In the summer, Colorado Springs can get as hot as any other city, which often sends visitors and locals scrambling for fun Colorado activities that still allow them to chill out and beat the sun’s unrelenting heat. Fortunately, the Pikes Peak region isn’t lacking in cool locales (pun totally intentional) where you and your favorite folks can have maximum fun with minimal heat. We’re all about having safe and sane summer experience in Colorado, so we’ve made a list of fun activities that won’t result in heat exhaustion. Check out Part One to find some relief that’s both outdoors and a cut above the rest.
Head Up to Cripple Creek
Just the climb to 9,500 feet will bring you cooler temps in Cripple Creek, where the mountain air is as refreshing as can be. After an absolutely stunning drive through the mountains, you’ll find this small mining town, where there are several attractions to explore that will max out the fun meter and help you stay cool. We suggest you check out the Mollie Kathleen Mine, which takes you 1,000 feet below the surface of the earth, where you’ll find temps to be a brisk 50 degrees. You’ll actually need a jacket or sweater in the middle of the summer! (Note: The mine provides jackets and hardhats.) On the tour, you’ll cruise downward via elevator, take a ride on a Tram-air locomotive and then take a walk to the man-skip for your ride back up. Back outdoors, you can head over to the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad and hop on for a ride into the mountains in their open-air train cars. And always make sure you check out the Cripple Creek events calendar — the little town is a big deal when it comes to fun.
Go Even Higher on the Pikes Peak Highway
There’s a place where the temps are even cooler than Cripple Creek in the summer and it’s right in our backyard! Pikes Peak — America’s Mountain, offers chillaxing temps even in a heatwave. Sometimes, you can even see it snow right smack dab in the middle of July. Slather on the sunscreen, grab some water and take a drive up the Pikes Peak Highway, where each mile will bring you closer to blissfully mild temperature, unbelievable views and great memorable moments. There is, however, one hot thing we should warn you about at the top — fresh donuts. But we think you can find it in your heart to forgive their warmth.
Check Out Santa’s Workshop!
Next on our high-altitude recommendations is the North Pole, Santa’s Workshop. Like the other two attractions, just ascending a bit above Colorado Springs can make a huge difference in how hot the weather gets. In addition to being a lot cooler, the North Pole is just plain awesome. It has meet-and-greets with Santa and Mrs. Claus, dozens of rides for all ages, including a Ferris wheel and Tilt-O-Whirl, sweet treats, fun games, magic shows and so much more. We suggest you plan for a whole day there to truly enjoy yourself.
Make a Splash with Echo Canyon
For our next stay-cool idea, we’re gonna go a little lower, like deep-into-a-canyon low. Everyone knows that one of the best ways to chill out fast is to get acquainted with the nearest body of water. Coincidentally, there’s a big ol’ river just south of Colorado Springs! Echo Canyon leads wet, wild and oh-so-fun rafting excursions all summer long that are guaranteed to ensure you and your companions forget all about the hot sun smoldering in the sky. With trips ranging from relaxing family floats to big, bouncing rapids, you definitely won’t be bored — or hot — as you cruise down the Arkansas River. When you’re done, you can enjoy a margarita or craft beer at the 8-Mile Bar & Grill, which has a giant open-air seating area and filling, hearty meals to help you recover from all the splishing and splashing in the canyon.
Relax in Style — The Garden of the Gods Trading Post
The last on our low-temperature ideas is certainly not the least. The Garden of the Gods Trading Post has been welcoming visitors to take a seat and cool off for almost 100 years! Enjoy Colorado Creamery ice cream, ice-cold beer, iced coffee, and a shady patio for best results. Seriously, the patio cannot be beat for getting out of the sun and the food and treats are just the icing on the cake. You can also wander in the shop’s 22,000 square feet of air-conditioned retail goodness, enjoying art, selecting Colorado souvenirs and generally relishing in the technology that gives us the ability to escape the summer heat.
There’s no need to waste away in the house when the temps start to rise. Now that you know where to go when the weather gets hot, you can find something to do besides binge-watching TV shows and playing back-to-back games of Candy Crush. You won’t regret it.