Colorado has a reputation for being a state that’s home to a lot of outdoorsy people, and it’s no wonder why! There’s so much natural beauty to be found here that people naturally want to experience it all. One of the state’s most breathtaking landscapes can be found near Colorado Springs, where striking red rocks, lush waterfalls, and ancient dwellings all wait to be explored.
Colorado isn’t all red rocks. Hidden in a 1,250-foot natural box canyon is Seven Falls. Take the 224 man-made steps to see a series of waterfalls, which includes the only waterfall in Colorado listed on National Geographic’s list of international wonders. Other hikes here take you to more waterfalls and scenic overlooks that are definitely worth the effort. And if you’re looking for something extra thrilling, try the zip-line over the canyon. It’ll make for an unforgettable experience—especially for kids.
Start your trip at the completely awe-inspiring Garden of the Gods. This National Natural Landmark has lots of trails that range from short and sweet to more intense, but they all let you take in the beauty of the rock formations bursting up from the ground. The scenery is nearly indescribable, but it certainly makes you want to stay in this peaceful place forever. Remember to bring along your gear if you’re looking for some epic rock climbing, too. Unwind after exploring by taking in the views and a free film at the visitor center. Bonus: Garden of the Gods is free to visit!
Canyons, ridges, and scrubby greenery provide a stunning backdrop for hiking, biking, climbing, and horseback riding at Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Novice to expert hikers can feel at home, and there’s plenty of parking to make the space accessible. Plus, the history here is fascinating. Learn about Native Americans, gold mines, railroads, and more on the 3.7-mile historic loop trail.
History and natural beauty collide again at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings in nearby Manitou Springs. Spend a few hours in the well-preserved ruins, learn about the people who built the structures, and take in the jaw-dropping views from the cliff.
You’ll probably be exhausted after all of that outdoor fun, so you’ll need a nice place to get a good-night’s sleep. That’s where the Holiday Inn near the Colorado Springs Airport comes in. Soak your weary muscles in the whirlpool, relax by the lobby fireplace, and order up some room service in the morning. It’s a relaxing end to a full day of adventure!
After all of that hiking and climbing, you’ve earned a drink or two. Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. is located in a historic building and serves up award-winning craft beers. They usually have between 10 and 13 on tap, so go for a flight (and sample as many as you can) and tasty pub grub. You can tell they put just as much thought into the food as they do the beer: Everything is delicious! They also have darts and an entire billiards hall, so it’s easy to spend a few hours here.
If you want to spread out the fun, visit one of the quirkiest restaurants in Colorado Springs. Solo’s, also known as “The Airplane Restaurant,” is an eatery housed in a 1953 Boeing KC-97 tanker, which will delight kids and plane-loving adults alike. Pictures and memorabilia add to the experience of eating here, and the solid menu of American grub will keep you going on your road trip.
Whether you’re hiking, biking, climbing, or just taking in the fresh air and natural beauty, Colorado is an incredible place. Even just a small taste of the wonders found here makes for an unforgettable adventure.
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