Colorado Springs represents one of the fastest growing real estate markets in the country, and for those of us who live here, it is easy to see why. The Springs sits right at the base of the world-famous Pikes Peak, has easy access to 3 different gold medal fisheries, and as the second largest city in Colorado it has all of the flair of a metropolis like Denver, without the crowds.
Below are the top 10 things to do in the Springs this Summer. From free ideas to beat the heat, to hidden gems please read below.
1. Hike The Incline
With a trail difficulty of “extreme” the Manitou Incline attracts outdoor adventure enthusiasts and athletes from around the world. On any given day you can run into Terence Crawford and Adrien Broner, both world-famous boxers, or Apollo Ohno, the Olympic speed skater, training on the incline. The current world record for fastest time to the top was set by Joseph Gray, who is 2015 hiked the trail in a soul crushing 17 minutes 45 seconds.
Don’t let the trail intimidate you though. Hikers from all fitness levels successfully hike the incline every day. Make sure to bring plenty of water, and even a snack if this is your first time attempting the excursion.
2. US Olympic Training Center
With the US Olympic Museum funded and approved, the US Olympic Training Center may soon become old hat, but it is still a Colorado Springs summer staple. There is no bad time to visit the center as there always seems to be something going on, and beyond that, it is the unexpected nature of what you will see there that keeps people going back.
You may walk into Olympic wrestling hopefuls sparing for a spot on the team, or a shooting competition where you can watch sharpshooters from around the world compete, or see athletic icons weight and fitness training with their coaches.
The facility has several guided tours every day, and features a small Olympic Museum that should tide you over until the new facility is finished.
3. Garden Of The Gods
Probably the most iconic landmark in Colorado Springs the Garden of the Gods holds court with tourists from all around the world and is ranked as one of the most photographed locations on earth. With a 4.8 star rating from 3000 reviews on Google, the park seems to please any and all visitors.
The Garden of the Gods features rock climbing, biking, and leisurely hiking. Don’t forget to stop at the visitor center and the scenic overlook located just east of the park. Entry is free, and spending an entire day at the park is easy to do. While you can drive through the entire park in about 4 minutes, it is very much recommended that you pack a lunch and walk through the many paths and trails throughout the park for the full experience.
4. Navigator Punch Bowls
This is probably one of the best kept secrets in the Colorado Springs area, mostly because it feels the attraction gets harder and harder to experience every year due to the restrictive viewing days and hours set by the Christian run Navigators who own the trail.
The trail is located in Queens Canyon and features 5 crystal clear pools of water that have been etched out of the granite mountain side. The hike is perfect for hot August days, but only if those days are Monday through Thursday from 9am-4pm, and leave your pooches at home.
5. The Flea Market
You don’t have to be a Pawn Stars junkie to love this place, but it sure does help. With what feels like hundreds of acres of vendors hocking their wares, there is truly something to interest everyone. From antiques, to used video games, to boutique clothing outlets to… the list goes on and on. In the summer the market also often features inflatables for the kiddos.
The fun of the flea market is discovering those little nostalgic gems you didn’t even know existed anymore, that collectible you had been looking for, or antiques for your shabby sheik look at home.
With the entry fee being only $1 it is for sure a worthwhile venture.
6. Uncle Wilber Fountain
After grabbing a delicious Bahn Mi from Rooster’s House of Ramen make sure you walk just 2 blocks south to visit Uncle Wilbur’s Fountain. This is an attraction that kept my undivided attention for whole summer days when I was a child. There is just something magic about the fountain that is hard to explain to those who haven’t experienced it. The surprise of the fountain is a musical number accompanied by some top tier choreography which occurs every half hour.
The fountain itself is in the heart of Downtown Colorado Springs on the South West corner of Acacia park, and operates 7 days a week until mid-August.
7. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
No longer just a small-town zoo, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is an attraction that holds its own with some of the great zoos around the country. Thanks to unwavering support from the community and a base of enthusiastic investors, the zoo gets exponentially better every year. Even if you feel like you have “been there done that” the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is worth another visit; I can all but guarantee you will experience some new attraction that wasn’t there on your last tour, or discover an amazing exhibit you had somehow missed on previous trips. My personal favorite is the redesign of the reptile house; usually a snooze at other zoos, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has turned theirs into something truly special.
In addition, if the zoo isn’t enough, the property is said to feature the best views in Colorado Springs, and some of the best in the entire state.
8. The Manitou Springs Penny Arcade
If you went to the Manitou Springs Penny Arcade on the very first day of summer, and then spent the remainder of the season sitting in your sweatpants on the couch, you would undoubtedly feel like you had a pretty complete summer.
Set in the middle of Manitou Springs’ hip downtown, this place has it all: an old-timey concession stand with all of the staples including funnel cake and hot-dogs, a cash bar with cheap beer pitchers, and, of course, vintage, antique and modern video games with price-per-play ranging from 1 cent to $2.
Whether you are looking for an idea for that first awkward Tinder date, an all-day event for visiting relatives, or just someplace to drop the kids for a couple of hours, The Manitou Springs Penny Arcade will suit you.
9. Seven Falls
Seven falls has always been a crowd pleaser, and now that it is owned and managed by the world-famous Broadmoor Hotel, it is a luxury experience that is sure to impress. The falls are one moving body of water that cascades 181 feet hitting 7 different ledges on its decent. There are stairs that take you to the top of the falls where you can also find additional hiking trails. Or, if you just got done with the Manitou Incline, and are ‘all staired out’, you can also ride an elevator to a scenic viewing location.
If you haven’t been in a while you may also be surprised to see there is now a luxury dining experience at the base of the falls.
10. Fly Fish Just About Anywhere in the Area
Colorado Springs sits right in between 3 amazing gold medal fisheries that anglers come from around the globe to try their hand at. The Miracle Mile, Cheeseman Canyon, and the upper half of 11 mile all include imitation only, catch and release water. This makes for some monster fish that have to be caught to be believed.
All of these waters feature amazing scenic views of the Colorado Landscape, and they are all less than an hour from the springs.
If you don’t know how to fly fish, don’t let that stop you. Local fly shop Angler’s Covey has classes year round for all levels and all styles of fishing.
Also check out our top breweries to head to this summer and our top hikes in and around Colorado Springs.