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Colorado Springs is a place best described as the Goldilocks of travel destinations. It’s Colorado’s second-largest city but by no means feels crowded. It’s far enough away from the state’s central hub in Denver but isn’t inaccessible. It’s got plenty of green spaces but also has an urban center where you’ll find luxe accommodations and restaurants worthy of your reservation. Colorado Springs is a place where you can do it all, with something for every kind of traveler. It’s also a place filled with immense beauty, making it little surprise that poet Katharine Lee Bates wrote “America the Beautiful” while vacationing in Colorado Springs in 1883. Here’s what you need to know to plan your own awe-inspiring getaway to Colorado Springs.
Related: The 10 Best Small Towns in Colorado
What to Know About Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs is one hour south of Denver, at the eastern foot of the Rocky Mountains, and the city sits at an elevation of 6,035 feet.
The weather in Colorado Springs can vary greatly depending on the season. According to WeatherSpark, the warm season in Colorado Springs is typically between early June to mid-September, when the average daily high hits about or above 76°F. The hottest month is July, with an average high of 84°F.
In contrast, WeatherSpark reports that the cold season is typically experienced from late November to early March when the average daily high rarely hits past 51°F. The coldest month is December.
When visiting Colorado Springs, it’s a good idea to rent a car. The entire city is 195 square miles, and some of its most well-known attractions are only accessible by car. Enterprise, Budget, Avis, and several other car rental companies operate in the area, making finding a ride a snap.
When to Go to Colorado Springs
The best time to go to Colorado Springs depends on what kind of fun you’re after. The spring offers visitors the chance to check out the rebirth of the destination. As the snow melts, it gives way to verdant landscapes and a few wildflowers poking out of the earth. Summer offers warmer temperatures that make for ideal days spent on the hiking and mountain biking trails, while fall provides visitors the opportunity to go leaf peeping in some of the best fall foliage landscapes in America. And in winter, visitors can plan trips to nearby ski resorts, with several world-class destinations like Breckenridge and Winter Park within a two-hour drive.
The town also hosts several stellar festivals and races throughout the year, including the Pikes Peak Marathon in September and the Cripple Creek Ice Festival in the winter, when ice sculptors come out in droves to show off their coolest creations for the whole town to see. So really, there’s no bad time to visit. Just times that may be better for you and your travel desires.
Things to Do in Colorado Springs
See the U.S. Air Force Academy and Chapel
The chapel is closed for renovations through at least 2027. However, we wanted to still note the attraction for both your future trips and its importance to the area. The chapel is a stunning architectural treat soaring some 150 feet into the air. The all-faith chapel serves every religion to ensure the cadets at the academy can all come to worship. Designed by Walter A. Netsch Jr. of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill of Chicago, the chapel is made of aluminum, glass, and steel and features 17 spires. The chapel website notes that there is “no significance to this number,” but rather that the original designs were too expensive. Thus the number of spires fell to 17 to keep the cost to a minimum. Come catch a glimpse of it from the outside, and stay tuned to its website for opening date details.
Hike Pikes Peak
Get your heart racing in more ways than one with a hike up Pikes Peak. The 13.5-mile Barr Trail will take you to the top of the peak, which clocks out at 14,115 feet in elevation. Though difficult, the hike rewards those who make it to the top with a view that just won’t quit. Not feeling the hike? You can still reach the summit by driving up the 19-mile Pikes Peak Highway, making the vista accessible to everyone.
Ride the Broadmoor Cog Railway Train
One more way to experience the gorgeous Pikes Peak area is by hopping aboard the Broadmoor Cog Railway Train. The train takes guests on a nine-mile journey more than 14,000 feet above sea level through Ruxton Creek in Englemann Canyon and Deer Park, with views of Minnehaha Falls along the way. The best part is that every seat is the best seat on the train, thanks to the massive picture windows that allow guests to soak it all in. Grab a snack — like a glazed donut in the winter or a popsicle in the summer — at the depot before the ride up.
Explore Garden of the Gods Park
Hang on, we aren’t done talking about the great outdoors in Colorado Springs just yet. During your stay, take a little time to visit Garden of the Gods Park, which comes with 15 miles of varied hiking trails, including the 1.5-mile Perkins Central Garden Trail, a paved trail ideal for those utilizing wheelchairs or strollers. Guests here really are spoiled with choice when it comes to how they see the park, including via Jeep tours, e-bike excursions, and even horseback. Visitors can also get a bird’s eye view by taking a rock climbing lesson with a local outfitter. While hanging off the side of a cliff, try to spot a few of the park’s famed birds, including the red-tailed hawk, prairie falcon, and broad-tailed hummingbird.
Colorado Springs Hotels
Treat yourself to something special with a luxury stay at The Broadmoor. The more than 100-year-old property is like a mini city with several cafes and restaurants to choose from, two world-class golf courses to play, a full-service spa, and accommodations ranging from traditional hotel rooms to suites, cottages, an estate house, and brownstones that are large enough for entire extended families and even boast their own three-car garages. The hotel also offers a range of wilderness accommodations, including its Ranch at Emerald Valley, an all-inclusive getaway that has 13 perfectly appointed cabins surrounded by miles of hiking and biking trails.
Garden of the Gods Resort and Club
As the Garden of the Gods Resort and Club website boldly states, here, “recreation and relaxation reign supreme.” The resort’s 56 rooms all offer some of the most stunning views in Colorado Springs — including views of Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. The resort also offers a comprehensive wellness program, including health assessments and wellness concierge treatments, alongside more traditional spa services like massages and facials.
The Mining Exchange, A Wyndham Grand Hotel
Want a more centrally located stay? Check into The Mining Exchange, A Wyndham Grand Hotel located in the center of downtown Colorado Springs. The granite building was originally built as the stock exchange for local mining companies and pays homage to its past with little touches like its antique piano in the lobby and its leather-clad meeting spaces, which guests can use for their next corporate event. The hotel also has a spacious spa so guests can choose to unwind their way after a long day of either work or play.
How to Get to Colorado Springs
Getting to Colorado Springs is relatively easy. Visitors can fly into Denver International Airport and rent a car from here for the 90-minute drive. The town also has a regional airport, serviced by Southwest and United, which both offer non-stop service to and from destinations like Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City.