Winter Itinerary

4 DAYS OF EXPLORING IN THE WINTER
Day 1

Manitou Springs, the heart of chill

Manitou has a vibe we can’t put into words.  You’ll just have to come experience it for yourself.

Day 2

Epic Beauty Awaits​

Enjoy one of most awe-inspiring natural attractions in the country.

Day 3

Royal Gorge, Short for Royally Gorgeous

You’ve seen our wonderfully tall mountains, now check out our gorges!

Day 4

Garden of the Gods

You can’t miss one of the top parks in the country.

Day 1

Nestled in at the base of Pikes Peak

Start your chill vacation in the heart of Colorado's coolest vibe: Manitou Springs
snow in manitou springs

Historic Manitou Springs​

We joke that Manitou functions on a slightly slower time table than the rest of the region — we call it Manitou Time.  Where Colorado Springs may all seem like it’s in a great big hurry, the attitude is generally less rushed in this lovely little town. That doesn’t mean the citizens of this little berg are lazy, far from it!  These folks run up the Manitou Incline before the rest of us have even had our morning coffee, but that just happens to be how they start their day, and there’s no urgency, just enjoyment.  Calm friendliness is just as contagious as stress and anxiety, so if you’re looking for a place to get away from the grind, Manitou Time may be just what the doctor ordered. 

Besides a glorious backdrop and easy-going residents, Manitou Springs also has a superb downtown, perfect for shopping, dining or people watching.  All of the businesses in the historic district are locally owned, so you’ll find galleries, restaurants and boutiques unlike any you’ve seen elsewhere.  The town’s namesake, it’s eight mineral springs, are also great fun to hunt down.  Think of it as a natural scavenger hunt! The springs are all cold, drinkable, and believed to have great health benefits.  Each has a slightly different mineral composition so it’s fun to try them all and find your favorite.  Maps and cups for the mineral springs can be picked up at the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce.

Garden of the Gods Trading Post

Located on the Southwest edge of the world famous Garden of the Gods, the Trading Post has so many different facets, it literally has something for everyone in your group to enjoy.  From the moment you step out of your car, the charm of the building itself will have you intrigued. Originally built to resemble a Native American Pueblo in 1929, complete with original murals, the first room of the Trading Post will inspire shoppers, history lovers and dreamers alike.  As you move through the different rooms of this expansive shop, you’ll find everything from coffee mugs and t-shirts, to handmade jewelry and locally made art — and a huge selection of it all. There’s plenty of touristy souvenir things to choose from, but there is SO much more. Locals who are in-the-know use the Trading Post as their go-to shop for gifts, knowing they’ll find something perfect and unique for every occasion and every budget.

If shopping is not your thing, never fear, there’s lots for you to do here as well.  The history of the Trading Post is so fascinating there are whole books written about them.  Spend some time wandering through their history section and searching for murals throughout the building.  There’s a great selection of books, including the one about their history, where you can learn all sorts of interesting things about the area.  And finally, if you just need a place to kick up your feet and enjoy the Colorado sunshine, they have a beautifully landscaped back patio.  Grab a locally crafted beer or Starbucks coffee, pull a chair up by the fountain and listen to the wind in the cottonwood trees.  The Garden of the Gods Trading Post is just the oasis your chill-seeking soul has been looking for!

garden of the gods trading post
Day 2

Epic Beauty Awaits

Enjoy adventure with altitude (and sweets)
Pikes-Peak-Highway

Drive Pikes Peak - America's Mountain

Even in the winter, you can enjoy the panorama of Colorado’s gorgeous countryside from 14,115 feet. The highway itself is its own special treat, with frequent spots to pull over and enjoy a hike (wear a hat, the wind can be pretty cold). Many animals will still be visible this time of year, which makes for great photo opportunities. At the summit, you can finally binge on delicious donuts while surveying breathtaking views.

Old Colorado City

With all the excitement of Royal Gorge, we think it’s time to chill out with a relaxing afternoon of shopping and sightseeing. Old Colorado City has tons of cool, locally owned shops selling unique gifts and great eats. Take a trip through Magic Town while you’re there and enjoy the finely detailed miniatures of artist Michael Garmin. You can pick up a sculpture of your own in the gift shop.

Holiday Shopping Old Colorado City
Day 3

Royal Gorge, Short for Royally Gorgeous

Unparalleled views and fun activities await!
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

The Royal Gorge is an epic suspension bridge with dizzying views of a thousand-foot drop into the Arkansas River. Bring your big memory card, because you’ll want to capture every bit of the scenery with your camera. When the weather is reasonable, there are multiple exhilarating rides open, too! The Sky Coaster will fly you out over the canyon in a breathtaking free-fall. Or, keep it tame and drift in style in the much calmer gondolas. Kids will love the Tommy Knocker Playland, so there’s something for every age and stage of adventurer.

Day 4

A day in and near Garden of the Gods

Explore via horse and later, spend the afternoon in a cave

Academy Riding Stables

The friendly horses of Academy Riding Stables never let a little chilly weather make them sad. They add an extra layer of adorable fluff to their coats! That means they’re ready to ride all year long, winter included (safe conditions, of course). Bundle up in warm gear and set off on an unforgettable tour led by some of the best guides around. It’s one of the most enjoyable ways to explore the much-loved Garden of the Gods.

academy riding stables
cave of the winds open for thanksgiving

Cave of the Winds Mountain Park

For indoor fun that’s still technically outdoors, take a tour of Cave of the Winds. Learn the history of this geologic marvel on a half-mile regular tour or the more adventurous lantern tour (limited days for lantern tours). When you’re done with caverns, you can take a breathtaking plunge into Williams Canyon on the Terror-Dactyl. You’ll fly at a whopping 100 miles per hour and the free fall will keep your heart pumping long after you’ve been hauled back to safety.

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