36 hours in Colorado Springs: The Ultimate Guide for The Wanderlust
If you want a 36-hour getaway which encompasses a bit of city life and nature, I suggest Colorado Springs which sits about 1 mile above sea level at the base of Pike's Peak. Once part of the American frontier, Colorado Springs won't disappoint you. From the old town built in 1859 to the Garden of Gods, this area has enough entertainment to feed the soul.
What you will find in this article:
“Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won't cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running AND keep it ad free! Please check out our disclosure policy for more details. Thank you for your support!
Day 1 Afternoon
Landing in Colorado Springs a place that receives 300 days of sunshine, you will instantly be energized and ready to concur what this frontier town has to offer. I suggest stopping for a bite to eat at the Rabbit Hole where Happy Hour runs from 4-6pm. During this time all appetizers are 50% off with $2.50 house wines, wells, and drafts.
The cocktail of choice that I suggest is the Tweedle Bee which is a spicy cocktail made with crisp honey lemon, ginger, and bitters. Compliment your cocktail with crispy pork belly tacos and roasted brussels sprouts from the nibbles menu. If you are looking for a little bit more food, you can't go wrong with the Aspen Ridge beef burger or Cherry Braised Buffalo Ribs.
After dinner, end your night with a walk around Old Colorado City where Pikes Peak miners use to get supplies during the gold rush. Stop in Mother Muffs to sample a wide variety of rotating Craft Beers from Colorado. Make sure you do not stay up too late because tomorrow is going to be an early start.
Day 2 Morning to Evening
Make sure you wake up before dawn to catch the sunrise at the Garden of God. This National Landmark was donated to the City of Colorado because Charles Elliott Perkins loved the property so much that he wanted generations to come to enjoy this natural wonder. Today you can find many hiking and trails, adventure programs, and 1909 trolley tours. If photography is your main point of interest, make sure you set yourself up high on one of the rocks so you can take pictures of these golden marvels.
End the day by stopping by Historic Downtown Manitou Springs which will give you an artistry and hippy feel. Art galleries, street performers, restaurants and boutique stores line the streets of Manitou Springs.
Don't forget to find all 8 Manitou Mineral Springs which were known to have healing powers. Centuries ago, the tribes of the plains paid homage to the healing powers of the springs since they were a gift from the Great Spirit Manitou.
If you want to learn more about these Springs, please visit Visit Colorado Springs website to learn everything about the spring water. If you are in the area on a Saturday between Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Mineral Spring Foundation does do walking tours.
Depending on how fast it took you to go through the Garden of Gods and Manitou Springs Downtown, you can put on your tennis shoes and try to complete the Manitou Incline. It once was a tourist cable car track, but now it has been converted to a heart-pounding workout where athletes train on along with tourists. You might even find an Olympic athlete or two on the climb. The Manitou Incline will bring you 2,000 feet almost a mile into the air. Just remember, going down the incline is discourage and that you should use the Barr Trail to make it down the mountain.
Day 3 Morning to Evening
Start your day with an excellent breakfast from the Garden of Gods Market and Cafe and pick something up for a picnic later. May I suggest The Market Benedict or the Farmer's Classic because you will need a lot of protein to keep you full all day.
With a full belly, you are ready for your drive to Pike's Peak one of the only mountains where you can drive right up to the summit. This mountain is 14,115 feet in the air and attracts about 500,000 visitors a year. The highway is open weather permitting from 7:30 am to 8 pm, with the last car in at 6 pm. Adults are $15 per person children are $5.
This mountain was once home to the Ute Indians and the Clovis Culture. Yes, that is right, people who make it over to our continent during the last ice age. Thank goodness we have a highway now and do not have to hike this mountain like the earlier settlers. On the road, you will discover the North Slope Recreation Area, Crystal Reservoir Gift Shop, Historic Glen Cove Inn and the final goal the Summit House. Spend as much time as you want in this area and soak in all that nature. In this area, it would be a great area to have your picnic.
Once done with the Pikes Peak Summit area, head on down to The Broadmore where you can enjoy one of Colorado Springs famous waterfall, Seven Falls. If you still have a little bit more energy, you can take the 224 steps by the side of the falls which lead to hiking trails and the bank fo the stream that feeds the falls. What an excellent way to end the day.
What to pack for your Colorado Springs Vacation.
Clothes for Hiking in Colorado Springs
Clothes for Dinner and Running around Town
- Colorado Springs Airport (COS) is, of course, the obvious choice to fly into where you can rent a car right from the airport. The airport would be your best place to rent your vehicle because the airport is a ways away from town. If this airport is not an option for you or you, find a cheaper ticket through Denver (DEN) that would be your alternative airport. This airport is only 1-hour 30-minute drive away.
I hope you have a wonderful time in Colorado Springs. I know I did. It was one of the best layovers I had in a while. My favorite thing was the sunrise at the Garden of the Gods and walking around Downtown Manitou Springs. Don't forget to try the water!