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South Central Colorado Travel Guide

  • Photo: John Hoffman/Shutterstock

Plan Your South Central Colorado Vacation

Stretching from majestic mountains into rugged, high desert plains, south central Colorado has plenty of 14,000-foot peaks, astounding natural hot springs, striking red-rock outcroppings, rivers that boil with white-water rapids in spring, and even the incongruous sight of towering sand dunes dwarfed by a mountain range at their back. It's worth a few days for white-water rafting, hiking

in the backcountry, and exploring historic gold-mining towns. Colorado Springs is one of the fastest growing cities in the West, but other parts of the area have a barely discovered feel.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Hike a Fourteener Coloradans collect hikes to the summit of Fourteeners—mountains that top 14,000 feet above sea level—like trophies.
  2. Play on the Sand Dunes At Great Sand Dunes, one of nature's most spectacular sandboxes, you'll feel like a kid again as you hike up a 750-foot dune then roll down (or sandboard) the other side.
  3. Raft on the Arkansas The Arkansas River is one of the most popular rivers for rafting and kayaking—from gentle floats to Class V rapids—in the United States.
  4. Ride Up Pikes Peak Katharine Bates wrote "America the Beautiful" after riding to the top of Pikes Peak. Today you can drive or ride the cog railway to the top for the same see-forever views.
  5. Visit the U.S. Air Force Academy Here you can learn more about the academy that trains future Air Force leaders and visit the stunning, nondenominational Cadet Chapel.

When To Go

When to Go

Colorado Springs is a good year-round choice because winters are relatively mild. Late spring or early summer is best if you want adrenaline-rush rafti...

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Check historic weather for your trip dates:

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