Winter in the Pikes Peak Region

Day 3

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Winter itinerary

It may be winter, but every Coloradan knows that cold weather isn’t going to put a stop to our fun. We wear flip-flops in the snow and sweatshirts to ski, for crying out loud. And don’t think you’re immune to the madness if you’re not a resident. If you’re a visitor to our fair state, that designates you as an honorary native, which means you better be ready for adventure. Snow, sun, wind, oddly hot winter days, whatever, we’ve got an itinerary to banish cabin fever and make your winter magical.

The Warm-up

Breakfast at a bar? Yes, please. Mother Muff’s Kitchen and Spirits is a duel-natured kind of locale, serving as a family-friendly daytime eatery and a cool place to catch live music and karaoke in the evenings. We recommend the prime and eggs, an 8-oz. cut of slow-cooked prime rib with eggs cooked any way you’d like. Their bloody Mary is awesome, too, but drink sparingly because you’ll need your balance for your first outing.

Academy Riding Stables

A unique guided tour of Garden of the Gods — on horseback!

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.

Local’s Tip: Even though winter is a quieter season for the park and for the stables, you definitely want to call ahead for reservations, particularly on warm winter days.
Time allowance: 1-3 hours

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Re-fuel for More Fun

Since you’re already in Garden of the Gods, it’s only natural to hit the Garden of the Gods Trading Post for lunch. Balanced Rock Café has a tasty buffalo cheeseburger and the universal favorite, crispy chicken strips. Follow it up with Colorado Creamery ice cream, or snag a hot cocoa for the road.

Cave of the Winds Mountain Park

Take the fun underground — or over a cliff.

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.

Local’s Tip: Get a season pass and hit the caves anytime you like from March-December of 2018, plus enjoy a huge discount on rides, discounts on upgraded tours and discounts at the gift shop. It pays for itself in your first visit.
Time allowance: 3-4 hours

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The Finisher

There’s no better way to fill up after a hard day’s work than a plate of hearty Mexican food. Crystal Park Cantina offers generous portions of your favorites, plus a few twists on the classics, like the poblano chile stuffed with mashed potatoes or ancho honey pecan chicken wings. And their signature margarita mix? Well, you’ll just have to taste it for yourself to understand.

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