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Hey! We are two Michiganders with adventurous souls looking to explore the beauties and wonders of this spectacular world. Our mission is to provide you with budget-friendly itineraries that inspire and encourage you to get outside, eat delicious foods, and enjoy high-quality brews. Ultimately, there are three key ingredients to any amazing trip: 

Noms, Brews, & Views.

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  • Writer's pictureJ&L

Colorado Springs Travel Guide: Top 7 Things To Do in One Day

Updated: Jul 27

Colorado Springs Travel Guide

Colorado Springs is located 60 miles south of Denver. Although these two cities are located within close proximity, their terrains are very different. Come to Colorado Springs to explore Garden of the Gods and the beautiful red rock formations, or Pikes Peak, the largest peak on the southern Rocky Mountain Front Range at 14k feet. Stay for the quaint towns such as Manitou or Old Colorado City and enjoy their delicious noms & brews. In this Colorado Springs Travel Guide we will outline the top things to do, places to eat, and brews to taste in a one-day itinerary.

Colorado Springs Travel Guide

Colorado Springs Travel Guide


Colorado Springs Travel Guide


1. Breakfast at Mountain Shadows Restaurant in Old Colorado City

Mountain Shadows Restaurant has been family-owned for 30 years and serves delicious brunch from giant omelets and pancakes to biscuits and gravy. They have a relaxed, welcoming dining experience in a converted-home with friendly staff and incredibly large portions. They were featured in Diners Drive-In's & Dives, reviewed as "simply perfection" by Guy Fieri himself.

Colorado Springs Travel Guide

2. Start with an easy hike at Garden of the Gods

[1.1 Miles; 75 ft. Elevation Gain; Loop; Easy]

Located in Garden of the Gods, this Central Garden Trail brings you up close to the red rock formations. At the paved path accessible for all skill levels, you will see some rock climbers (permit-only) climbing these magnificent formations, as well as, several plaques and information pertaining to the history of the park. Stray beyond the central garden and you will find yourself among the red-soiled paths for horse-back riders, bikers, and other nature-loving enthusiasts.

Colorado Springs Travel Guide

Also Read: Top 8 Hikes and Day Trips from Denver

Colorado Springs Travel Guide


3. Enjoy breathtaking views on the Niobrara and Bretag Trail

[4.0 Miles; 449 ft Elevation Gain; Loop]

Located in Garden of the Gods, this unique park is free to the public. The trail takes your around the exterior of the central garden. A stark contrast to the soil farther north on the Front Range, the soil near Colorado Springs has a higher consistency of iron, giving it a red color and making you feel like you are walking on Mars! It allows for pleasing contrasting colors next to the bright blue sky, white snow capped mountains, and forest green trees. Walking around this park, we soon realized how accurately it was named, Garden of the Gods.

Colorado Springs Travel Guide

Also Read: Rocky Mountain National Park Complete Guide

Colorado Springs Travel Guide
Colorado Springs Travel Guide

Colorado Springs Travel Guide: Pinterest

4. Head to the quaint town of Manitou for brews at Manitou Brewing Co

Featured Brew: Watermelon Wheat (ABV: 5.7%)

This brewpub is located in the small mountain town of Manitou Springs, just 15 minutes outside of Colorado Springs. Manitou Brewing is an excellent place to grab a flight for sampling their brews alongside a tasty app (we had some delicious truffle fries). We recommend their Watermelon Wheat which has a nice light, sweet, and fruity flavor to quench your thirst after a day of exploring.

Colorado Springs Travel Guide

J&L Recommended: We would also recommend Manitou for lunch or dinner with their mouth watering burgers, wings, or tacos.

Colorado Springs Travel Guide: Manitou Brewing Company


5. Drive Pikes Peak Highway for some EPIC views

Pikes Peak Highway is a 19-mile toll highway that allows you to summit one of the most famous 14,000 ft mountains in America. Rates to drive the highway can be found here and if you purchase online, you can get $2 off by using this code. Along the journey up the mountain, you can stop at North Slope Recreation Area, Crystal Reservoir Gift Shop, Historic Glen Cove Inn, and the Summit House. These stops offer amenities such as fishing on one of three lakes, picnicking, and hiking trails. With the Pikes Peak Highway entrance just 15 minutes west of Colorado Springs, plan 2-3 hours to complete your round-trip journey to the summit and do not forget to pack your camera!

Colorado Springs Travel Guide

Ticket to Drive Road: $10-15/Person

Colorado Springs Travel Guide

Colorado Springs Travel Guide

6. Go on an evening stroll through the Red Rock Canyon Path Loop

[1.8 Miles; 262 ft Elevation Gain; Loop]

Located within the Red Rock Canyon Open Space, this trail takes you around an old quarry. Witness the red rock formations, mountainous backdrop, and maybe a horseback rider or two. There are many different trails to take within this open space which are all well marked allowing you to add or subtract mileage to suit your needs. Get here early as the parking lot fills up fast with hikers, bikers, and horseback riders alike. With trails to satisfy all skill levels, this park is very popular in Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs Travel Guide

Also Read: 10 Hiking Essentials

Colorado Springs Travel Guide


7. End your day at Front Range Barbeque

Continuing your tour of Diners, Drive-In's and Dives locations, Guy Fieri reviewed Front Range Barbeque as having "amazing flavors and smoked to perfection. With traditional, home-style barbeque, look no further for an amazing BBQ dinner in Old Colorado City. Relax on their front porch and listen to their live music starting most Wednesdays & Sundays at 8pm.

Colorado Springs Travel Guide

Tip: Old Colorado City is a quaint mountain-town worth visiting

Colorado Springs Travel Guide

Enjoy our Colorado Springs tips and tricks? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

Happy Adventuring!


Colorado Springs Travel Guide

Travel Planning Resources

Below are the resources we use to plan all of our trips, find great deals, and pack our bags with affordable gear. We received a small kickback whenever you purchase something through a link on our site. But rest assured, there is no additional cost to you. In fact, in some cases you even get a greater discount for shopping through NBV! A Win, Win!

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