Colorado Springs Road Trip 2020

3/02/2021

Pikes Peak Highway

Everyone loves a beach, and we had plans to spend fall break in Panama City Beach, but decided kind of last minute to head to the mountains instead. We did the same thing back in 2017 and that was one of our most favorite trips ever. The first time, we split the week between Colorado Springs and Estes Park and crammed in so many different things (much like our Wild West trip back in 2019). That was fun but not at all relaxing, so this time we rented a house and stayed in Colorado Springs for the whole week. We slept in later than usual, we actually hung out at the house and cooked meals and relaxed, and instead of an itinerary for each day I had a long list of things I thought we'd like. Each evening we sat down and decided what we wanted to do the next day. Sometimes it worked out, sometimes our plans changed, and we didn't even see half of the stuff on our list, but it was great. The kids were much happier that way!

Mushroom Rocks State Park

Driving through Kansas is not the most exciting thing, luckily there are a few cool things to see along the way. Last time we stopped at Monument Rocks, but this time we opted for Mushroom Rocks State Park. It's the smallest state park I've ever seen (it's just a few acres) but it has some cool rock formations and it was a fun, quick little stop to break up the drive. We drove about 12 1/2 hours that day and the last couple of hours were through a wicked wind storm. I'm still kicking myself for not taking a video of stuff flying across the road!

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

The next day, we stopped at Paint Mines Interpretive Park before we got to Colorado Springs. We also stopped here last time, but spent more time in a different area of the park this time. This is such a cool area and it was such a beautiful day!

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Manitou Springs Colorado

Our last stop for the day was Manitou Springs. It's a cute little town with shops and restaurants, but our favorite part was the arcade!  If you're ever in the area, do yourself a favor and get an apple pie avalanche from Colorado Custard Company. 

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

We started the next day at Manitou Cliff Dwellings. It was smaller than I expected, but pretty interesting.

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Cave of the Wind, Colorado Springs Co

Jonah really wanted to do the ropes course at Cave of the Winds, but it was closed for painting, so just enjoyed the view for a bit while waiting for the cave tour to start.

Cave of the Wind, Colorado Springs Co

The cave was definitely not as awesome at Mammoth Cave National Park, but it was pretty cool and the tour guide was great!

Cave of the Wind, Colorado Springs Co

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

We haven't been to a zoo in years, and I wasn't sure if the older kids would even be impressed, but I couldn't pass up the chance to feed giraffes so we tried out Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It was so great! It's not a huge zoo like St Louis, so you can actually see it all in one day. We didn't see it all because we left for lunch (yummy Nepalese food!) and to see some other stuff, but what we did see was really cool. 

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Phantom Canyon Road

We wanted to drive Pikes Peak Highway this day, but it was closed for high wind, so we settled on Phantom Canyon Road instead. This was a really pretty drive, but I do wish we had done it earlier in the day - it would have been even prettier with more light and it got pretty dark toward the end. But it was definitely worth the drive!

Phantom Canyon Road

Phantom Canyon Road

Phantom Canyon Road

Phantom Canyon Road

Phantom Canyon Road

Phantom Canyon Road

Phantom Canyon Road

Phantom Canyon Road

Phantom Canyon Road

Phantom Canyon Road

Phantom Canyon Road

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Red Rock Canyon Open Space was one of my favorite parts of this trip. It was a gloomy morning, so these photos don't really do it justice, but it was gorgeous!

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

No trip to Colorado Springs is complete without a stop a Garden of the Gods. We didn't do any serious hiking, just walked around the main part of the park for a while and had a picnic. It's such a cool place.

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs CO

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs CO

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs CO

Pikes Peak Highway

Pikes Peak Highway

Pikes Peak Highway

Pikes Peak Highway

Pikes Peak Highway

Pikes Peak is another must-do in the area. The road wasn't nearly as scary this time, and the views were phenomenal. The summit house was a bit it a let down since you can't sit down inside to eat due to Covid and there's a bunch of construction going on at the top for a new summit house. It was still worth the drive and I can't wait to see the new building next time!

Pikes Peak Highway

Pikes Peak Highway

Pikes Peak Highway

Pikes Peak Highway

 

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