Find yourself immersed in the rich history of Colorado Springs where the past comes to life in this region nestled at the base of breathtaking Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain. Founded as a resort town in 1871 by Civil War hero General William Jackson Palmer, Colorado Springs is home to spectacular natural beauty like Garden of the Gods Park, Seven Falls and North Cheyenne Canyon. The area is also home of patriotic icons like the U. S. Air Force Academy and the U. S. Olympic Training Center. With more than 300 days of annual sunshine, a mild climate and more than 55 attractions and activities, it is an ideal escape.
Enjoy unique tours, eclectic museums, exciting events and impressive architecture that take you back to the days of the American West. Discover over 4,000 artifacts on display at the 27-acre indoor/outdoor Western Museum of Mining & Industry exhibit site, which includes a ten-stamp ore mill, multi-purpose center, theater and a 5,000-volume research library. The entire complex is an exciting and exceptional tool for learning about Colorado history, mining and industrial technology, geology and the environment.
Another popular stop is the ProRodeo Hall of Fame & Museum of the American Cowboy, showcasing tributes to cowboys (men and women) participating in the professional sport of rodeo, including live rodeo animals and special exhibits. Afterwards, make the trip to the heart of Downtown to visit the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, housed in the beautifully restored 1903 El Paso County Courthouse, to learn the unique western history and culture of the region. Then, make your way into Old Colorado City, the first capitol of the Colorado Territory in 1861. View the refurbished architecture, unique boutiques and dining. Authentic Bar-B-Q is a must. Satisfy your craving at casual but tasty choices like Rudy’s, Front Range or Dickey’s BBQ.
After lunch, arrive at Academy Riding Stables for their famed tour through Garden of the Gods Park via horseback. Whether an experienced rider or just a beginner, their trained guidess have the knowledge and skill to ensure an amazing experience. Historic Manitou Springs is nearby. You can sample the natural mineral springs scattered throughout town.. A short drive up scenic Highway 67 to Cripple Creek offers a chance to relive the days of the famous Pikes Peak or Bust Gold Rush. Make sure to jump on the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad. This steam locomotive takes a four-mile trip through the historic gold mining district. Once back at the station, seek out Bennett Avenue, have lunch, and even make a gamble or two in one of the town’s 15 casinos. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the wild donkey herd that roams the area.
If you’d prefer a faster-paced option then join the guides of Pikes Peak Mountain Bike Tours and the Stables at The Broadmoor for their Saddle Up, Pedal Down package. The two have partnered up to offer a day of adventure not soon forgotten. The day includes a horseback ride with the Stables at the Broadmoor to take in the crisp mountain air and beautiful scenery. When done, a guide will drop you off for a “Bike Gold Camp” tour. This unique opportunity is a great way to squeeze in a couple of the most popular attractions in Colorado Springs all in one excursion.
Fill up on a hot breakfast at The Cliff House at Pikes Peak, the second oldest (ca 1874) operating hotel in Colorado, where famed Buffalo Bill Cody once stayed. The property even has a designated celebrity suite dedicated to Buffalo Bill. The room tapers at the ceiling to feel like a real tipi and western-themed art adorns the walls. Then, make the short journey to one of the region’s nearby working cattle ranches to live the life of a real cowboy (or girl). Families have come to places like the Triple B Ranch for over 60 years to enjoy Rocky Mountain views, western style hospitality and to relax and play in the shadow of Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain. These real working ranches provide a hands-on, seat in the saddle adventure. The ranches offer as much or as little as guests would like. With horseback riding, cattle drives, ice cream socials and nightly activities, it is a sweet taste of the old west.
The area is home to western-themed events including Territory Days, Territory Days began in 1975 as the “Rampart Range Sertoma Territory Days Parade and Buffalo Barbeque”. In 1976 the named was changed to Territory Days to commemorate Old Colorado City as the first capitol of the Colorado Territory in 1861. Territory Days has grown from a small neighborhood craft fair into a three-day celebration of local crafts, fine arts, food and drink, that boasts approximately 100,000 visitors annually, and is a wonderful opportunity to dance, pan for gold, enjoy numerous street performers and get some serious people-watching under your belt.
Every July, real working cowboys compete in the annual Ride for the Brand Championship Ranch Rodeo. Competitors make an entrance with the long-horn cattle drive down the main street of the city. The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo Days aren’t far behind. Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo is one of the top rodeos in the U.S. and draws over 500 of the best cowboys and cowgirls from across the country to compete for nearly $200,000 in prize money. This Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Rodeo is one of the nation’s premier competitions sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). Close to 30,000 fans come out to see action-packed events such as bull riding, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, and everyone’s favorite – mutton bustin’. Outside the arena there is also much to enjoy from pony rides, mutton bustin’ tryouts, performing pigs, great food, and shopping.
Whether you’re looking for the old, or new west, this gorgeous Colorado destination is the perfect escape. Start planning your adventure at VisitCOS.com today.