Manitou Springs is a quaint town outside Colorado Springs and a great jumping point for Pikes Peak, Hiking, and the Garden of the Gods. Manitou Springs offers easy walkability to quaint restaurants, an old-time arcade, gift shops and is also home to several unique springs accessible for fountains throughout the city.
The drive up Pikes Peak is a long beautiful, winding ride up the mountain. There is a cogwheel train, but it was unavailable when we were there. Unfortunately for my oldest son, Maddox, the long winding road resulted in lost lunch at the top of the peak, so be wary of anyone suffering from car sickness. Also, near the top of the peak, the drive is a bit nerve-wracking as the height exceeds 14,000 ft. The road is very near the edge of the mountain. Employees at the park will even check to ensure your breaks are not too hot for the drive down and coach drivers on brake use for safety. All that to say, the views are beautiful, absolutely breathtaking, and well worth the effort.
The Garden of the Gods is only a short drive down the road and features 300' sandstone rock formations. When we visited the park, it was very crowded and several of the stops had no parking spots available I recommend arriving early to get the most out of your visit. The site is truly magical against the backdrop of Pikes Peak. The orange sandstone formations offer a stark contrast to the mountains behind. It is well worth the visit. Visitors can find hiking trails, stunning views, and can even rock climb. For more information, check their website here.
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