Things to do in Colorado Springs
Are you looking for things to do in Colorado Springs?
You have come to the right place. We love Colorado Springs after living here for over 32 years we believe it is our responsibility to clue you in on the best local things to do, events, attractions, places to go, and on the top of our list is outdoor places to explore. Colorado Springs has many valuable resources such as a world-class trail system, incredible wildlife to watch and plenty of things to do that are unique to Colorado Springs and southern Colorado.
The following is a list of things to do in and around Colorado Springs. The sections are broken down by category:
- Annual Events
With so many great things to do in Colorado Springs, whether you live here, or are just visiting, we recommend starting with the outdoors. When we first came here in 1986, with our young children, we went to Helen Hunt Falls. And we couldn't believe how beautiful it was and for some reason, the clarity of the water really got to us. We thought, how in the world is that water so clear!? It is pretty incredible how clear Cheyenne Creek is, so if you haven't seen it, make sure to head up into North Cheyenne Canon park to check it out!
There is a reason Garden of the Gods park was voted the second best park in the country! Because it is an incredible place! Garden of the Gods is truly special, with incredible rock formations, plenty of wildlife to watch, and if you are there at the right time an impressive view of Pikes Peak. The following is our guide to the outdoors in Colorado. If you are looking for a more comprehensive database of outdoor opportunities in Colorado check out LocaWild.
Garden of the Gods - Garden of the Gods is the obvious top pick as it is one of the most iconic sights in all of Colorado. With more than 15 miles of trails including a one and a half miles of wheelchair accessible trails. With gorgeous views everywhere you look Garden of the Gods is always sure to impress. One of our favorite activities or things to do in Garden of the Gods Park is to ride through the park on a Segway. Adventure's Out West offers many other great things to do in and around Colorado Springs.
North Cheyenne Canon Park - North Cheyenne Canon Park is a gateway to the Front Range Rocky Mountains. With easy access to Pike National Forest, North Cheyenne Canon Park has everything you need from short day hikes to longer trail-runs, mountain bike rides and even great access to through hikes like the Intemann Trail. One of our favorite places to take visitors to the city is Helen Hunt Falls. From the original time we visited the falls on our first trip to Colorado, until today, the falls are always a reminder of how beautiful our natural surrounding are around Colorado Springs and how lucky we are to live here.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space - Red Rock Canyon Open Space is situated near Manitou Springs and West Colorado Springs. The park has beautiful hiking and biking trails surrounded by red rocks and what once was a rock quarry. There is a small pond that is a popular place to photograph while the pond is often still and the red rocks reflect off the glass-like water creates a very picturesque scene. Our favorite trails in the open space include Roundup Trail and Hogback Valley Trail. See the trail map here.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park - This incredible landscape became a state park only 18 years ago! This park has incredible amenities such as RV campsites, bathrooms, tent sites, archery range and even a 3D archery course! We love Cheyenne Mountain State Park because it is so slow to where we live in Broadmoor Bluffs. It is always an interesting place that always provides a breathtaking view of Cheyenne Mountain. Make sure to keep an eye on the Friends of Cheyenne Mountain State Park's website for the latest events and programs at the park.
Castlewood Canyon State Park - Castlewood Canyon State Park is a short drive from Colorado Springs and provides an entirely different landscape. With meandering canyon lands that always yield an interesting view. Unfortunately, there is no camping at Castlewood Canyon State Park however, there is always a wealth of wildlife watching opportunities. From the plentiful populations of raptors, you are likely to see migratory songbirds, migratory waterfowl as well as Mule deer, coyote, cottontail rabbit, porcupine, and even red fox and ground squirrel. If you are lucky you may even see mountain black bear and elk migrating through the park.
Paint Mines Interpretive Site - Paint Mines Interpretive Site is a truly unique place with incredible natural rock formations that hold an entire palate of colors ranging from yellow, pink, orange and red. When you add a colorful Colorado Sunset Paint Mines really turns into a photographers dream. If infinite possibilities to positions your camera, subject, and background. This location is one of our favorites and always yields a spectacular view looking back at the mountains.
Fox Run Regional Park - Placed within Black Forest, Fox Run Regional Park is a great place to get lost in the woods! Not really, as the park is surrounded by private property, however, the woods in Black Forest as so interesting as they are mostly mature pine trees such as lodgepole pines, ponderosa pines, and if you are lucky you may see Colorado's state tree: Blue Spruce. Additionally, you will find a wealth of wildlife with trails winding throughout the park.
Fountain Creek Park - This place is by far our favorite to take younger kids to. The nature center is a perfect place to take kids. Even for a cold snowy day in the winter, the Fountain Creek Nature Center is a great place to take your kids to learn about the riparian habitat the center is built around. With large cottonwoods and riparian corridor of Fountain Creek the walking path leads you over wetlands you otherwise wouldn't be able to access. Really this place is truly an asset to the community.
Pike National Forest - From Tarryall Creek, Elevenmile Canyon to Rampart Range Road and Pikes Peak, Pike National Forest seems to have it all. Catch lunker wild brown trout in the South Platte River in South Park, Elevenmile Canyon or below Lake George, Colorado where you can also find world-class four-wheel trails, hunting, hiking and camping. Whether you have an RV or just love getting off the road and away from other people there ample opportunities for everyone who loves spending time in the outdoors.
Arapaho National Forest - From the high peaks of Byers Peak, Guanella Pass, Mount Evans and Mount Bierstadt to name a few Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest are situated only a couple hour drive from Colorado Springs where you can find plenty of camping, fishing, hunting, hiking and wildlife watching. Also, enjoy great Colorado things to do like geocaching, mountain biking, stand up paddle boarding and even white water rafting in Clear Creek.
San Isabel National Forest - One of the most spectacular national forests in the state San Isabel National Forest has some of our favorite Colorado destinations in it. From fourteeners with plenty of alpine lakes and high country streams and creek that are sure to satisfy the fisher in you.
San Juan National Forest - If you love super dramatic mountains with high mountain tundra, ridgelines and peaks that hold incredible beauty then San Juan National Forest is for you. This place is truly breathtaking. It's huge too! With over 1.8 million acres in the southwestern corner of Colorado. San Juan National Forest is worth the 4-hour drive from Colorado Springs. Depending on where you go that could be 6 hours. However, in our opinion, it is worth every penny you will spend on gas and the time spent in the car!
White River National Forest - White River National Forest is by far the biggest national forest in Colorado with over 2.3 Millon acres! The national forest is named after the White River and the White River Elk herd in Colorado and Wyoming is the biggest Elk herd in all of North America.
Florrisant Fossil Beds - Florrisant Fossil Beds is truly a unique experience everyone will enjoy. Whether you are interested in the history of the earth or just love getting outside this natural and wild space has so many things to teach you. From learning about homesteading in original homesteading homes from the late 1800's where you can really get a sense of what it was like to live in that era surround by pristine wilderness. Enjoy 15 miles of trails, guided programs, activities for families and night sky programs.
Great Sand Dunes National Park - If you like feeling like you are on the set of Star Wars then Great Sand Dunes National Park is the place for you. This place has a very distinct and out of this world type of feel to it. With massive piles of sand the size of large mountains with actual large mountains sitting directly behind the dunes.
Curecanti National Monument - From Blue Mesa Reservoir to the Gunnison River and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument Curecanti National Monument has a ton of outdoor recreational opportunities from fishing, hiking, camping, paddle sports and a lot of wildlife watching opportunities.
USAF - The United States Air Force Academy is more than just a military academy. It is the largest college campus in the country! From the vast landscape filled with forests, meadows, and rolling hills that lead up into the Front Range Rocky Mountains to the historical airplanes on display and incredible buildings like the Air Force Chapel this place is a must-see. We love to go to Air Force Football games in the fall. These games are unlike any other college football game with the only performing mascot the Air Force Falcon! The band always has an entertaining act and the flyovers are truly unreal!
USOTC - The United States Olympic training center is a special place to visit. There is a reason the USTC is located in Colorado Springs. So athletes can train at a high elevation where the air is thin with less oxygen. This allows athletes to perform at peak performance. When visitors come to town we always bring them to the USOTC visitors center where you can take a guided tour of the impressive facilities.
Pikes Peak - There is a reason Pike's Peak is called "America's Mountain!" Katharine Lee Bates originally wrote the words to America the Beautiful as a poem while she was on the summit of Pike's Peak in 1910. Supposedly, the words were originally written as a poem while she was on top of Pike's Peak the words came to her and she immediately wrote them down which later turned into the patriotic song "America the Beautiful."
North Pole - The North Pole Colorado - Santa's Workshop - is a must-see for families with children under 12 or so. We love taking our grandkids the North Pole to meet Santa himself, ride all sorts of great rides for kids and our favorite is the huge slide that twirls around a candy cane and you get to ride down in a potato sack. You can also ride the highest (elevation 7,500) Ferris wheel in the world! The Ferris wheel is set on the top of a mountainside that overlooks Ute Valley and holds absolutely breathtaking views when the wheel heads to the top.
Museums - Colorado Springs has a wide array of museum's set to please any curious individual looking to learn and discover new things. Some of our favorite museum's to visit include the Colorado Springs Pioneer's Museum, Ghost Town Museum, Western Museum of Mining and the National Museum of World War II Aviation. Our absolute favorite museum to take the kids is the Colorado Springs Bug Museum. Otherwise known as the May Natural History Museum, which has the largest collection of insects available to learn about and view.
Manitou Springs - If you love quirky little towns with funky shops, restaurants and interesting things to see and do then Manitou Springs is the perfect spot for you! We love taking out of town visitors to Manitou Springs because it is truly unique and offers so many different fun things to do. From the Manitou Incline where world-class athletes train to the famous Manitou Penny Arcade where, believe it or not, you can still play arcade games for a penny!
International Events - Colorado Springs has many annual, international events that bring people from all over the world. America's second longest-running motorsports event is the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb where racers from all over the world show up to race in the highest motorsport event in the world. The event happens annually in June. Another event that climbs America's Mountain is the Pikes Peak Marathon. The highest marathon in the world this event is a true test of endurance. The marathon occurs annually in August.
Local Events - Among some of the best local events in Colorado Springs include the annual Western Street Breakfast, The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo and Territory Days which is a Memorial Day celebration.
Outdoor Events - With nearly endless outdoor places to visit along the Front Range Rocky Mountains and Eastern Plains near Colorado Springs there are also many events that take place with breathtaking natural views. These events include the Bighorn Sheep Day at Garden of the Gods Park where they offer guided nature hikes and a kids craft fair. Keep your eyes peeled for Colorado's State Mammal: Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep as a resident herd lives just west of the park and are known to come into the park to feed and mate in the early winter months. If you are lucky you will be able to see Rams (males) butt heads in their annual mating ritual. Lastly, one of the more interesting events to attend in the winter around Colorado Springs is the Cripple Creek Ice Fest. With ice sculptures surrounding the streets, this is a super-fun event for both kids and adults alike.
For more information on annual events in Colorado Springs check out our GUIDE TO ANNUAL EVENTS.
Does living near all these great things to do interest you? Be sure to contact Joe Clement to help you find the best Colorado Springs properties!