and its location on the Front Range, Colorado Springs has a semi-arid climate. Storm systems coming in from the west dump most of their moisture on the mountain ranges west of the city. As a result, Colorado Springs stays dry for much of the year. The city averages about 17 inches of precipitation annually, with much of the moisture falling during the monsoon season months of June, July and August. Colorado Springs averages roughly 250 days of sunshine per year, so you can expect bluebird days and mild temperatures covering much of the calendar. And because of its mild, sunny weather, Colorado Springs can be visited at any time of the year.