Colorado had long been on my bucket list, and when we arrived in Colorado Springs, we found five excellent and free activities that are worth a visit!
One of the most popular and gorgeous attractions in all of Colorado Springs is the Garden of the Gods. You will be able to spot the enormous red rock formations well before you arrive at the Visitor’s Center. The Visitor Center has a nice variety of hands-on animal exhibits, and the one and only dinosaur of its kind, discovered right in the Garden of the Gods, found nowhere else in the world.
It was extremely crowded, as we went on a summer weekend. However, the park consisted of a couple large driving loops, which allowed us to stop and park in various lots as we drove around, and then get out and take some trails. The rock formations against the blue skies certainly made it feel like a garden fit for the Gods.
We returned the following week to participate in Colorado Spring’s Gallop in the Garden, a 5k walk/jog/or run on one of three specified trails around the Park. We completed the entire 5k walk in the 90 degree heat, and I was pretty darn proud of my boys!
Nearby to the Garden of the Gods was the Red Rock Canyon Open Space, which is a network of biking and hiking trails. We did a 3 mile loop one evening, and practically had the place to ourselves. It was really peaceful, and we saw several deer. There were several trail and biking options available.
Another great spot for hiking and biking is Ute Valley Park. At first it didn’t look too impressive, but as the trails started to loop around, we discovered nice sandstone cliffs and beautiful views within this park. I was surprised by all the bikers braving the steep, rocky paths, but it seemed to be an extremely popular bike path.
Despite the steep and bumpy drive to Helen Hunt Falls, which is part of North Cheyenne Canon Park, is worth it! The waterfall is visible from the parking lot. But the short, uphill 3/4 mile hike to the top rewards you with phenomenal views over Colorado Springs. There was another waterfall at the top, but not too much water actually flowed from it. The trees were interesting, as pictured below, because the roots seemed to grow partially above the soil, from the steep hills.
The Air Force Academy, just north of Colorado Springs, is a great visit with the family in a beautiful location! At the Visitor Center, there was a huge shop, museum, and theater. I recommend the 20 minute movie that takes you through the life of a cadet, from basic training, through four years at the Air Force Academy.
Then you can drive or walk the 1/3 mile trail (which I highly recommend for the views) over to the gorgeous Air Force Academy Chapel. The impressive Chapel boasts an all-faith room, plus separate chapels for Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Buddhist faiths.
These are 5 of the best, free attractions that we discovered in Colorado Springs! For more great places to visit in Colorado Springs, check out my other post: