Written by: Bridgett Harris
Where’s the best place to spend Earth Day in Colorado Springs? Outside, of course! Like any good steward of Planet Earth, you’ll spend at least some of Earth Day performing good deeds in honor of the environment. Trail clean-up. Waterway trash pick-up. Highway beautification. You deserve a reward that fits your environmental excellence! So, when your contribution is done, get back outside and enjoy this planet you’re working so hard to protect. We’ve got a few ideas for how to spend your time. The theme? Natural wonders.
Explore Garden of the Gods on Horseback
Ditch the car and get acquainted with Garden of the Gods in a whole new way—on horseback, led through the park’s beautiful red rock formations by expert guides. Riders of every experience level (ages 8 and up) are welcome to enjoy this little bit of heaven on earth. Academy Riding Stables has three options for rides, ranging from one hour to 2.5 hours.
Hike the Grandest Mile at Seven Falls
Show off for Mother Nature with a challenging climb up 224 stairs alongside 181 feet of crashing waterfalls. Seven Falls has been called Colorado’s grandest mile, a steep, clear waterway that cuts through a granite box canyon. Two other trails are available for adventurous souls. Note: Although flip-flops seem to be the preferred footwear year-round in Colorado Springs, put on real shoes for this particular journey.
Journey Underground at Cave of the Winds
Head underground for a leisurely walk in caverns shaped millions of years ago, exploring a half a mile of underground geological formations. An easy 45-minute tour, or a 90-minute, lanterns-only tour, will give you the lowdown of all that exists deep below the rugged mountains you view on the horizon each day. Dress for slightly cooler temps and bring a camera to snap those awesome stalactite selfies.
See the Earth from 14,115 Feet on Pikes Peak
On a clear day, you can see the whole world stretch out before you from the top of Pikes Peak. But the journey to the top is equally breathtaking, with Colorado wildlife, cool hiking spots, clear lakes and everything else you could ask for from baseline to treeline and beyond. Drive it or take the train, but no matter what, dress warmly and take it easy—the air is a bit thinner when you’re 14,115 feet above sea level.
Look—and Touch!—at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings.
This may not quite count as a completely natural wonder, but it definitely holds its own as an amazing example of humans adapting nature while living within it. An outdoor history lesson awaits at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, where a bit of southwestern Colorado is tucked right into the cliffside above Manitou Springs. Authentic Native American dwellings, moved from McElmo Canyon over 100 years ago, have been carefully reconstructed and reinforced for exploration and education.
Walk, Float or Zip the Royal Gorge
At 10 miles long and 1,000 feet deep in some areas, the Royal Gorge is impressive without being crossed by one of the world’s highest suspension bridges. Peer into the canyon as you walk the bridge and watch the Arkansas River wind its way to Kansas. If you’re a more adrenalized sort, you can cross via zipline, float in a gondola … or fling yourself over the rim at 50 m.p.h. into a temporary freefall. You do you.
The Pikes Peak region has more than its fair share of natural wonders for you to explore. From high above the clouds, to deep underground, there’s a whole lot of beauty to be found in and around Colorado Springs. Celebrate it this Earth Day!