Colorado Springs is a paradise for nature lovers, which is why I jumped at the chance to take an impromptu trip to this Colorado town last year. I love immersing myself in the great outdoors, but I rarely get the chance since I live in a big city. My daily version of the great outdoors is a small park by my house that only has about five trees. So when a friend of mine said he was going to Colorado Springs for a last-minute hiking trip, I decided to join him. I booked a last-minute hotel in Colorado Springs through HotelTonight and started packing my bags for my outdoor adventure.
My hotel was located in downtown Colorado Springs, which is a small urban center that offers great cultural attractions, entertainment options, and restaurants. I spent the evening window-shopping, then I met up with my friend for dinner on Tejon Street. Downtown Colorado Springs has a laidback vibe, but there’s also plenty to keep you entertained, as this neighborhood is home to several museums, such as the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the McAlister House Museum and the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. We also walked past the Olympic Training Center, where visitors can take tours of the facilities and browse the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
The next morning, we set out early to make it to Pikes Peak, the most popular hike in the Colorado Springs area because of its stunning views from the top. The natural scenery is so stunning, in fact, that the views from the summit inspired the first draft of the patriotic anthem, “America the Beautiful.” Pikes Peak is just over 14,100 feet high, and I’ll admit that I struggled a bit with the elevation. That out-of-breath-feeling and the sore legs were worth it, though, because Pikes Peak is certainly one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever completed. While many hikers travel to Colorado Springs just to summit Pikes Peak, the trails were also filled with locals enjoying the immense natural beauty of their backyard. I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous that the locals had the opportunity to hike trails as beautiful as Pikes Peak whenever they wanted.
At the foot of Pikes Peak sits Manitou Springs, a historic mountain community that teems with charm and character. After a long, exhausting hike up Pikes Peak, we stopped at Manitou Springs to sit down, relax and enjoy a hearty meal. As a National Historic District, Manitou Springs takes great pride in its unique flavor and history, which is why you’ll find everything from rugged Western stores to funky hippie-era galleries in this town. After finishing our meal, we aimlessly wandered the quaint streets of Manitou Springs for about an hour, reveling in every quirky aspect of this historic town.
In the afternoon, we visited the Garden of the Gods, a National Natural Landmark that features a magnificent landscape filled with red rock formations jutting out of the ground. The Garden of the Gods is free to visit, and it’s well worth a quick trip, or even a longer trip if you can spare the time. We drove through this geographically stunning park and enjoyed a small picnic at one of the most scenic viewpoints. While we could have easily spent all day enjoying the beauty of the Garden of the Gods, the sun was beginning to set, so we headed back downtown to grab dinner before crashing for the night.
As soon as we woke up the next morning, we hit the ground running again and made our way to Seven Falls, widely considered one of Colorado’s most beautiful sights. This hike, while less strenuous than Pikes Peak, boasts breathtaking sights all the way along the path. The trail passes glistening streams, majestic waterfalls and dramatic rock formations, and this quick hike just might make you think that heaven on earth really does exist. Even though I took plenty of pictures of the cascading waterfalls and the golden prairies along this hike, the photos simply didn’t do this natural wonder justice. It’s just something you have to see for yourself.
By the time I left Colorado Springs, I had fallen in love with the city’s laid-back atmosphere and natural beauty. Immersing myself in Colorado’s majestic great outdoors was almost like therapy for me, and I left feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and in complete awe of nature.
I was grateful that I was able to make this impromptu Colorado Springs vacation possible, and my last-minute getaway definitely wouldn’t have been possible without HotelTonight. Thanks to HotelTonight, I booked a great last-minute hotel in Colorado Springs and was able to spend less time hassling over travel plans and more time exploring the natural surroundings of this popular Colorado destination.