DAY 1: Cripple Creek Adventure

Activity 1 – Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park (Plan for 1-2 hours) 

Begin your day with a captivating visit to the Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park. This museum offers an engaging experience suitable for both adults and children. Dive into the ancient world as you explore a fascinating array of fossilized creatures from North America’s Late Cretaceous era, featuring awe-inspiring dinosaurs, soaring pterosaurs, enigmatic marine reptiles, and prehistoric fish. Inside the museum, don’t miss the chance to peek into the workings of a real fossil preparation laboratory and browse through a well-stocked, generously-sized gift shop, where you can find unique keepsakes to commemorate your visit. Admission: Seniors (65+): $12.00, Adults: $13.00, Children 5-12: $9.00, Children 4 and under: FREE.

Activity 2 – Historic Cripple Creek (Plan for 1-3 hours)

Megamucho, CC BY-SA 3.0

The drive from Woodland park to Cripple Creek is one of the prettiest in the state anytime of year.  However, now during the fall when the aspens change to a spectrum of golds, oranges and the occasional red, that drive is spectacular!  Once in town, there’s tons of history, little shops, museums, and a herd of free-range donkeys to entertain.

Activity 3 – Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad (Plan for 1-2 hours)

James St. John, CC BY 2.0

The Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge RR is a great way to see the hills around Cripple Creek from May till October.  But when the aspens change, it is something extra special. This 45 minute, in and back trip will take you past historic mines, beautiful scenery and is the perfect way to enjoy the crisp fall air. Admission: Adults-$19.00, Children ages 3-12 years – $14.00, Children under 3: Free.

Activity 4 – Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine (Plan for 1-2 hours)

Discover the heart of Colorado on this one-hour tour as you descend 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Cripple Creek hills. Embark on a thrilling adventure and delve into the fascinating history of gold mining, tracing its evolution from the early era of candles and picks to today’s cutting-edge technology.

The Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Tour provides a chance to vertically descend 100 stories into the earth, witness the evolution of underground mining, view gold veins in their natural state, ride an underground tram air locomotive, and experience the sights and sounds of mining equipment. Plus, it requires less than a quarter-mile of flat and level walking. Please be aware that the tour is currently closed for the season and will reopen in May 2024. Tour rates: Adults: $30.00, Children 3-12: $18.00, 2 and under $2.00

Where to eat?

Grandmother’s Kitchen

Old-fashioned & unfussy family-owned eatery serving classic American breakfast & lunch options.

212 US-24, Woodland Park, CO 80863

Baja Billy’S Restaurant & Cantina

Savor fresh Mexican fare at Baja Billy’s Restaurant & Cantina, nestled by the kiva fireplace, and enjoy a margarita without the need to travel south of the border.

233 E Bennett Ave, Cripple Creek, CO 80813

Lombard’s Restaurant

Lombard’s Restaurant at the Double Eagle Casino offers delicious, casual dining seven days a week, featuring a variety of fare, including a soup and salad bar, steaks, seafood, pastas, burgers, and specialty sandwiches, with special menus for kids and seniors, plus a wine selection showcasing Colorado wines.

442 Bennett Dr, Cripple Creek, CO 80813

DAY 2: Garden of the Gods Adventure

Activity 1 – North Pole Colorado Santa’s Workshop (Plan for 1-2 hours) 

Avrand6, CC BY-SA 4.0

On your way back to Green Mountain Falls, stop by the North Pole Colorado Santa’s Workshop, an amusement park that opened on June 16, 1956 in Cascade, Colorado, located on U.S. Route 24 just west of Colorado Springs at the entrance to the Pikes Peak Highway, at the Northern end of Pikes Peak. Purchase ride wristbands at our gate. Last wristband sold at 4:15pm all rides close at 4:50pm during the fall season. Entrance into the park is FREE for everyone! Unlimited access to at all open rides $32/person.

Activity 2 – Ghost Town Museum (Plan 1 hour) 

Conclude your day with a touch of enjoyment and enlightenment at the Ghost Town Museum, where an authentic western experience awaits you throughout the year, all at an exceptional value. Admission: Adults: $8.50, Children ages: 6-16 $5.50, Children under 6 (with adult) Free.

Activity 3 – Academy Riding Stables (Plan 1-2 hours)

 

Next, breathtaking wrangler-led horseback rides through the Garden of the Gods park in Colorado Springs, CO. They are located about 90 minutes south of Denver and just minutes from Manitou Springs. Price available at Academyridingstables.com

Activity 4 –  Hike in Garden of the Gods (Plan 2-3 hours) 

Sarbjit Bahga, CC BY-SA 4.0

Conclude your day with a hike in Garden of the Gods, known for its stunning rock formations shaped by geological disruptions millions of years ago. The unique combination of red sandstone and Pikes Peak granite sets this park apart in Colorado. Explore the park on foot, by car, or bike, with wheelchair-accessible trails available. The 16 hiking trails, ranging from 0.25 to 6 miles, cater to various skill levels, connecting seamlessly. Rock climbing enthusiasts will find opportunities, making it a versatile destination. The park, with a visitor center providing information and history, is free to access, fulfilling the founder’s wish to share the experience with everyone. Open from dawn until dusk, check their website for specific visiting hours: gardenofgods.com

Where to eat?

Wines of Colorado

Experience local culinary delights at our establishment, featuring outstanding pretzel bites with a spicy mustard dip as a standout appetizer, and indulge in the deliciousness of their fish and chips for dinner. With an American touch and the welcoming ambiance of a wine bar, they cater to diverse preferences, offering options for vegetarians and vegans alike.

8045 W US Highway 24, Cascade, CO 80809

Carlos Bistro

A trendy and upscale eatery, renowned for its inventive global cuisine, offering delectable steak and seafood options, accompanied by a selection of drinks, all within a welcoming and atmospheric setting.

1025 S 21st St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904-3705

House of Saigon

A sought-after dining destination, this restaurant offers an enticing blend of Asian, Vietnamese, and Chinese flavors, presenting a diverse culinary experience in a vibrant and inviting atmosphere.

1014 S 21st St Ste A, Colorado Springs, CO 80904-3768

DAY 3: Explore Manitou

Activity 1 – The Manitou Cliff Dwellings (Plan for 1-2 hours) 

Obiwan23 at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings relocated from Southwest Colorado to this area in the early 1900s, with the intention of preserving them for the benefit of future generations. Today, these dwellings have ceased to be purely archaeological sites, allowing visitors to have an up-close and personal experience. You can touch the walls, climb the ladders, and even try your hand at grinding corn. It’s an enjoyable experience suitable for all ages, and it’s secretly educational—just don’t let the kids in on the fact that they’re learning something!

Activity 2 – Cave of the Winds Mountain Park (Plan for 1.5 hours)

 

Embark on a 45 to 60-minute guided walking tour through the electrically illuminated section of the cave. This adventure includes an exploration of 15 rooms, traversing a half-mile of concrete walkways, and climbing 196 stairs. This family-friendly tour provides an opportunity to discover the cave’s rich history and geological wonders while marveling at some of its most exquisite formations. Experience the TERROR DACTYL, a groundbreaking ride situated on the edge of a 200-foot cliff in Williams Canyon, Manitou Springs. Bold riders are catapulted over 150 feet into the canyon at almost 100 miles per hour! The exhilarating G-forces may induce laughter, and the free-fall drop guarantees a thrilling combination of screams and laughter! Rates are available at caveofthewinds.com

Activity 3 – Seven Falls (Plan for 1-2 hours) 

Located in a captivating box canyon, Colorado Springs’ Broadmoor Seven Falls is a series of seven cascading waterfalls, with a total height of 180 feet. Known as “The Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado,” it’s the only Colorado waterfall featured on National Geographic’s list. Visitors can take in the view from the top using a 224-step staircase or an elevator-accessible Eagle’s Nest viewing platform. In the evenings, the falls are beautifully illuminated. Price: $18/person.

Where to eat?

Sahara Cafe

Savor the flavors of the Middle East at Sahara Cafe, open daily for both lunch and dinner. Indulge in authentic dishes like Falafel, Shawarma, Kebabs, Hummus, and an array of dips and salads.

954 Manitou Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829

The Keg Lounge

Comfy bar & grill offering elevated pub grub that includes burgers & salads in a 1900s building.

730 Manitou Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829

Border Burger Bar

At Border Burger Bar, they grind fresh beef daily and hand-cut our fries for a perfect experience. Explore global-inspired burgers and pair them with local craft beers from Colorado for a unique culinary adventure!

934 Manitou Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829

DAY 4: Pikes Peak Adventure

Activity 1 – Broadmoor’s Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway (Plan for 3 hours)

Moide1, CC BY-SA 4.0

Visiting the Pikes Peak Region isn’t complete without a trip up our iconic Cog Railway. Ascend over 8,000 feet through diverse landscapes, including waterfalls, aspens, big horn sheep, and boulder fields, reaching 14,115 feet in elevation. Price available at Cograilway.com

Activity 2 – Pumpkin Spice and Chunky Scarves at the Trading Post (Plan for 1-3 hours) 

Nestled at the southwest corner of Garden of the Gods, surrounded by towering cottonwoods, lies Colorado’s oldest gallery and gift shop. The unassuming facade of the Garden of the Gods Trading Post conceals a treasure trove of shopping delights. Boasting over 20,000 square feet, this local institution offers an extensive selection of souvenirs, gifts, and local art. Additionally, there’s a café with a delightful patio and a coffee bar serving your favorite Starbucks beverages.

Activity 3 – The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum (Plan for 1-2 hours)

Visitcos, CC BY-SA 4.0

 The museum provides an immersive and universally accessible insight into the odyssey of Team USA’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes. With interactive displays, cutting-edge exhibits, and an extensive collection of artifacts, this 60,000-square-foot attraction imparts the Olympic principles of excellence, friendship, and respect, as well as the Paralympic principles of determination, equality, inspiration, and courage to all who visit. Admission: Adult: $19.95, Child (5-12): $11.95, Children 4 and under are free.

Where to eat?

On the Broadmoor’s Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway Train

Delicious fresh roasted cinnamon glazed nuts, frozen fruit bars, ice cream treats, trail mixes and local Colorado snacks are available for you to enjoy on your train ride to the top. No outside food is allowed on the train.

515 Ruxton Ave, Manitou Springs,

CO 80829, United States

Flame Cafe

Flame Café welcomes all with diverse food and drink options, perfect for Museum visitors or Plaza passersby. Indulge in a custom-made pizza or local craft beers, all against the backdrop of a stunning view of Pikes Peak and the Front Range—no ticket required!

200 S. Sierra Madre Street 80903

The Melting Pot

Fondue restaurant chain offering heated pots of cheese, chocolate or broth for dipping & cooking.

30 E Pikes Peak Ave Suite A, Colorado Springs, CO 80903

DAY 5: Down and around the Pass

Activity 1 – Old Colorado City Farmers Market (Plan for 1-2 hours) 

Old Colorado City, lovingly referred to as OCC by the locals, stands as a delightful historic district situated on the western side of Colorado Springs. This neighborhood is brimming with excellent local dining options, boutique shops, art galleries, and enjoyable events, such as the weekly farmers market. Each Saturday throughout the growing season, Bancroft Park is adorned with vendors offering a wide array of products, including fresh produce, honey, locally crafted pastas, sauces, and a multitude of other delights.

Activity 2 – Western Museum of Mining and Industry (Plan for 1-2 hours) 

Carl & Peggy Backes from Where the road takes us, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0

In operation since 1970, WMMI takes pride in showcasing operational machinery, a replica mining drift, and gold panning stations within its expansive 12,200-square-foot exhibit hall. Additionally, our picturesque 27-acre campus i9s adorned with historic structures and machinery, offering visitors a captivating glimpse into the mining heritage. Admission: Adult:$12, Military/AAA:  $10, Seniors 60+: $10, Student 13+:$8, Child 4-12: $6, Children under 3: free with paid Adult.

Activity 3 – Royal Gorge Bridge & Park (Plan for 3-4 hours) 

Jeffrey Beall, CC BY 4.0

Home of America’s Highest Suspension Bridge! Step by step, walk the 1,257 wooden planks suspended 956 feet over the Arkansas River across the world-famous Royal Gorge Bridge. Conquer the gorge on our Via Ferrata course, soar over the edge on the World’s Scariest Skycoaster, and fly across the Royal Gorge on Colorado’s #1 Bucket List Zip Line all found right here in Southern Colorado. The ultimate Colorado experience at America’s Bridge is packed with adventures for everyone in the family. Admission: Adult $32, Children: $27.

Where to eat?

Costa Vida

Laid-back counter-serve Mexican chain with Baja-style tacos & burritos, plus gluten-free options.

122 Tracker Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80921

The Brass Tap

Festive pub with a patio offering myriad beer options, wine & TVs tuned to sports plus live music.

13271 Bass Pro Dr Ste 110, Colorado Springs, CO 80921

Tao’s Oriental Cuisine

Relaxed dining spot offering typical Chinese mains & some Thai entrees, plus lunch specials.

13888 Gleneagle Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80921

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