During your next visit to colorful Colorado, treat yourself to some time in Manitou Springs. Surrounded by scenic beauty and boasting natural mineral springs and a variety of fascinating outdoor sights, this quaint little town promises travelers an off-the-beaten-path experience while still providing plenty of convenience.
For the full Rocky Mountain getaway adventure, set yourself up with one of our lovely vacation rentals and enjoy comfort, convenience, and all the privacy you desire.
Nestled at the scenic south end of Colorado's Front Range Corridor, Manitou Springs is 103 miles south of urban, yet earthy Boulder, 74 miles south of Denver, and only six miles west of Colorado Springs.
To begin with, Manitou Springs' downtown area has a slew of offerings to keep you occupied and having fun. When you're not wandering around and buying gifts at the unique shops - which feature items like potions, oils and vinegars, lavendar-themed beauty products, and much more - satiate your hunger and thirst at one of Manitou's restaurants and pubs.
From fine dining at Briarhurst Manor or Mona Lisa Fondue Restaurant to cheaper eats like Hell's Kitchen or Uncle Sam's Pancake House - to name just a few - Manitou Springs has an impressive collection of eateries sure to satiate the most discriminating and picky palates. You can also enjoy a coffee or tea break at Saraha Cafe or Good Karma.
To learn about some of the town's history, visit the Miramont Castle, built during the Victorian era. Stroll through 30 rooms and marvel at gorgeous period furnishings, then stop to buy something at the vintage gift shop. Top off your time here with a visit to the Victorian Tearoom for high tea and tasty fare.
When it's time for the kids to blow off some steam, head to Soda Springs Park, bordered by a creek and filled with playground equipment, so they can roam and run while you take a break and rest up for your next adventure.
Perhaps the most iconic natural attraction in the area is Pikes Peak. Take a hike up Barr Trail and meander your way to the top of the incredible 14,114-foot summit, or hop on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway to say you've been on the highest train in the country. Witness spectacular, sweeping views as you ride through pine and aspen forests, and be sure to stay alert for Yellow Bellied Whistling Marmot and Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep sightings.
Relocated to Manitou from McElmo Canyon for safe keeping and preservation, the cliff dwellings were built by the ancient Anasazi, who are believed to be the ancestors of modern-day Pueblos. Wander through this captivating architectural marvel that dates back 800 to 1000 years, as well as two museums that feature cultural artifacts and a souvenir shop, all high above the town of Manitou Springs.
If you're in shape and looking for a challenge, work up a sweat at the Manitou Springs Incline. Originally built as a cable car to assist with pipeline construction, this attraction is the spot where local and visiting runners, cyclists, and Olympic athletes come to workout. When the cable cars were removed after a section of the track was demolished by a landslide, the railroad ties were left in place, making it possible to ascend the slope.
Just a one-and-a-half drive outside of Manitou Springs is Cave of the Winds. Make your way through deep, dark caverns with a Caving 101 tour, or take a Lantern Tour to walk through narrow walkways studded with formations with a lantern in hand, while you learn about the cave's history and folklore and listen to ghost stories from your well-informed guide. If you're traveling with kids, check out the Discovery Tour. It's only about a half-mile long, and young travelers will love the eerie (but safe) total darkness underground.
For a truly magical experience, make a stop at Garden of the Gods, where you'll find breathtaking red sandstone formations from years and years of geological upheaval and restoration. Wander through towering rock fin structures surrounded by sage and pine, and get some photos of Balanced Rock, Kissing Camels, Three Graces, and Cathedral Valley. Be sure to check out the Visitor and Nature Center, where you'll find 30 exhibits and a short film explaining the geological history of the park.
Whether you're coming for vacation or to visit your student at CU Denver, Colorado College, or the Air Force Academy, you'll find that Manitou Springs and its surrounding area offers sights, attractions, and year-round sunshine sure to leave you awestruck andenchanted. Stay in one of our vacation rentals to ensure you have a convenient home base to return to at the end of each fun-filled day.
Photo Credit: Jasperdo via Flickr