a few minutes drive from Colorado Springs is the town of Manitou
Springs. This is home to several fantastic natural attractions,
including Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods and Seven Falls.
Garden of the Gods is a 1350 acre park with magnificent red sandstone
rock formations, many of them over 300 million years old. The park
was dedicated in 1909 and is free to the public. There is a visitor
center where a multi-media presentation explains how the red rocks
You can drive around the park and see most of the formations, but
one of the best ways to get up close and personal with the rocks
is to walk the Central Garden Trail. The 1-1/2 mile loop takes you
past 18 of the formations with names such as Kissing Camels, Twin
Spries and Sleeping Giant.
of the most famous attractions in the area is Pike's Peak. At an
altitude of 14,100 feet, it can literally take your breath away!
We decided to take the Cog Railway to the summit. It is the world's
highest cog railway and takes over an hour to reach the summit.
While an easy way to get to the top, it was not as scenic as we
had expected. The train travels almost straight up the mountain,
thru dense forests until almost to the top where the scenery changes
to rock strewn hillsides and then the alpine tundra. We
did see a herd of Rocky Mountain Big-horned Sheep and a few Yellow-bellied
Marmots sunning themselves on the granite boulders..
We were fortunate to have a mostly clear day so we could see down
to Colorado Springs. Next time though we'd like to try the 19 mile
windy drive to the top. Think we'll pass on the hiking trail to
Another less famous attraction is Seven Falls. This is a 181 foot
waterfall that cascades down in seven distinct steps. There
is an elevator which takes you to an overlook of the fall.
Or you can climb the 224 stairs to the top of the falls.Also
at the top are several hiking trails. One takes you to a small falls
called Midnight Falls.The
other takes you out to Inspiration Point with a great view of the
city. Buried at Inspiration Point is Helen Hunt Jackson, author
of the famous book Ramona.
have taken up a new hobby - geocaching. There is a web site at www.geocaching.com
where you can find latitude and longitude for thousands of treasure
boxes that have been hidden around the country. You then use a hand
held GPS to hone in on the location of the treasure. Many are along
hiking trails. We hiked the Paul Intemann trail in Manitou Springs
where we found 3 caches. The
trail ran along a ridge that looked down on Colorado Springs and
the Garden of the Gods. By the way, the treasure boxes usually contain
small trinkets, toys, etc. The idea is if you take something out,
you leave something else. It's not the treasure that's important,
it's the hunt. And we are finding it's a great way to explore an
area and see spots we would not have gone to if it were not for
the treasure there.
To view more photos from this area click here:
Colorado Springs Photo Gallery
Prior to visiting Colorado Springs, we spent a few days in Canon
City and visited the Royal Gorge area. It is only about an hours
drive from Colorado Springs and well worth a visit. To view information
about Royal Gorge click here: Royal
Descriptions Photos Map