Planning the perfect vacation can be tricky, but we’re here to help! We chat with visitors from all over the world , and a few questions come up again and again. We’ve compiled our Greatest Hits to help with your planning, but if you don’t see your question, feel free to shoot us an email or call us and we’ll be happy to help. That’s literally the reason why we’re here. We LOVE this beautiful place, and we’re so excited to share it with you. Welcome!
Q. What should I pack?
A. Layers, layers, layers. Depending on the time of year and your planned activities, it’s not unheard of to experience a 40 degree change in temperature in one day. Yes. You read that correctly. From Colorado Springs to the summit of Pikes Peak is typically a 30-40 degree drop in temperature. Cave of the Winds stays crisp 54 degrees year around, and several of our attractions are at higher elevations. We have beautiful mild weather most of the year, which means that you will probably want a t-shirt in the middle of the day in our not-summer months. Pack layers, be comfy, have a MUCH better time all around!
Here are a few of our must haves all year long, but check out our Season’s Pages for more info:
- Umbrella (or waterproof jacket)
- Hat (with brim for sun protection)
- Wear effective sunscreen
- Dress in layers
- Sturdy shoes
Q. How long does it take for a round trip to the top of Pikes Peak?
A. The round trip is a solid 2 hours of driving time, but you’re going to want to get out and enjoy the view along the way and of course at the summit. Plan for at least 3 hours, or more if you plan to hike, fish, or snap a shot of Big Foot.
Q. What else do I need to know about visiting the Pikes Peak region?
A. A common misconception about Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region is that our winters and heavy snowfall begin in November or December. October, November, December and many days in January and February are still sunny and relatively mild. The biggest difference between these months and our summers is that the temperatures are just lower, with mornings and evenings at times cold enough for a heavy jacket. However, the days can still be sunny, with temperatures in the 40s, 50s, and sometimes 60s.
We’re also a sub-alpine desert, which means we’re higher in elevation with very little humidity. The good news: the heat is dry and the cold does NOT chill you to your bones. A few important things you need to know:
- Colorado Springs sits at just over 6,000′ above sea level, so get plenty of rest.
- Avoid higher elevations for the first day or two to adjust.
- Go easy on the alcohol (which can be tricky with all our great breweries and distilleries!)
- Wear sunscreen.
- Drink lots of water.
- Bring lotion and chapstick.
Q. How many days does it take to visit all of your attractions?
A. We could give you 3 things to do a day and you’d still need more than a week to get to everything — and that’s if you were going full tilt. Chances are good you don’t have a full week to play in the Pikes Peak region, so check out some of our pre-built itineraries or sort our attractions by categories to find the best ones for you and your crew!
Q. What are the prices and hours of operation for each attraction?
A. For a complete list of prices and hours of operation on each attraction visit the attraction prices page. Prices and hours change for some of the attractions depending on the season, so feel free to reach out to us if you’re planning for a future season.
Q. How much time can I spend at each attraction?
A. The following is the minimum amount of time you should allow yourself at each attraction.
|Academy Riding Stables||1-2 Hours|
|Adventures Out West||2-4 Hours|
|Cave of the Winds||1.5-2 Hours|
|Challenge Unlimited-Pikes Peak by Bike||2-6 Hours|
|Cheyenne Mountain Zoo||2-3 Hours|
|Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad||1 Hour|
|Cripple Creek Heritage Center||1 Hour|
|Echo Canyon River Expeditions||3-6 Hours|
|Garden of the Gods Trading Post||1 Hour|
|Ghost Town Museum||1 Hour|
|Historic Manitou Springs||1-3 Hours|
|Iron Springs Melodrama Dinner Theatre||2.5 Hours|
|Manitou Cliff Dwellings||1.5 Hours|
|May Natural History Museum||1 Hour|
|Miramont Castle Museum||30 min-1 Hour|
|Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine||1.5 Hours|
|North Pole-Santa’s Workshop||2-3 Hours|
|Old Colorado City||1-3 Hours|
|Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain||3-5 Hours|
|Pikes Peak Tour by Gray Line||4 Hours|
|ProRodeo Hall of Fame||1 Hour|
|Royal Gorge Bridge and Park||3 Hours|
|Seven Falls||1-2 Hours|
|Space Foundation Discovery Center||1-2 Hours|
|Western Museum of Mining and Industry||1-2 Hours|
Q. Do any of the attractions offer coupons?
A. Yes, many of the attractions do offer coupons. To check out our coupon page, click here.
Q. What attractions are open year-round?
A. Many of the attractions around Colorado Springs are open year round. Click here to see all the attractions that are open year-round.
Q. Do I need reservations for any of them?
A. There are a few attractions that highly recommend advance reservations. We recommend you visiting the individual attractions’ pages on our site, but these are the ones you should call ahead to make a reservation:
- Academy Riding Stables
- Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
- Challenge Unlimited- Pikes Peak by Bike
- Echo Canyon River Expeditions
- Iron Springs Melodrama Dinner Theatre
All of their numbers and websites can be found on their attraction page.
Q. What is the closest airport?
A. Colorado Springs has a great local airport with lots of direct flights, and many hotels provide transportation to and from the airport. The great thing about flying in and out of Colorado Springs, the lines are short and so’s the drive, so you can spend more time doing and less time waiting!
You can also fly into Denver International Airport (DIA), and drive down to Colorado Springs. It takes about an hour / hour and a half to get down here and we’d recommend renting a car if you go that route.
Q. What is the distance from Colorado Springs to other destinations?
Canon City: 45 miles, 50-65 minutes
Fort Collins: 132 miles, about 2.5-3 hours
Cripple Creek: 45 miles, 50-65 minutes
Grand Junction: 287 miles
Denver: 65 miles, 1-1.5 hours
Pueblo: 42 miles, 1 hour
Durango: 302 miles, 4.5-5 hours
Trinidad: 127 miles, 2.5-3 hours
Estes Park: 138 miles, 3-3.5 hours
(These times and distances are approximate)
Q. How can I avoid high altitude sickness? And what are the symptoms?
A. Since many of the mountains in the Pikes Peak region rise to 14,000 feet and most attractions on average are located at 7,000 feet above sea level, the altitude can produce some unusual sensations. The symptoms for altitude illness include a headache, touch of nausea, feeling unusually tired, or experiencing shortness of breath. One of the most important things visitors to the Pikes Peak region should know about altitude sickness is that it can be significantly minimized or even prevented by following these simple guidelines while traveling:
- Stay below 7,000 feet the first day (the city of Colorado Springs is 6,035 feet above sea level and Canon City is 5,332 feet above sea level)
- When sightseeing, work your way up to higher altitudes
- Avoid strenuous exercise the first day
- Drink more water than usual since your body will dehydrate more quickly
- Reduce alcohol intake, which has a greater effect at this altitude
- Avoid salty foods
- Give your body time to adjust (there is a lot to see and do at the lower altitude levels)
If you follow these simple suggestions, you are sure to enjoy each day of your vacation.