Are you a tourist or a traveler?

Published: February 16, 2022

5 ways to travel responsibly in Manitou Springs

We’re no stranger to bucket lists. In 2021 alone, Manitou Springs dawned USA Today’s Top 10 Best Small Town Art Scenes in America and was ranked one of the friendliest cities in the country by Expedia. It goes without saying—but we feel the love! With so many visitors to our mountain town each year, it’s more important than ever to experience Manitou like a traveler—not just a tourist. And since 87% of you want to travel more responsibly, we thought we’d help you level up your travel etiquette. 

From tourist to traveler:

Take the high road—literally.

Flying leaves a Bigfoot-sized carbon footprint in its wake. If you’re visiting us from a nearby state, opt to drive—which cuts down on your trip’s fuel and environmental costs. Take advantage of our free shuttles into Downtown Manitou and public e-bikes from PikeRide—which are easy on the eyes and the environment. If you do travel by plane, book a non-stop flight into Colorado Springs for the most direct route and the fewest emissions.

Take it from the characters at Iron Springs Chateau Melodrama: when it comes to roadtripping—the more the merrier. 

Find a meal that’s more Colorado than Flying W Ranch’s western Chuckwagon spread of smoked meats and all the fixin’s.

From tourist to traveler:

Eat like the locals.

There’s a time and a place for Chili’s honey chipotle chicken crispers. But why not eat like a local when you’re in town? A small purchase makes a big difference to the local community and offers the chance to sample regional flavors. Looking to spice things up? You can put our famous green chili on just about anything—including a smothered breakfast burrito at Adam’s Mountain Cafe.

From tourist to traveler:

It's electric—boogie woogie woogie.

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as casually passing a hard-working, skinsuit-clad cyclist while on an e-bike going up a hill. Ditch the driving and experience Garden of the Gods on electric bikes with E-Bike Tours and Rentals. And with parking in the garden like a game of Tetris in the summer, you’ll be glad you’re on two wheels.

The real gold isn’t in the mines—it’s on the trees. For prime leaf-peeping, book an ATV tour in late September or early October.

From tourist to traveler:

Crowds cramp your style? Travel in the off-season.

Summer vacations are so last year. Responsible travelers are opting to travel in the Fall and Winter—which supports the local economy and protects our trails and wildlife from the effects of over-tourism. And as temperatures drop, Manitou Springs transforms into a snowglobe of winter magic—straight out of the cheesiest Hallmark movie.

Leaf-peeping like you live here: The locals know exactly when—and where—to catch the leaves changing. Mueller State Park and Rampart Reservoir are just a few of our favorite spots and are relatively short, scenic drives from Manitou.

From tourist to traveler:

Follow the path well-traveled. Stay on trails.

Robert Frost really romanticized taking the road less traveled. And while it may be tempting to veer from the beaten path—our local flora and wildlife thank you for keeping to the trail. With more than 377 miles of trails, it’s not difficult to find yourself fully immersed in nature.

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