There are so many things to do on your Colorado vacation, you don’t want to miss out on a must-see attraction because you didn’t make a reservation. Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region are incredibly popular travel destinations and many of our favorite places only have so many seats a day. We don’t want you to miss out on your top vacation attractions, so we’ve compiled a list of places in Colorado Springs and the greater Pikes Peak region that either require reservations or are best booked ahead.
Echo Canyon River Expeditions
White water rafting is a pretty intense experience, even for beginners and there are only so many rafts and guides available that an outfitter can put on the water in one day. As such, Echo Canyon, which is an easy drive southwest of Colorado Springs, offers online booking (or you can call to book) so you have the opportunity to review all of the options and find your perfect trip. Plan an exhilarating romp down the river or an easy-breezy family float led by friendly, experienced guides all from the comfort of your living room — it will help you save energy for paddling!
Challenge Unlimited - Pikes Peak by Bike
Want to cruise down a fourteener by bicycle? Challenge Unlimited wants to be your guide — but you’ll have to make a reservation, first. Offering two rides a day (weather permitting), Challenge Unlimited provides the bikes, gear and a ride to the summit of Pikes Peak—America’s Mountain from downtown Colorado Springs. The lead you all the way down the highway where you’re fed a tasty meal and then transported back to your car. Space is limited for each ride, hence the need to book ahead.
Academy Riding Stables
The Wild West would not be complete without a few saddled-up horses to ride along the range. Academy Riding Stables is the only riding stable in Garden of the Gods which means it’s the only way you’ll get to tour the area on horseback. It doesn’t hurt that it has some of the prettiest, friendliest equine pals anyone could hope to ride — and their guides aren’t too shabby either. They allow online booking for their one- and two-hour scenic rides which also include interesting commentary on the animals, rock formations and plant life in the region.
Pikes Peak Tour by Gray Line
The Pikes Peak Tour by Gray Line is a relaxing, climate-controlled ride in a comfortable tour bus that will take you all the way to the summit of Pikes Peak. They even make several stops to allow you to snap photos and check out aspects of the mountain’s different life zones. It’s the perfect trip for those who don’t enjoy navigating the hairpin turns of the Pikes Peak Highway. Speaking of the Pikes Peak Highway, you are not required to make a reservation to drive yourself. You are just required to make a reservation if you want to let Gray Line take the reins while you chill out and watch the scenery pass by. We recommend that everyone try the tour at least once. There’s something about letting someone else handle the driving that allows you to really immerse yourself in the beauty of the mountain. Not only that, Gray Line helps you navigate the peak times to travel to the summit and eliminates worries about parking, which is limited as the Summit House reaches completion. Please note that Gray Line is not located on the base of Pikes Peak.
Iron Springs Chateau
You may hate drama, but we guarantee that you’ll love melodrama. The Irons Springs Chateau has been entertaining families visiting Manitou Springs for 60 years with their hilarious, engaging plays that include audience participation, a vaudeville intermission and other cool antics. Booking ahead means that you won’t miss out on the fun and it means you can add on a nice dinner beforehand. Their plays change often, so you’ll always be able to catch something you have not seen before.
Miramont Castle High Tea
The high tea at Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs is incredibly popular and their special events typically sell out within days of being announced. The regular high tea is spectacular without any added holiday festivities, so if you happen to miss out on a specialty tea, you can console yourself with four courses: large scones with jam and cream, fruit with lemon curd, four tasty tea sandwiches and a plate of delicate desserts. Oh, and two types of tea, of course.
Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
Reservations are not required for most of the Cave of the Winds cave tours, but they are definitely recommended. Adventure experiences like the Via Ferrata canyon tour that allows you to scale the cliffs beside the cave are popular and reserving your spot means you won’t be left waiting or worse, stuck without a chance to try it. One tour that does require reservations is the Caving 101 Tour. You get to explore the undeveloped areas of the Manitou Grand Caverns complete with crawling, climbing and mud, plus a lesson on basic spelunking. It’s a tour that lasts a little over two hours and it offers a safe-yet-exciting caving experience you won’t find anywhere else in the Pikes Peak region.
Adventures Out West
Jeep tours, ziplines, hot air balloons and Segway tours make Adventures Out West a one-stop shop for all your Colorado desires. Booking ahead allows you to create the ultimate Colorado experience so all you have to do is show up and enjoy your Rocky Mountain adventure. They even team up with other attractions like Challenge Unlimited and Pikes Peak so you can combine experiences and maximize your fun. Their tours are small, which adds an extra layer of awesome that cannot be beat. Please note that Adventures Out West is not located at the base of Pikes Peak.
As we close out this list of Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak regional attractions that require reservations (or for which reservation are highly recommended) it’s also important to remember to call ahead if you cannot make your reservation and let the attraction know. Your spot can go to someone else who thought they missed out and completely make their day!