10Best Day Trip: Explore Colorado Springs' Favorite Attractions

A fun-filled day that you won't soon forget

Denver Local Expert

Explore many of Colorado’s favorite attractions in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region. Here you’ll find Garden of the Gods, Pike’s Peak Cog Railway, Cave of the Winds, Seven Falls and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, just a few of the 55 attractions and activities in the Pikes Peak region. Colorado Springs is a short 75-minute drive south of Denver, and the ideal destination for a one-day trip.

Pikes Peak Cog, the world's highest! — Photo courtesy of Visit Colorado Springs
The second largest city in the state, Colorado Springs’ more than 300 days of annual sunshine create the complete destination for families, outdoor enthusiasts and couples. The majestic Pikes Peak never fails to inspire, but it’s just the tip of the extraordinary mix of geological wonders, developed attractions, historic marvels and adrenaline-pumping adventures.

Begin your day-cation with a visit to the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center. Browse the center’s more than 30 free exhibits, take in a nature talk and pick up a complimentary map. Then, prepare to be wowed in the 1,350-acre park and its 300-million-year-old rock formations with a hike, scenic drive or guided bus tour (small fee). Or take it all in – rugged, plush landscape, dramatic views, 300 foot towering sandstone rock formations – from the back of a horse, guided by the cowboys and cowgirls from Academy Riding Stables.

Horseback Riding in Garden of the Gods — Photo courtesy of Diana Rowe
Perhaps you’d rather spend your day reaching new heights? Pikes Peak stretches to an altitude of 14,115 feet above sea level. From the summit, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the Continental Divide, Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek. Take the Pikes Peak Highway, a 19-mile toll road, just 15 minutes west of Colorado Springs in Manitou Springs. Ascend the steep grades on the 9-mile historic and world’s highest Cog, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, and along the way, conductors are your story tellers sharing historical and geological facts on the three-hour round-trip train ride. Or if you’re up for a challenge, you can always hike or mountain bike your way to the top.

Take your adventure underground at the Cave of the Winds, a 500-million-year-old descent into the world of geology. Explore this subterranean Rocky Mountain natural wonder, and then add the Cave of the Winds' newest attraction, the Wind Walker Challenge Course, a cross between a zip line, jungle gym, maze and ropes course.

Cave of the Winds — Photo courtesy of Visit Colorado Springs
Get ready for Colorado Springs’ wild side by visiting the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. America’s only mountain zoo is set on 40 acres with an altitude of 6,800 feet. Get a bird’s eye view of the zoo by taking the 7-minute ride on the Mountaineer Sky Ride. You’ll need several hours to take it all in: 800 creatures and 150 individual species, including 30 endangered. Realistic habitats for the grizzly bear, bald eagle, moose, wolf, lynx, and mountain lion make it an even more unique visit. Save time to hand-feed the giraffes!

Colorado Springs is also home to a 181-foot waterfall, Seven Falls, located in Cheyenne Canyon. Open year-round, Seven Falls is a short drive from the zoo. Grab a quick lunch at the snack bar, and then hike 224 steps to get a closer look at the magnificent falls, or ride in the in-mountain elevator to the Eagles Nest Lookout. You may also enjoy a self-guided audio tour along the way.

One visit to the Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak region and you’ll discover that a day trip isn’t enough time to enjoy all the area’s attractions!

About Diana Rowe

Colorado Springs is a frequent getaway for Diana Rowe, but she often makes it a weekend getaway with accommodations at the historic Broadmoor hotel.

Read more about Diana Rowe here.

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