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Does your summer bucket list include heart-pumping adventures and… If so, the Pikes Peak Region is the place to be. Flanked to the west by the 14,115-foot Pikes Peak and surrounding by awe-inspiring terrain, Colorado Springs and the surrounding region is home to some of the most thrilling outdoor experiences in Colorado. From hot air ballooning to whitewater rafting the Arkansas River, from ziplining across canyons to climbing the infamous Manitou Incline, there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy. That is, if you’re ready to get your adrenaline pumping! We’ve put together a list of some of the most exciting Pikes Peak Region adventures to add to your bucket list this summer.

1. Hike the Manitou Incline

Manitou Incline
The Manitou Incline from a distance. Photo Credit: OutThere Colorado Staff

Are you ready to take on one of Colorado’s most infamous trails? The Manitou Incline gains almost 2,000 feet of elevation in less than one mile. You’ll find professional runners, military, college athletes, Olympians, and serious hikers on this advanced trail, and they’re all in it for the workout and the views from the top. The average grade for the trail is 45 percent and can get as steep as 68 percent along its 2,744 steps. If you’re up for it, this is one trail you’ll love to hate. For more information, visit visitcos.com.

2. Hot Air Balloon over Colorado Springs

Hot Air Balloon - Labor Day Lift Off - Colorado Springs - Tomasz Stasiuk - Flickr
Hot air ballooning over Colorado Springs is one of the coolest ways to enjoy the Pikes Peak Region. Photo Credit: Tomasz Stasiuk (Flickr)

A hot air balloon ride is one of the most unique ways to see Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region. When you get above the tree tops, you’ll really be able to feel the immensity of Pikes Peak and the Plains spreading out eastward. Hot air balloons are also subject to the winds with little steering capacity, so a hot air balloon ride always promises to be a thrill. For more information, visit visitcos.com.

3. Whitewater Raft through the Royal Gorge

Royal Gorge - Arkansas River - Rafting - Summer Shoot - OutThere Colorado - 705
Rafting on the Arkansas River through the Royal Gorge. Photo Credit: OutThere Colorado Staff.

The famed Arkansas River is known as one of the best places to whitewater raft in the United States. Located outside of Cañon City, the section of the Arkansas that runs through the Royal Gorge is surrounded by 1,000-foot sheer walls and is filled with Class III, Class IV, and Class V rapids. This is one rafting trip that you won’t soon forget. For more information, visit visitcos.com.

4. Summit Pikes Peak

Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak - OutThere Colorado.
Garden of the Gods is known as America’s favorite park. For more ways to enjoy the Pikes Peak region, check out Visit Colorado Springs.

Whether on foot or by car, getting to the top of a 14,115-foot mountain is an amazing experience. You’ll pass through four different ecological life zones, including alpine tundra high above tree line. Meadows filled with wildflowers await you in summer as well a variety of wildlife. Note that a new temporary and complimentary shuttle service is now in place to take visitors to the summit via the Pikes Peak Highway. You can still drive to the 16-mile lot, known as the ‘Devils Playground’, and from there, you’ll jump on a 15-minute shuttle ride to the summit. For more information, visit visitcos.com.

5. Rock climb in Garden of the Gods

Climbing - Garden of the Gods - Courtesy of Visit Colorado Springs - OutThere Colorado
Climbing at Garden of the Gods. Photo courtesy of Visit Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs is home to Garden of the Gods, ‘America’s Favorite Park’. The sandstone fins in this landmark space offers challenging climbing opportunities. If you’re looking for a way to immerse yourself in the unique geology of the Pikes Peak Region, look no further than Garden of the Gods. For more information, visit visitcos.com.

6. Terror-dactyl at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park

Terror Dactyl - OutThere Colorado
Terror-Dactyl ride at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Photo Credit, courtesy of: Alyssa Wendt.

Cave of the Winds Mountain Park is an historic landmark filled with interesting rock formations, caves, and…the Terror-Dactyl, one of the most heart-pumping, adrenaline-inducing thrill rides in Colorado. The ride sits at the edge of a 200-foot cliff, and the riders get launched almost 100 miles an hour over the canyon below. If you’re ready for a true adventure, you’ve found it at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. For more information, visit visitcos.com.

7. The Royal Gorge Zipline

Royal Gorge Zip Line OutThere Colorado
Royal Gorge Zipline. Photo Credit: OutThere Colorado Staff.

The Royal Gorge Zipline spans a three miles of stunning scenery near the Royal Gorge and Cañon City. 20 ziplines take visitors through two courses—Classic and Extreme. You’ll reach up to 55 miles per hour on their courses, including a zipline that runs for 1700 feet above the landscape below. For more information, visit visitcos.com.

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