FODOR'S GO LIST 2015
The top 25 places we think should be on every traveler's radar this year.More
A number of activities are available within an hour or two of Colorado Springs, including hot-air ballooning, white-water rafting, and access jeep tours. Riding in a jeep is one way to view the backcountry; a horseback ride on trails through meadows and along mountainsides is another.
Some of the best choices for hiking in this region are the Barr Trail, which heads up Pikes Peak (and is for hardy, well-conditioned hikers), and the array of trails in North Cheyenne Cañon Park.
Adventures Out West. This outfitter offers high-adventure trips through the Royal Gorge and gentler trips through Bighorn Sheep Canyon. It can also arrange other activities, such as ballooning, horseback riding, zip lines, and jeep tours. 1680 S. 21st St., Colorado Springs, CO, 80904. 719/578–0935 or 800/755–0935. www.adventuresoutwest.com.
Echo Canyon River Expeditions. Rafting on the Arkansas and Colorado rivers is offered by this established company. A Raft and Rail trip includes a morning on the Arkansas River and a ride on the Royal Gorge Railroad in the afternoon. The company will also customize trips pairing rafting with horseback riding, zip-lining, ATV tours, and more. 45000 U.S. Hwy. 50, Cañon City, CO, 81212. 800/755–3246. www.raftecho.com.
The Broadmoor Golf Club. The three courses here offer distinctly diverse challenges, in part because they travel over a variety of terrain on the resort's 3,000 acres in the Rocky Mountain foothills. Donald Ross designed the original resort course in 1918, but today the East Course is a mix including nine of the original holes and nine more designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1965. The West Course is also a combination of holes designed by each golf-course architect, but it's at a higher elevation (6,800 feet above sea level), and has more-vicious doglegs, rolling fairways, and multilevel greens. The Mountain Course has some wide forgiving fairways and large greens, but there are major elevation changes that add special challenges while providing outstanding mountain views. The Broadmoor, 1 Lake Circle, Colorado Springs, CO, 80906. 719/577–5790. www.broadmoor.com. Reservations essential. East Course: 18 holes. 7310 yds. Par 72. Mountain Course: 18 holes. 7,637 yds. Par 72. West Course: 18 holes. 7,016 yds. Par 72. Green Fee: $100–$235. Facilities: Driving range, putting green, golf carts, rental clubs, lessons, restaurant, bar.
Pikes Peak Greenway Trail. This trail combines with the New Santa Fe Regional Trail for 34 mile of multi-surface trails for hiking and biking. The trails run from Tejon Street through Colorado Springs and north to Palmer Lake. A 6.9-mile section goes through the Air Force Academy, but you are expected to stay on the 6-foot-wide trail. Helmets and ID are required on the academy grounds, which may be closed at times. Past the academy, the trail then flows over gently rolling hills and finally follows a straight line and level course over an abandoned railroad track for the last 6.5 miles into Palmer. Trail begins on Tejon St., Colorado Springs, CO. 719/520–6375. www.elpasocountyparks.com.
Red Rock Canyon. At this Colorado Springs city park, you can ramble on trails among the red sandstone monoliths and spires, balanced by white limestone and yellow-brown sandstone hogbacks. Trailhead south of U.S. 24, near 31st St., Colorado Springs, CO, 80904.
Red Rock Loop Trail. On Manitou Section 16, this is a 5.5-mile, moderately difficult loop with an elevation gain of up to 1,100 feet. The topography varies from steep, mountainous terrain to moderate slopes, mesas, and canyons. There are views of sandstone formations and old quarries, as well as a terrific perspective of Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak. Trailhead on Trail Ridge Rd., off U.S. 24, Colorado Springs, CO, 80904.
Academy Riding Stables. Trail rides, most notably through the Garden of the Gods, are offered by here. 4 El Paso Blvd., Colorado Springs, CO, 80904. 719/633–5667. www.arsriding.com.
Challenge Unlimited. This is a great outfitter for bike tours throughout Colorado, including the daily 20-mile bike tour down Pikes Peak from May through mid-October. The tours include helmets and bikes. Other trips combine biking and zip-lining. 204 S. 24th St., Colorado Springs, CO, 80904. 800/798–5954. www.bikithikit.com.
Pikes Peak Mountain Bike Tours. The guides with this company will take you to the top of Pikes Peak, then let you ride all the way down on one of their lightweight mountain bikes. An alternative tour is the 20-mile tour on Upper Gold Camp Road, which is a self-paced downhill ride along an old railroad tract converted to a hiking–bicycling trail that cuts through the mountains. Another option allows you to saddle up and pedal down, a partnership with the Stables at the Broadmoor. 306 S. 25th St., Colorado Springs, CO. 888/593–3062. www.bikepikespeak.com.
Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon. Each summer during the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon hundreds run up Pikes Peak. If you want to join in, you have to train and prepare, and thousands do it every year—many of them flatlanders. Colorado Springs, CO, 80904. www.pikespeakmarathon.org.