Your Pikes Peak or Bust Bucket List

Sip and stroll

Each of Manitou Springs’ eight effervescent cold-water drinking springs has a different mineral content and slightly different bouquet.  Stop in the Manitou Springs Visitor Center for a map of the springs walking tour. Call 719-685-5089 or stop in at the Manitou Springs Visitor Center at 354 Manitou Ave for tour information.

Get a birds-eye view at 14,115 ft

There are many ways to explore Pikes Peak.  Take the Cog Railroad, hike to the top via Barr Trail or the Crags Trail, arrange for a guided jeep tour, bike it, or drive your own car.  

Jump off a cliff

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, we’ve got adventures for you! Head to Cave of the Winds for a wild ride on the Terror-dactyl, where you free fall off the edge of a 200-foot cliff at nearly 100 mph. If ziplining is more your speed, then check out Adventures Out West, Royal Gorge Bridge, Royal Gorge Rafting & Zipline Tours or Seven Falls for blood-pumping zipline adventures.

Visit Garden of the Gods

No visit to the Pikes Peak Region would be complete without a stop at the Garden of the Gods. Start at the Visitor Center at the east entrance and learn how this amazing scenery was formed. Then, arrange for a Jeep or Segway tour, take a trail ride on horseback or rent a mountain bike. Stop for a souvenir and lunch at the historic Garden of the Gods Trading Post. Don’t forget to take a photo of yourself “holding up” Balanced Rock!

 Soak at SunWater Spa

Make some time for yourself and enjoy a soak in a mineral hot tub at foot of Pikes Peak when you visit SunWater Spa. Suggested rotation: soak in the heated saltwater hot tub, followed by a quick plunge into the cold pool, then a trip to the sauna for the full pampered experience. Take a snooze in an outdoor hammock before you leave.

Hike the incline

This hike is not for beginners or young children. The Incline follows the old narrow gauge railbed cut straight up the steep side of Mount Manitou. In the first mile, elevation increases by 2000’. Trail grade is 68% in some sections. If you go…drink lots of water, set a steady pace, wear good shoes, layers and plenty of sunscreen (there is no shade). Maybe you’ll find 1/3 of a mile of the Incline is enough for you. If so, there is no shame in taking the Barr Trail cutoff on the left near the first false summit. Pets are not allowed.

Get to know a wolf

Head to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center in Divide for a tour of rescued wolves, coyotes and foxes. They guarantee an up-close view of the beautiful, majestic and elusive wolf. The center focuses on conservation, education, and preservation.

Raft the Arkansas River

When summer heat hits, Coloradans head to the river. Adventure seekers and families alike enjoy white water rafting, floats or kayaking.  The Arkansas River is the closest and one of the best places in the state to experience the thrill of riding the water. Check out pages 24 and 28 for a list of rafting outfitters, ready to take you on the ride of your life!

Watch the Coffin Races

Each year on the Saturday before Halloween, the streets of Manitou Springs crawl with macabre coffin racers and thousands of enthusiastic spectators celebrating the fabled Emma Crawford and her coffin that washed down Red Mountain.  Dress in your Halloween best.  Stay for live music and family fun. Come early to save a spot and avoid the last-minute rush for the shuttles.

Feed a giraffe

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is home to the largest herd of giraffes at any zoo. Don’t miss the early morning “stampede” as the giraffes are released from the barn. Visitors can purchase healthy giraffe snacks and hand-feed them.

Visit a paleontology lab

Woodland Park is home to the Dinosaur Resource Center, a world-class museum and working paleontology lab. Take a guided tour and learn about dinosaurs, prehistoric marine reptiles, pterosaurs and fish of North America’s late Cretaceous period, then watch paleontologists painstakingly uncover actual fossils.

Mission to Mars

Test your robotic programming skills in the simulated Martian terrain at the Mars Lab at Space Foundation Discovery Center. The Mars Lab uses LEGO® NXT equipment and MINDSTORMS® software to simulate lifelike Mars rover missions.