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The Ultimate Colorado Springs Itinerary

Are you looking for a perfect Colorado Springs itinerary? Worry not, you’ve landed on the right page. This is the ultimate Colorado Springs itinerary to follow.

Located in the eastern part of the mighty Rocky Mountains in El Paso County, this beautiful Colorado city features fantastic mountain views, incredible rock formations and landscapes, scenic hiking trails, and plenty of historic sites and treasures.

Colorado Springs has an amazing downtown with unique coffee shops,  award-winning restaurants, branded shops and boutiques, and numerous public artwork. In brief, you can experience the city’s food, art, and culture in one place.

But the main attractions of Colorado Springs are America’s own mountain, Pikes Peak, and the famous Garden of the Gods – all of Colorado Springs’s attractions and activities are covered in this Colorado Springs itinerary.

Colorado Springs is one of the cheapest places to live in Colorado. Because of its popularity and affordability, it has become a hot destination for people looking to move to a new city. Millions of people from all around the world visit Colorado Springs each year.

Check out this itinerary cum travel guide to explore the city in the most efficient way. Don’t forget to check out the tips at the end of the post.

Packing List for Colorado Springs: Here’s What To Bring

An extensive outdoor travel adventure awaits in Colorado Springs, and preparedness is a must. The best time to visit this spectacular destination is during the warm summer season, a reason to pack light and everything ideal for such weather that will have you all covered and prepared.

Here’s what we packed:

Colorado Springs Travel Tips

  • Book your hotel and flight 3-4 months before your journey to get cheap deals. Check out these top hotels to book now.
  • Carry layers no matter when you are going to visit Colorado Springs and always pack sunscreen, a hat, and an umbrella.
  • Renting a car is the best way to get around Colorado Springs. Don’t forget to take a detailed video of your car before renting it. Grab these best rental car deals now.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration as Colorado Springs is situated at a higher elevation. 

See Related: Best Travel Insurance for Pre-Existing Conditions

When to Visit Colorado Springs

You can experience all 4 seasons in Colorado Springs. Whenever you visit, you will get a fair amount of sunshine as the city gets sun over 250 days a year. 

Winter in Colorado Springs is not that harsh, rather it is pretty mild. It gets medium snowfall sometimes in winter, but don’t expect a winter wonderland in this city.

The winter temperature hovers between 20 and 55 degrees with very little humidity. So if you don’t mind some chilly weather, a visit between December and mid-February may be the perfect time for you. 

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak

Summer in Colorado Springs is warm with low humidity and the evenings are cool and comfortable because of the high altitude. It’s recommended to bring a light jacket for cool nights. Summer is the best time to visit for outdoor adventure lovers.

For a romantic getaway in Colorado Springs, fall and spring are the perfect seasons to visit. The temperature hovers around the 50s and 70s during these months.

Another advantage of visiting in the fall and spring seasons is the fewer crowds. You can get closer to nature and get the best of the scenic trails. You can get some amazing deals on hotels and flight booking during this time.

See Related: RVShare Review

How to Get to Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs Airport is the nearest airport to the city. It takes around 20 minutes to get to Colorado Springs from the airport. Denver International Airport located 85 miles north of Colorado Springs is another option to get to COS.

If you are coming from another country, this will be the best option as Denver International Airport is well connected with other US cities and the rest of the world. From both airports, bus and taxi services are available.

Most travelers love to come from DIA as the transportation system is more convenient there. If you rent a car, take the popular I-25 and head to the south of Denver. The road is scenic and it takes around one and a half hours to reach downtown Colorado Springs.

Looking for an affordable option? Book a bus ticket from Bustang Service or Greyhound. Both are reliable, and cheap but take more time. The fare is $12 one-way between Union Station to Colorado Springs.

There is another option which is a shuttle service available from DIA to Colorado Springs. It is more comfortable, frequent and takes less than compared to buses. Groome Transportation shuttle service charges $50 per person for a one-way ride.

See Related: Denver CityPASS Review

How to Get Around Colorado Springs

Renting a car is the most convenient way to get around Colorado Springs. You can drive your own car too. Rental cars will not only give you flexibility but also are cheap and comfortable.

The only downside is finding a parking lot near popular tourist attractions. It can be a daunting task to find a slot especially if you visit during weekends or public holidays. Don’t want to drive? Worry not.

If you are traveling on a budget or looking for a more affordable option, take the bus service from Mountain Metropolitan Service. They serve more than 20 routes throughout the city. You have to buy a day pass for $4 to get their full-day service.

Explore Colorado Springs by Rental Cars
Explore Colorado Springs by Rental Cars

Colorado Springs is a city of outdoor activities. Bike riding is very popular among locals and tourists. You can rent a bike from the city’s popular bike-sharing program, PikeRide. Bike rent starts from $2 for the first 30 minutes.

Colorado Springs has around 200 miles of paved and unpaved trails. You will see many travelers explore the surrounding areas of the city on a bike.

Downtown Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs can be explored on foot. Uber or Lyft are frequent between spots but it will end up costing more than a rental car.

See Related: Best Things to do in Bora Bora

Colorado Springs Itinerary

It’s not easy to squeeze all the wonderful attractions, activities, culture, food, and drinks into a single visit. But it is possible. Colorado Springs is growing fast as a tourist destination. The reasons behind its popularity are the pleasant weather, spectacular landscapes, stunning hiking trails, and lots of outdoor activities.

However, in this Colorado Springs itinerary, all the best and most popular attractions and activities are included in such a way that you will get the best sense of Colorado Springs.

See Related: 28 Best Things to Do in Estes Park, Colorado

Things to do in Colorado Springs

With Colorado Springs growing at such a rapid speed, there’s no shortage of fun and adventurous things to do and see throughout the city.

When you have very limited time to explore a city, it’s recommended to see fewer places, so that you can enjoy your day and can feel the essence of the place. Here are some of the best things to do in Colorado Springs that you shouldn’t miss.

Pikes Peak

Start your day in Colorado Springs with the most famous Pikes Peak which is also known as America’s Mountain. At 14,115 feet, it offers incredible views of rock formations, landscapes, and wildflowers. If you have a vehicle, take the scenic Pikes Peak Highway.

Pikes Peak Highway
Pikes Peak Highway

Another way to get to the top is by taking the historic Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway, one of the highest cog railways in the world. You can also hike or bike the trail to the top of Pikes Peak if you are enough fit.

This hike offers breathtaking views of the mountains and wildflowers but hiking is not recommended as it takes extra time. You have to give yourself at least 2 hours to enjoy this majestic place.

See Related: Do You Need a Car in Denver?

Garden of the Gods

Your Colorado Springs trip is incomplete without visiting the Garden of the Gods. It is one of the most visited places in Colorado.

The stunning red rock formations which are approximately 300 million years old will leave you awestruck. This park is a great place for everybody and especially for outdoor activity lovers.

You can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and rock climbing(requires registration). If you are with your family, enjoy the easy Palmer Trail that offers some of the best rock formations of this park.

One day in colorado springs | Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods

See Related: Best Things to do in Primm, Nevada

Hike Manitou Incline

It is an optional hike and not recommended for beginner hikers. Manitou Incline is one of the best hikes in Colorado Springs, eventually the toughest hike in Colorado. The hike is just 1 mile in length but it gains 2000 feet of elevation.

If you are well-fit and want to challenge your hiking skill, Manitou Incline is the perfect hike for you. It has nearly 2700 steps and when you reach the top, the view of the surrounding areas can heal your pain.

Hike Manitou Incline
Hike Manitou Incline

See Related: Las Vegas vs Phoenix

Downtown Colorado Springs

Downtown Colorado Springs Skyline at Night

After some outdoor activities, have your lunch, then go for a leisurely stroll through the streets of downtown Colorado Springs and discover the incredible public artwork on the streets. Or you can rent a bike from PikeRide and explore the downtown on two wheels.

Downtown Colorado Springs is a great place to walk with your families. It has plenty of clothing shops, souvenir shops, award-winning restaurants parks, and museums.  

You must check in My Colorado Store and The Candy Bar while you are in the downtown area.

Seven Falls

It is a series of seven cascading waterfalls in Broadmoor. You can climb 224 steps to reach the top of the fall. However, it looks more beautiful from the bottom. The jagged rocks, crystal clear streams, and wildflowers create a perfect canvas to take photos.

If you want to save time, you can skip the hike. But if you hike to the top, you will get access to ‘Soaring Adventure’ zip line tours and a restaurant.

Spring or summer is the best time to see most water. Make sure to wear proper hiking shoes with good traction.

See Related: Best Restaurants in Boulder, Colorado

Day Trips from Colorado Springs

Road and Light Snow on the Colorado Mountains

Colorado Springs is a paradise for nature lovers and the scenic beauty is not only limited to this city, but also in the surrounding Alpine regions that offer mountain vistas, lush forests, gorges, and canyons.

If you have no time constraints while visiting Colorado Springs, you can go for a day trip to the below-mentioned places:

The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park:

Located around 58 miles southwest of Colorado Springs, The Royal Gorge Bridge is the highest bridge(955 feet above the Arkansas River) in the United States as well as the highest zip line in the country.

Enjoy the scenic hiking trails, stunning views of the gorge, aerial gondolas, and more.

See Related: The Ultimate Scottsdale Itinerary

Idaho Springs:

It is around 98 miles north of Colorado Springs. Driving through I-25 takes around one and a half an hour to reach this small quaint Colorado town.

This mountain town is known for its historic buildings, mining traditions, and Beau Jo’s pizza.

one day in colorado springs

Accommodation in Colorado Springs 

If you’re looking to spend a night in Colorado Springs, you will find plenty of accommodation options from high-end resorts to budget-friendly hotels and hostels for all types of travelers.

In terms of affordable hostels, Colorado Adventure Hostel is your best bet. 

It is clean, spacious, and pretty affordable with great reviews.

Sonesta ES Suites Colorado Springs: This luxurious hotel is in a great location in Colorado Springs and is just 20 minutes driving distance from the Garden of the Gods and the Cave of the Winds. Guests are offered complimentary breakfast and amenities. The hotel also features barbeque facilities, a gym, and free WiFi. The rooms are clean, and well decorated and the staffs are very polite and helpful. A variety of restaurants and bars are located in the nearby area.  

Comfort Inn North Colorado Springs: It is the perfect mid-range hotel for people looking for modern amenities at an affordable price. This hotel is just a few miles from the United States Air Force Academy college and Garden of the Gods.

The exercise room, indoor heated pool, hot tub, free WiFi, and complimentary breakfast are just a few of the amenities the Comfort Inn North Colorado Springs has to offer.

If “winging it” is your thing, get a free $25 credit by signing up for HotelTonight to book cheap hotel deals the night of your stay.

See Related: 27 Fun & Best Things to Do in Breckenridge, Colorado

Where to Eat in Colorado Springs

There’s too much delicious food to devour during your Colorado Springs trip. For breakfast try at Urban Egg for a lip-smacking omelet and mixed berry crunchy french toast.

The Rabbit Hole: It is an excellent restaurant located in Downtown Colorado Springs. They are popular for their cozy ambiance and unique food items.

They have won 40+ awards from the Independent and Gazette newspaper for the best upscale dining in Colorado and the best late-night menu. The restaurant is perfect for a romantic dinner date. Don’t miss their White Rabbit Drink and Colorado Lamb Rack.

Josh & John’s: This is a divine ice cream shop just a  short walk from the Rabbit Hole. This place is outstanding when it comes to homemade ice cream and cones. They offer different types of flavors.

Dutch chocolate flavor is highly recommended if you are a chocolate lover. It is cool, creamy, and full of flavor. The salted peanut butter cup is also good. You will feel like you are eating real homemade ice cream. 

Author’s Bio:

Trijit Mallick from Budget Travel Buff

I’m a software engineer(tester) by profession and travel blogger by heart. Besides being a blogger, I have also a passion for playing guitar and riding motorcycles. I am based out in the city of joy  – Kolkata, India. I spent 5 years in California and Colorado for work purposes and explored these beautiful states.

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