Destination: Colorado Springs

Thursday, August 9, 2012
Destination: Colorado Springs, Colorado

When we visited:  July 2012

Why to go:  Directly off the major highway leading southbound from Denver, Colorado Springs is home to two of the most beautiful landscapes in the southwest – Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods.

What to See:  The highlight of any visit to Colorado Springs has to be a trip up Pikes Peak.  At 14,110 feet, it's one of the highest elevations we've travelled to.  Even after spending a couple of days in Denver to acclimatize to a higher elevation, we were warned to take it easy going up. 


The other warning we received was to take warm clothes.  I felt ridiculous, putting on my capris and carrying a sweater as I left the hotel in 91 degree (F) heat.  But I’d read that there can be a 30 degree temperature difference between the base and the peak, and that sounded pretty cold. 

The drive up is a bit white-knuckle, as some sections of the road have nothing between it and a free-fall to the base.  But the view is so stunning that it’s easy to see why it inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write the words to “America the Beautiful”.  From the peak, the scenery unfolds for miles and miles in every direction.

And I was glad for that sweater, as the temperature had plummeted to 52 degrees – nearly a  40 degree difference! 

After leaving the peak, we stopped at several overlooks on the way down for more pictures.  At the final one, we had the good luck to meet one of the firemen who had fought the catastrophic forest fires that burned so much of the Colorado Springs area earlier this summer.  It was incredible to see the landscape through his eyes.  From this lower elevation, he pointed out a red line of fire retardant that had been dropped from a plane.  On one side of the line, the vegetation was completely burned out; on the other side, it was green and fertile.

As if that wasn’t enough, we next drove to the nearby Garden of the Gods to see the beautifully sculptured sandstone rocks.  Eerily lovely, the red cliffs thrust into the blue sky, providing an unforgettable panorama.

Where to Stay:  We spent a night at the lovely Cliff House in Manitou Springs, just west of Colorado Springs and on the doorstep of Pikes Peak.  The room was quite small, but we didn’t care as we spent virtually all our time in Colorado Springs outside.  And although the staff was all young, the service was amazing!

Where to Eat:  Because we arrived in town around noon and almost immediately left for Pikes Peak, I had pre-ordered picnic lunches from the Cliff House.  We ate them partway up the peak, and enjoyed a hearty lunch with an awesome view.  And continuing what was working, we had a delicious dinner on the Verandah of the Cliff House.


35 comments:

LDH said...

Oh, now here is a place where I have been. I was pregnant with our youngest daughter and it was a little hard breathing way up top. I remember we were told to pull over during the descent as our car breaks were over heating.

I also remember peering over the edge where there was no guardrail. Scary for sure!

Did you visit the Red Rocks Amphitheatre?

SirisFood said...

Good one

Beth said...

I would have loved to, Lorraine, if we'd had more time. Maybe I'll get back another time and see a concert!

Carol said...

Stunning views! Breathtaking shots. I'm not a fan of the white knuckle drives to get there though. Makes me so nervous.

grace said...

what glorious pictures! i haven't done any touring out west, but considering what i've seen through pictures, colorado springs is definitely high on my list of vacation destinations!

Bonnie said...

Your photographs are beautiful. Roger had the chance to go up Pike's Peak last week and said the same thing in regards to the elevation. I hate I didn't get to go.

Valerie said...

Zebulon Pike is somehow related to me on my mom's side of the family. (I'll have to ask her for more details.) Unfortunately, I've never had the privilege of visiting Colorado, but it looks breathtaking! I love the rugged beauty of the Garden of the Gods!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Of all the places you've been to, I've been here. :D

The Golden Eagle said...

It looks amazing. I love the view of the lake through the trees!

Ellen B Cookery said...

Thanks for sharing your pictures. Denver looks beautiful!

Jess said...

I've wanted to stay at the Cliff House (or nearby Briarhurst Manor), but haven't had the opportunity. Glad you got a chance to visit my neck of the woods!

Beth said...

Me too, Jess. It's a beautiful part of the country!

And Valerie, you'll have to fill me in on the Zebulon Pike connection!

Lynda Olsen said...

Such gorgeous pictures Beth. I grew up in Colo. and we went to Colorado Springs to do our shopping. I loved the Garden of the Gods, the zoo and other beautiful places. I'm homesick now, but glad you had such a lovely time!

Monet said...

Oh! I'm in Colorado Springs right now. It's where I grew up and will always remain a magical place for me. Thank you for sharing, Beth!

Victoria said...

I love Colorado Springs! I've only been there once with my family, but I remember the places you've described. We had such a good time there. We also visiting the US Olympic facility and the US Figure Skating Association (I used to skate, haha). Really a gorgeous place :-D Glad you guys had a good time!

Barbara said...

Beautiful, Beth! Hard to believe, but I've never been there. Looks like you had a wonderful time.

Pacheco Patty said...

Love this trip, I'm adding this as a side trip when we visit Denver next Summer, thanks for all the info Beth...I'm looking forward to seeing the sights myself!

Lizzy Do said...

I love visiting Colorado...so it was fun to "join" you on your trip! Have a wonderful weekend, Beth!

Cucina49 said...

Lovely photos--it's been ages since I've been in that part of the country, and I think I'm due for a trip back.

yummychunklet said...

What gorgeous scenery!

Guru Uru said...

Beautiful place my friend :D
Thanks for sharing!

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Food Gal said...

What gorgeous scenery. I've never been to Colorado, so thanks for letting me visit vicariously. ;)

Mary said...

I love Colorado's scenery. Parts of the state are just breathtaking. I'm headed back to CO to visit my best friend next month and I can hardly wait!

profiterolesandponytails said...

What beautiful photos! We've just returned from a mountain adventure in Alberta. However, we didn't have a white knuckle drive to the peaks -- we went by gondola! Hope you had a great break. The mountains are inspiring aren't they?

nancy at good food matters said...

I would love to visit there. I have heard that Colorado Springs has the reputation of being the healthiest and happiest place in the United States.

artofnaturalliving.com said...

I haven't been to Colorado in ages. Great pics!

Jemi Fraser said...

I'd love to visit Colorado one day - so many pretty sights! :)

Kittie Howard said...

Great photos of a great place, Beth! I love Colorado Springs because it's got heart. One of my sisters lives down the road in Denver. She's thinking of moving to CS.

Kitchen Riffs said...

Oh, I haven't been to Colorado Springs for at least a decade. Pike's Peak is such a thrill, and the entire area is loaded with scenery. I really envy you - such a great trip you're having!

Angela Felsted said...

Colorado Springs is gorgeous, and you look lovely too. I hope that as I grow in maturity and wisdom that I can keep a nice trim figure like you. :-)

sweetandcrumby.com said...

How lovely...what a nice time in Colorado.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Glad to hear you had such a wonderful trip! Your photos of the area are gorgeous. We just went to Colorado in July, too. It was beautiful, and so nice to be in the mountains in the heat of the summer.

Beth said...

Thanks, Angela. You made my day!

Kathy said...

Your photos are stunning! Such a beautiful place! Your vacation sounds wonderful!

lisa is cooking said...

I can't believe I've never been to Pike's Peak! Next visit to Colorado, I have to visit. Your photos are fantastic.

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