The Best Views in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region
Every view is a good view when it comes to living in Colorado Springs. However, there are a few that stand above the rest, sometimes quite literally. We know that part of the appeal of visiting the Pikes Peak region is to stare in wonder at the distant peaks, the formations of Garden of the Gods and the thick forests that fill every hillside. Our list of top views takes you near and (slightly) far from the city of Colorado Springs, giving you a chance to explore a variety of new scenery and new environments. We invite you to check this list off in its entirety. Let’s take a look together, shall we?
One View to Rule Them All—Pikes Peak
Let’s just get this out of the way first because Pikes Peak is the clear winner when it comes to the best view in the region. The summit of the mountain rises 14,115 feet above sea level and because it sits above the tree line, there is nothing to impede the astounding view that awaits. On a clear day, you can see five states from the summit. The Rocky Mountains stretch out endlessly before you and closer to home you can see Cripple Creek, Denver and Colorado Springs. The new Summit house allows you to check out some of the view from climate-controlled comfort. However, it is imperative you take the new accessible interpretive path outside that winds its way around the top of the summit. That’s where you’ll find helpful signage to identify what you’re looking at when you see lakes, buildings and other peaks.
You can achieve this unforgettable experience by taking the Pikes Peak Highway, which offers stopping points for selfies and tossing the occasional July snowball. You can also take the famous Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Visitors tend to love that option when they hear about the switch backs and nonexistent guard rails. Don’t let that deter you if you simply must drive. Though intimidating, the highway is completely safe.
The King of Canyon Views—The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
The Royal Gorge may be a little lower in elevation, but it provides high-quality views just the same. Once the world’s highest suspension bridge, this man-made marvel stretches out 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River and allows breathtaking views of the canyon, the rapids and the panorama beyond. In addition to viewing from the bridge itself, there are also points of interest that feature scenery and educational signage about the reason.
The Royal Gorge is a beautiful and easy drive south of Colorado Springs. Once there, you can cross the bridge on foot or ride in one of the covered gondolas that crosses the canyon. You can also zipline your way across, but we aren’t too sure how much you’ll see while screaming to the other side. We suggest you zipline across for the adrenaline and gondola back for the views. It’s worth noting that the Royal Gorge’s via ferrata climbing experience will also yield and incredible view and make for a unique experience.
A Climb-actic View—The Manitou Springs Incline
The Manitou Springs Incline is a feat that every able-bodied human should attempt at least once. Part of the charm—if you want to call it that—is the challenge itself. The Manitou Incline is a mind-blowing 2,744 stairs that bring you up 2,000 feet in elevation. It’s only about a mile to the top but it’s a doozy. However, once you have achieved success (and wept at the false summit), you will turn to face a view of the city and the plains beyond that is unmatched. The adrenaline boost of beating the Incline only enhances the awe. Take a selfie with the world behind you. You have certainly earned it. Then watch those knees because it’s off to Barr Trail for the much easier descent.
The Incline requires pre-registration to hike, so make sure you go online before you leave. The city of Manitou Springs has relentless parking enforcement to manage crowding of residential areas, so mind were you park. Your best bet is to park in Hiawatha Gardens and ride the shuttle to the base. You can also park on in other areas but keep in mind the hike could take several hours. You can also park on the outskirts of town and take a PikeRide to one of the shuttle stops. They’re electric, so they shouldn’t take too much out of your legs.
A Gold Mine of Great Views: Cripple Creek
The moment you make crest the last curve of the route to Cripple Creek, you’ll find yourself amazed at just how pretty this high mountain town is. Cripple Creek was once known for its hoard of precious metals; today it is known for its views. There is no best time of the year to visit Cripple Creek to catch these sights. In the summer and spring, the hills are covered in green grass, wildflowers and swaying aspen trees. In the fall, you can watch the hills fill with golden splendor as the aspens ready for winter. Even winter brings its own unique beauty, with views of snow-covered peaks in the distance and the charming town all around.
You can get to Cripple Creek by heading west from Colorado Springs via Highway 24. In Divide, you’ll turn left on CO-67 and continue through the mountains until you reach the town. If you have 4WD or AWD and a little more time, you can also navigate Gold Camp Road to reach the town the way travelers once did.
We hope you get out there and see all there is to see on your next visit to the Pikes Peak region. This list of top views is a fantastic way to do just that.