Many areas of Colorado are just so awesome that you could spend an entire day driving around in your car and still not see it all. Colorado Springs is one of those places. A true example of a cityscape meeting the mountains, the scenery in the Pikes Peak region is breathtaking, even from behind a steering wheel. We’ve designed the perfect route around the area to see it all, just make sure you’ve got a full tank of gas. While this is designed as a driving tour, we encourage you to shut the engine off and explore as much as possible.

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For the sake of this road trip, we chose to start driving at our headquarters downtown. The downtown area of Colorado Springs has been growing a lot over the past decade, making this a great place to fuel up with some food prior to several hours of driving.

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Colorado Springs
Downtown Colorado Springs. Photo Credit: oneillbro (iStock).

From downtown, you’ll head to one of Colorado’s most iconic attractions, the Garden of the Gods. After driving up a pretty steep hill, you’ll arrive at a vista that allows you to see the entire site. This is a great spot to stop for a photo before making the drive-thru loop around the park, eventually passing the Balanced Rock formation.

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Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods

The next destination on our route will be a quick stop if you choose to stay in the car, but it’s worth it. By hopping on 24 you’ll head from Garden of the Gods to the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. Here you’ll find a cave you can tour, a zipline, a canyon swing, a high ropes course, and a beautiful vista. You’ll be traveling on a road with hairpins that climbs alongside Williams Canyon. These views are worth writing home about and it hardly adds any time onto your trip.

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Cave of the Winds - Courtesy of Visit Colorado Springs - OutThere Colorado
Cave of the Winds. Colorado Springs, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Visit Colorado Springs.

Brace yourself. After Cave of the Winds comes the longest leg of the journey. You’ll be headed to the top of a 14,000 foot mountain, Pikes Peak. By taking the Pikes Peak Highway, you’ll be able to reach the summit in around an hour and a half. That might seem like a long drive, but the views are breathtaking along the way. This road isn’t for those that are scared of heights, at least not if they’re behind the steering wheel. At times it can seem as if you’re driving into the sky. If you’re prone to motion sickness, make sure you take medicine in advance so that it has time to kick in prior to hitting this windy route.

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Pikes Peak Highway - OutThere Colorado
Racers reach speeds above 100mph on the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb course.

After you’ve enjoyed plenty of time at the summit, head back down the same road. You’ll get an entirely different experience this time around, seeing things you didn’t notice before. Two things to keep an eye out for on a clear day are Rocky Mountain National Park and the Denver skyline. You can see these while you’re above treeline if you know where to look.

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Once you’re back at a more reasonable altitude, set your sights for Manitou Springs. One of the coolest little towns in the Colorado Springs area, this is a great place for a pitstop with it’s many restaurants and shops.

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Manitou Springs - Katie Rae Bode - OutThere Colorado
Downtown Manitou Springs, just outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Photo Credit: Katie Rae Bode.

The next stop on this Colorado Springs tour will take you through North Cheyenne Cañon, a local favorite for hiking and biking. You’ll access this via Gold Camp Road, eventually connecting to North Cheyenne Canyon Road. A couple things to look out for on this leg of the trip include Helen Hunt Falls and distant views of the Shrine of the Sun.

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Helen Hunt Falls - Photo Credit Jason Lennon - OutThere Colorado
Helen Hunt Falls. Photo Credit: Jason Lennon

Hang in there, you’re almost finished. After seeing the gorgeous greens of North Cheyenne Cañon, you’ll make your way towards the Broadmoor, an iconic Colorado mountain resort. A stunning building built in front of a stunning backdrop, just walking around this property can be entertaining. A few of the attractions here include Seven Falls, a golf course, and zip line tours.

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The Broadmoor - Dion Hinchcliffe - flickr
View of the Broadmoor. Photo Credit: Dion Hinchcliffe (flickr)

You did it! In less than 100 miles you’ve seen some of Colorado Springs’ coolest attractions. Be sure to let us know what you thought about this driving trip by using our hashtag, #OutThereColorado!

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