Colorado Springs is a beautiful place, center of many popular attractions. If you want to explore it, but time is a constraint, here is the itinerary to cover famous attractions in short span of time. We spent whole day there and experience was just unmatchable.
Points Covered :-
- Pikes Peak
- Seven Falls
- Garden Of The Gods
We stayed at Quality Inn & Suites, Garden of the Gods which was very close to Garden Of The Gods, evident from property name. We decided to cover the attraction at the end of trip, due to its proximity from the hotel. In the vicinity of the hotel, there are various restaurants with good dinning options.
We left early for Pikes Peak , highest summit of southern front range of Rocky Mountains which was just 1 hour drive away from the hotel. We drove through Pikes peak highway – 19 miles drive with elevation of 14,115 feet. This drive was one of the steepest among all our previous trips and full of breathtaking views. Temperature completely flipped as we moved closer to the top, thus we had to wear hats, gloves and jackets (in May). Luckily we had all such stuff with us (some learnings from past road-trip experiences). It was really fun to wear winter clothes in summer and to watch skaters playing on ice in the surroundings. There is a point just before the peak, from where only shuttles are allowed due to narrow and steep road. We parked our car and waited for our turn (frequency is too slow) close to 25 mins, lady driver shared many facts about the area. At the top, it was just beautiful, whole city can be viewed from there and clouds were almost touchable. There is also a railway service for the peak which was under renovation, that could have been a good experience as well. There was a restaurant and visitor center which was a real treat in that cold, it’s unbelievable they were selling hot coffee, donuts, french-fries and many other fresh stuff. After spending quality time there, we returned to our car through shuttle and drove to our next destination. We were advised to drive in low gears (manual mode) so as not to damage the vehicle.
Activities to Do :-
- Railway Tour
- Shuttle Tour
Entry Fee :- 15 $ per adult
Next place on our list was Seven Falls, which was also close to our Hotel, so we drove back (1 hour) towards the hotel. It’s the only natural waterfall of Colorado to be listed in National Geographic’s list of international waterfalls. It’s a privately owned attraction, opened to public since 1880, formed naturally in attractive South Cheyenne Canyon. We left for the Norris Penrose Event Center in the morning, our pickup point for the park. They don’t have parking space (only bike parking) at the park, so complimentary shuttle services are provided to the tourists from Norris Penrose Event Center. We reached at Norris Center which was bit difficult to find (poor GPS), parked our car in parking lot and waited for the shuttle. There was a long queue of tourists, all waiting for the shuttle. When the shuttle arrived, it got full soon and we were still behind in the queue. To our luck, somehow two seats were still unoccupied and people before us were in big groups so we were asked to on-board.
Park is about 4 miles from the Norris Center, so it didn’t take much time to reach there. At the entrance, again there was a long queue for tickets (wished this could have been done in center itself) in which we spent close to 1.5 hour (cap is recommended, there is no shade). Ticket price is 16$ per adult and they also have Tram facility (costing 2$ per adult) to reach the Fall which is about 1 mile walk from there. We wanted to opt for Tram after standing for so long, but didn’t have patience to be in another line for it(not to talk about their frequency ), so we decided to walk. Walk was actually a good option, as the place is surrounded by beautiful rock formations and creative structures giving opportunity for photography. We reached at the fall after taking enough time in the observation of surrounding. Seven Falls ,as name suggests , is a water stream falling down from height of 181 feet, forming 7 waterfalls, each with it’s unique name. To watch the falls from close, one has to climb the staircase having 224 stairs. Those who don’t want to or can’t climb the stairs, have the option to watch the fall from an observatory just opposite to the Falls. There are 2 trails, once you reach at the top. Beside watching the fall from top, hiking is a good option. We hiked a trail for few minutes ( didn’t complete it, so as to return on time ) and then returned to the view point.
We decided to head back to our hotel and before that checked the gift shop, which was actually pricey, also didn’t find anything attractive either. We bought two ice-creams from there and started walking (1 mile) towards the entrance. Queues were not yet done with us, now one more long queue for the shuttle. We waited in the queue for long and were very much tired. After 2 shuttles, our turn came and we were like dead in the bus. Shuttle dropped us at the Norris center and we drove back to our hotel.
Points to Consider :-
- Park is open all days except Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Be prepared for long, long queues.
- No parking at the park, except bikes.
- Shuttle is the only option, available from Norris center.
- Keep in mind, more time would be invested due to lines for shuttles, tickets and trams.
- Bring water
Activities to do :-
- Hiking trails
- Zip-lining (yes, it’s available, but at our time it was closed due to some reasons)
Park Fee :- 16 $ per adult
Next and last point was Garden Of The Gods , it is something you can’t miss, c’mon it’s GODS’ garden. As history goes, initially it used to be called as “Red Rock Corral”, but later on renamed to “Garden of the God” due to its wonderful rock formations. we explored whole garden by ourselves, without guide. There are various formations , each having unique name, unique structure, that will wonder you. Structures are made up of limestone, sandstone and conglomerate and are the results of the uplift of Rocky Mountains and Pikes Peak.
Park entry is free, we firstly went to Visitor Center, gathered information about the recreational activities and available tours. They have Segway tour, bus tour, rock climbing, mountain biking and few other activities. At that time in evening, nothing was available so we just visited the park.
What to expect in Visitor Center :-
- Booking for personal or group tours at the counter
- Information about the park, operational hours, it’s history and other facts
- Short movie on the history of park, every 20 mins
- Nice cafeteria with great view of park
- Exhibit for Geology, Plants, Wildlife and Native Americans
- Gift Shop
There are nearly 20 miles of trails, it’s kind of paradise for the hikers. We also spotted cyclists and skaters in the park. Rock-climbing is also a popular activity here, but we couldn’t do that due to lack of time. Trust me, it’s a heaven for photographers and nature- lovers. Pikes Peak can also be viewed from the park, it was amazing to see the peak from the park which we covered just in morning.
Activities to do :-
Park Entry :- free
After spending considerable amount of time, we returned to our hotel. It was a great experience, full of nature’s beauty. Colorado Springs is highly recommended destination, 1 or 2 days are enough to cover its beauty.
- Seven Falls can be covered at the end. Since they illuminate the fall with lights in night, it will definitely be an amazing experience . Also it will save some time to explore Garden Of The Gods.
- Other famous attractions -> The Incline, Manitou Cliff Dwellings and Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
Let us know, have you find this place interesting ? Are you planning to visit anytime soon ?
Happy Reading ! Keep Traveling !!!