Use this guide to help you build your custom itinerary for your visit! Whether your in town for a day or a week, there are plenty of things for everyone to enjoy, and many ways to occupy your time here in Manitou Springs.
Along with all of the attractions listed below, Manitou is surrounded by dozens hiking trails that take you through the beautiful canyons of Colorado. Whether you’re looking for scenic trails in Cheyenne Cañon, Garden of the Gods, or Red Rock Canyon, or you’re looking for more of a challenge in Barr Trail or the Incline, Manitou Springs has a variety of hiking options for every skill level.
Our Visitors Center is staffed by volunteers who have an immense amount of knowledge about every attraction listed here, so feel free to stop in and ask any questions you may have! You can also call during business hours at (800) 642-2567.
In Manitou Springs
Manitou Springs Historic Downtown District – The perfect way to spend a relaxing morning, day or evening, our historic downtown district is full of unique shops, restaurants, and galleries in a quaint, quirky small-town atmosphere. Grab a bite to eat or an ice cream cone and experience one of Colorado’s coolest small towns nestled at the foot of Pikes Peak.
Mineral Springs Walking Tours – You can drink from 11 of our preserved springs. Known throughout the world for their healing powers, each has different iron and mineral content, making them all taste slightly different, and they are all naturally carbonated! Some favorites are Seven Minute Spring (we make sparkling lemonade from it), Twin Spring & Stratton Spring. Allow about 1-1.5 hours to walk between the springs & stroll through our Historic Downtown District. Tip: Stop by the Visitors Center for a free map & tasting cups!
Penny Arcade – Located on the Northwest side of town (Behind Patsy’s) is one of the oldest Penny Arcades in the country. The Arcade features many, many games dating back to the 40’s 50’ and 60’s, many still only a penny or nickel, as well as modern day arcade favorites. Skeeball, Sharp Shooting, Pinball, Fortune Teller, and more, it’s all here at the Famous Penny Arcade. You can spend anywhere from a 1/2 hour to all day in the Penny Arcade! Tip: Great for people of all ages, from kids to adults!
Miramont Castle – A Victorian Historic Landmark, built by a French Priest in 1895. It represents 9 styles of Victorian architecture, and has a beautiful Tea Room where you can lunch from 11-4pm. There is also the new W.A Bell Hose, Hook & Ladder Fire Department Museum featuring artifacts from the early 1800’s to present day. There is much history here and many ghost stories. Allow 1-1.5 hours to take in the entire castle.
Manitou Cliff Dwellings – These are the actual Cliff Dwellings of the Anasazi Indians. This site is now a preserved museum. You do this as a self guided tour and we recommend at least 1 – 1 ½ hours, more if you really take your time.
In Surrounding Areas
Garden of the Gods – Our 1350 acre FREE City Park features 19 unique and magnificent red rock formations, and is just a short 5-10 minute drive from Manitou. Historic Balanced rock has been visited since the 1800’s. The park is a must see! Make sure you stop through the Visitor’s & Nature Center and take in the 12 minute HD presentation that gives you an incredible history of how these formations came to be. You can drive the park and stop along the way, which will take about 45 minutes, but we strongly recommend that you take in at least one of the easy to navigate trails. Feel free to pack a picnic lunch, arrive early and spend a few hours (or as much time as you want). Don’t forget you camera!
Horseback Riding – Take a horseback ride through Garden of the Gods with the Academy Riding Stables. They are located in the park via the Beckers Lane entrance. This is a beautiful way to see the park from a totally different perspective. Other horse back riding is available in Woodland Park at the Triple B Ranch. With Academy Riding Stables, choose from 1- or 2-hour guided rides.
Seven Falls – Seven Falls is in Colorado Springs, near the Broadmoor Hotel, about a 20 minute drive from Manitou Springs. Seven cascading falls in one running a distance of 181 feet. You can climb the 224 step stairway to the top or view it from the Mountain Elevator. This is just more of Colorado’s natural scenic beauties. Aside from the falls, there is a wonderful hiking trail at the top of the falls that leads to Midnight Falls and incredible views of the City and the Great Plains. Give yourself at least one hour or more if you want to take in the trails.
Serenity Springs Wildlife Center – Located less than an hour from Manitou Springs in Calhan, Serenity Springs is home to over 120 wildcats including lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, bobcats and servals. It is the only facility in Colorado to be granted a zoological license. Tours are about an hour. Tip: Reservations are required!
Ghost Town Museum – Located on the corner of Cimarron and 21st Street in Colorado Springs, is an authentic 1800’s western ghost town preserved as a museum. This is not a recreation but the actual buildings, saloon, general store etc. from some of the west’s original Wild West towns. Give yourself at least 1 hour.
Rock Ledge Range Historic Site – A living history museum illustrating four historical periods of the Pikes Peak Region from the American Indian Encampment through 1907. Located in Colorado Springs at 30th-street entrance to Garden of the Gods. Give yourself about 1-1.5 hours unless there is a special event. Tip: Several special events are held there throughout the year, so check to see if there is something special going on during the time you plan to visit.
Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center – A working intervention facility, the CWWC has saved wolves and hybrids from horrific conditions, mostly from thoughtless individuals who thought they could actually raise a wild wolf. Foxes are also part of this compound. Fees vary for different tours of the facility. Located in Divide, about 45 minutes from Manitou Springs on Highway 24 West. Tours run about 45 minutes.
Dinosaur Resource Center – Displays of Dinosaurs, marine and flying reptiles and fish of North America’s Cretaceous world. Located in Woodland Park, about 20 minutes from Manitou. Allow about 1–1.5 hours to enjoy this attraction.
May Natural History Museum – If insects are your thing then The May Museum is a must see. 7000 giant tropical insects and related creatures on display. Located nearby in Colorado Springs. Leave about 1 – 1 ½ hours.
Air Force Academy – In Colorado Springs about 20 minutes from Manitou Springs. Tour the Nation’s Best! Tours are free & open to the public. Located at the north end of Colorado Springs. Allow at least an hour to take it in.
US Olympic Training Center – Free tours of where America’s best athletes train! Very worthwhile and free to the public, located in Colorado Springs. Allow about an hour.
In Manitou Springs
Pikes Peak Cog Railway – Another way of going up to the summit of Pikes Peak, the Cog Railway takes you up a different side of the mountain than the Highway, and provides you with a very different set of views on the way up! For those that prefer a more guided trip, the tour guides at the Cog are very knowledgeable about the history of the area, the views, and the Cog Railway itself. The train ride is about 3 hours and 20 minutes round trip, including approximately 30 for visitors to spend at the summit. Important Tips: Reservations are required in advance, and trains depart from the Cog Railway Depot and specific times throughout the day. Drink water on your way up, bring a sweatshirt, and enjoy the ride!
Cave of the Winds – Discovered by two young boys in 1881, for centuries water persisted against the internal rocks to leave behind a crystalline trail. The Cave is an underground mansion of rooms and passages filled with limestone stalactites and flowstone curtains. This is a guided tour and lasts about 50 minutes but plan on 1 ½ hours total. Definitely a sight if you’ve never experienced any natural caves. They offer a standard Discovery Tour, or for the more adventurous, the Lantern Tour, which is at night. Also new to this attraction is the WindWalker Challenge, a walking obstacle course high above Williams Canyon and the Bat-A-Pult which launches you on a 650 foot round trip flight across Williams Canyon. If you take it all in, plan on about 2-2.5 hours.
Iron Spring Chateau Melodrama – If you like good old-fashioned entertainment, check out this great theatre that offers dinner and a show thats fun for the whole family! Call for reservations. Dinner begins at 6pm, shows begin at 8pm. You may choose to go for dinner, a show, or both!
Santa’s Workshop/North Pole – A Christmas-themed amusement park, great for kids! Plan to spend at least a few hours here with your family.
In Surrounding Areas
Pikes Peak Highway – One of two ways to get to the 14,100ft summit of Pikes Peak (minus hiking!). The Pikes Peak Highway is a 19-mile road with 156 turns, and is now fully paved all the way to the top! The entrance to the highway is in Cascade, about 4 miles from Manitou, and is open year-round (weather-permitting). Make sure to stop in the summit house and try a high-altitude donut! Bring your camera and take in the most beautiful views of the region! It takes about 2 hours round-trip, depending on how much time you spend at the summit. Important Tips: Drink water on your way up the mountain to avoid altitude sickness. Bring a sweatshirt, as it is typically around 30 degrees cooler at the summit than at the base of the mountain. Make sure you have plenty of gas in your car, and be careful of your break temperature on the way down. If your breaks are over 300 degrees at our checkpoint, we will ask you to pull over and wait for them to cool off as a safety precaution.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo – Located in close proximity to Seven Falls in Colorado Springs, the zoo is the only Mountain Zoo in the US! It is a very well-run facility, with a variety of animal exhibitions, from giraffes to gorillas and everything in between, and wonderful panoramic views of the city. Included with the admission is entrance to the Will Rogers Shrine high atop Cheyenne Mountain. Give yourself at least three hours. Great for kids!
Flying W Ranch – THE FLYING W RANCH IS CURRENTLY CLOSED DUE TO THE WALDO CANYON FIRE. THEY PLAN TO REOPEN SO CHECK BACK SOON.
Royal Gorge Route Railroad – The Royal Gorge Route offers both lunch and dinner trains as well as murder mystery trains. They also offer morning rides. It’s a great scenic ride through the Royal Gorge in Canon City, with a great view of the Royal Gorge Bridge way above. Saturday morning trains are a delight and can be enjoyed in the First Class Parlor car with the beautiful scenery. Train rides are about 2 hours, and leave from Cañon City which his about 1hr and 20min away from Manitou Springs.
1/2 Day – Full Day
In Manitou Springs
Adventures Out West – If you like adventure you can also Zip Line with Adventures Out West. They offer multiple Zip Lines. Located on the far west side of Manitou Avenue, tours are offered everyday, year round. Adventures Out West also offers Segway Tours of Seven Falls and Garden of the Gods, Hot Air Balloon Rides and Cowboy Jeep Tours of Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods.
In Surrounding Areas
CityRock Rock Climbing – If rock climbing is your thing or you want to try it for the first time, CityRock is the place to go. Outdoor guided climbs offered in Garden of the Gods, Red Rock Canyon, Cheyenne Canon, Castlewood Canyon, and others. Indoor climbing classes also offered. Half-day or full-day outdoor trips available.
Rockhound ATV Rentals – For even more adventure try renting an ATV and explore the off-road trails. If you are up to it take a guided tour bike ride down from the Summit of Pikes Peak.
Royal Gorge Bridge & Park – Located in Cañon City, the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park offers more than 360 acres and 21 rides, as well as panoramic views from one of the world’s highest suspension bridges – hanging 956 feet high and spanning a quarter mile across the canyon. If amusement park rides aren’t for you, the bridge is a sight to see in and of itself.
White Water Rafting – Rafting opportunities available 1 hour from Manitou Springs at the Arkansas River in Cañon City or about 2 hours away in Buena Vista. Several difficulty levels offered, from beginner to advanced. Water runs great in spring and summer from the winter snowfalls melting. Tips: Morning tours leave the rest of the day for lunch and a nice drive back. Remember the rules of rafting; the water is best when the levels are high so June and early July bring the roughest waters.
Cripple Creek – A scenic one-hour drive from Manitou Springs. Although this 1800’s town has been converted to mostly casinos, it is worth the drive even if you are not into gambling. The easy winding road gives you incredible views of Pikes Peak. Once you arrive the old west buildings bring you back in time. The Old Homestead Museum was one of the original brothels in the area, and the Cripple Creek District Museum contains a wealth of history on the area. The Butte Opera House has live year-round theater performances, and just further south you come upon the old, almost deserted mining town of Victor, again very historic and a trip back in time. A tour of an active mine is available. You can also take the train ride on the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad which is about a 45 minute trip. On the way there or back you can also take in the original Molly Kathleen Gold mine tour. Tip: Watch out for the wild mules on the side of the roads.