The Pikes Peak Region is the area surrounding “America’s Mountain”, the 14,115-foot beast that towers above the forest floor and nearby cities. While hiking the 14er will definitely give you a sense of accomplishment, it is also one of only two mountains in Colorado that has a road to the summit.
This region, home to Pikes National Forest, has no shortage of hiking and biking trails. However, if hiking is not your thing, there are plenty of other options for fun in the area.
Manitou Springs: A lovely historic town at the base of the mountain. The town is home of the Manitou Incline, a steep set of stairs heading up the mountain for nearly a mile that beckons to people for its challenging elevation gain.
Main Street offers a variety of eateries, interesting shops and also boasts its own brewery, Manitou Brewing Company. The town is also unique in that there are multiple spring fountains that dot the area, making it possible to fill your own cup or bottle to sample the highly beneficial water.
Cave of the Winds Mountain Park: Discovered in 1881 by two brothers while exploring, Cave of the Winds is a naturally occurring cave system near Colorado Springs. Multiple tours of the cave are offered daily for all levels of adventure seekers. The park has above ground attractions as well including a zip line and a three-story obstacle course.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo: At an elevation of 6,800 feet above sea level, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the highest zoo in America. In 2019, it was rated as the 6th best zoo in North America by USA Today. Exhibits include Encounter Africa, Australian Walkabout, and Rocky Mountain Wild. There is also an area where you can hand-feed the giraffes.
Echo Canyon River Expeditions: Since 1978, this outfitter in the Royal Gorge has offered one-of-a kind rafting experiences ranging from calm family float trips to thrilling whitewater adventures. They also offer world-class dining at the 8-Mile Bar and Grill and lodging ranging from luxury cabins to rustic camping.
Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad: The journey begins at the Cripple Creek train depot, a building that dates back to 1894. The train winds its way the beautiful hills and valleys of the area and through some of Colorado’s mining history as well. The narrated trip will take you back to the days of old when the gold rush was in full swing. The open-air car ride lasts about an hour and is also dog friendly.