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Welcome to Colorful Colorado: What to Do in Colorado Springs

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Traveling the globe for years, we’ve seen some incredible places. But at the base of America’s mountain, Pikes Peak, is a great little city called Colorado Springs. While most people think of Denver and Vail first when they think of Colorado, this sprawling city is vibrant and filled with fun things to do indoors and out. Fall is a great time to visit, too, especially with the colorful fall foliage and moderate temperatures. Whether you’re traveling solo or with friends or family, here are some of the top things to see and do in Colorado Springs.

Olympic Training Center

Many Olympians train in Colorado Springs. The higher altitude helps prepare them for competitions all over the world. Swimmers, gymnasts, skiers, and more have all been through Colorado Springs at some point in their training. You can walk by the outside of their facility and, when they have open hours, there are also free tours available of some of the buildings.

Pikes Peak

This beauty towers over the city. In the winter, it’s topped with a snowy white cap, but the autumn season means it’s dotted with brilliant yellows because of the aspen trees changing colors. You can hike, drive, or take a train to the top of this majestic 14er. You’ll find very little oxygen, a small store, and the most incredible views when you get to the summit of Pikes Peak. No doubt, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world with the panoramic views of everything around you.hikes in Colorado Springs

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

For animal lovers, Colorado Springs has a unique zoo experience to offer. You can feed the giraffes and elephants, see the lions, check out the roaring tiger, and so much more. This location is so unique because of the terrain. It’s built into the side of a mountain, which means you’ll be hiking a lot. There are trolleys and sky rides to help you get to the top if climbing steep hills is not your thing. And most importantly, many of the habitats were designed to be more natural and also improve the quality of life for the animals in their care.

The Manitou Springs Incline

Hidden on the side of the mountain is a 0.88-mile hike, with a 2,000 foot gain in elevation. This means it feels almost straight up. This hike is built on top of an old railroad line and uses railroad ties as steps to help you get to the top. You can either hike back down the steep path or take a longer, but more level, and winding path back to your car. The altitude at the top is over 8,000 feet, so this hike isn’t for beginners or people who aren’t already used to the elevation.

Garden of the Gods

Take a walk through history at the Garden of the Gods. These red rock formations are famous because of their splendor. This free park has paved paths through the main portion of the rocks. There are other trails along the outskirts where you can hike up and get the perfect panoramic view. Bring your camera for this one, because you’ll definitely want to take pictures.hikes in Colorado Springs

Great Wolf Lodge

For some fun, rest, and relaxation, check out Colorado Springs’s Great Wolf Lodge. There are activities for adults and kids and with the largest local indoor waterpark, you’re bound to have a ton of fun. In addition to the well-known kids’ activities, you’ll find tasty food, comfortable rooms with entertainment, and for the adults? Spa time, wine, and more.

Hike to the Paint Mines

Just outside of Colorado Springs, you’ll find this unique and interesting 3.4-mile hike – one of the most beautiful hikes in Colorado Springs! It’s a geological and archaeological marvel that locals love. Walk around these interesting rock formations with brilliant colors and you get a brief walk through history. Native Americans once used these grounds, and early settlers would extract clay from the mines for pottery. It’s a one-of-a-kind location and a relatively easy hike.

Other Things to Do in Colorado Springs

You’ll find many more interesting local sites like the Cave of the Winds, axe throwing, bumper cars, and countless hiking and biking trails. Pack your garment bag and stay at the luxurious Broadmoor Hotel. The beauty of the mountains, easy access to skiing locations, and more make this an appealing place to visit. The fall colors make it especially stunning, but with more than 300 days of sunlight a year, there is always something to do, both indoors and out.red rock colorado

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Polaroid of the week: Rock Climber at Eldorado Canyon, Colorado

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polaroid of the week usa colorado el dorado rock climberWe arrived in Colorado last week to perfect fall weather and took advantage of the blue skies and sunny days by going on a lot of hikes and walks in the mountains. One of the best hikes this past weekend was a trail along the steep rocks of Eldorado Canyon, where we watched dozens of rock climbers conquering the enormous sheer red walls of the canyon. Can you spot the climber in the photo?

With temperatures over 80 degrees, many of the climbers were comfortably climbing in bare feet. It was hard to believe that ski season begins here next month! The snow covered peaks of the Rocky Mountains are so breathtaking, there is no question why so many ski lovers come to Aspen or Vail!

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Polaroid of the week: The cutest prairie dog in Colorado

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polaroid of the week usa colorado prairie dogI have a bit of weakness for the cuter rodent varieties we always see in the US, like squirrels, which Jess does not quite comprehend. But when we went to Colorado together for the first time last Fall, I noticed these furry little rodents popping their heads out of holes in the ground everywhere along the roads in the Denver / Boulder area.

We learned that these are prairie dogs, which I had never heard of and was instantly fascinated by…but even Jess can’t get enough of watching them! To be honest, they are really fascinating creatures when you know a bit more about them. Prairie dogs create complicated tunnels and chambers underground, with exits marked by mounds of packed dirt on the surface. Inside these underground burrows, there are sleeping quarters, nurseries, even toilets! The largest ‘prairie dog town’ ever found was located in Texas (everything’s bigger in Texas, of course!). It covered 25,000 miles and was home to four million prairie dogs. Out where we were, our favorite group prairie dogs were working with a little over two acres worth of suburban space.

The minute you get too close, one brave soul stands erect on top of one of their holes and lets out a long, shrill yelp. This alerts their builder buddies to the stranger danger, and everyone makes a mad dash for the nearest tunnel. The town crier stays out until the very last minute before dropping down and joining his friends. Even though these little guys are great at protecting their communities, due to the massive conversion of the Great Plains into pastureland in the last century, the number of prairie dogs has been reduced over 98 per cent from their once 5 billion strong population.

Naturally scared of humans, the biggest threat to their existence, they are difficult to photograph, but when we returned to Colorado last month, I found a good way to watch them without disturbing them: like paparazzi with a long lens out of the car window. This is how I got the shot of this little cutie!

Do you think they are as cute as I do?

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