In November 2018, my cousin Allie and I travelled to Colorado and essentially road tripped around the state for 4 days. Our last stop on the trip: Colorado Springs, CO. Allie had been to the area before on a prior trip, so she was excited to return and show me everything she already had fallen in love with about this awesome part of Colorado.
We got going early in the morning to get to Garden of the Gods Park before too many crowds showed up, which was smart. It does fill up with people as it gets later in the day. The park is really incredible, with giant red rock formations under the backdrop of Pike’s Peak towering over everything. The trails here are pretty easy to navigate, and we took about 30 minutes more or less to get through the main area. One thing to keep in mind, is that most of the roads within the park are one-ways, so if you miss where you want to park you have to go all the way around again, but it’s all good because it doesn’t take that long and the views are awesome. This super unique place was so much fun to explore.
Also be sure to find the balancing rock and take some cheesy pictures of yourself pretending to hold up the giant rock- demonstrated here by Allie.
There is a really cool shop we checked out in the park as well, with a lot of local and Native American artwork.
From the highest point in the park, you get really great views of Pike’s Peak and the garden of red rocks below. There is so much more to do in this area too, but we simply could not do it all!
After we had exhausted ourselves at the Garden of the Gods, we made our way to try and see Seven Falls, but unfortunately the gate was closed. However, we ended up finding North Cheyenne Canyon Park and drove up a twisting and winding road up a mountain that offered awesome views. We stopped at Helen Hunt Falls and did a short hike in that area. There are several other spots for hiking off of the road in this park too.
Eventually, we made our way back down the mountain and out of the park. At this point, it was getting to be late afternoon, and my thrill-seeking cousin suggests we go to Cave of the Winds, which is a mountain adventure park that has ropes courses, zip lines, and the infamous Terror-Dactyl canyon swing- essentially a two-person swing that you strap into, get hung face down over a huge canyon, get dropped into that canyon, and then swing around for a few minutes before getting pulled back up. Allie is the kind of person that will do anything thrilling, no questions asked. I also enjoy a thrill, but approach it with a lot more caution and need to see it in action before I commit to it. I was terrified at first, but eventually agreed to do it and let me tell you, it was SO much fun!!! Definitely an experience I will always remember, and would definitely do again. We also took a tour of the legendary cave too, which is basically located in the side of a cliff. Cave of the Winds is a must-see attraction here, even if it’s just to take in the views of the canyon from the porch of the main building.
We wrapped up our day by having dinner and beers at Colorado Mountain Brewery, which had an awesome fire put outside that we hung out at after eating and met some pretty cool people.
Once we had our fix of beer and good company, we got in our rental car and made our way back to where we started in Denver to spend the night. Definitely check out my prior posts for some of the other locations we hit in Colorado. Even though we did so much, there is still so much of this great state yet to explore. I cannot wait to get back!
Looking for a Colorado road trip itinerary you can do in 4-5 days? Ours was as follows:
Day 1- flight into Denver, drive to Boulder, CO
Day 2- Rocky Mountain NP from Boulder
Day 3- Drive from Boulder to Great Sand Dunes NP, then drive to Colorado Springs
Day 4- Colorado Springs for the day, then back to Denver for the night
Day 5- flight home out of Denver
We rented a car from the Denver airport and it worked out great. We had a Jeep Limited SUV with 4W drive. It smelled like weed, but it drove like a champ!
Colorado, I hope to see you again soon.