Need some input on CO Springs trip

Old May 3rd, 2012, 07:03 AM
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Need some input on CO Springs trip

I'll be flying into CO Springs for a week long training course. I get there Sunday evening and back Friday night. The week I'll be in training, so I won't be able to see much, however, the training usually ends around 4:30, so I'll have the evenings. Also, I get in 7:30 on Sunday. Let me ask you this...

Will I have enough time after I arrive on Sunday night to at least drive through Garden of the Gods on route to the hotel?

Assuming I leave training at 4:30 PM one day, will I be able to hike at least a trail or two within Garden of the Gods prior to it getting dark?

Will I have enough time one evening if I leave work at 4:30 PM to drive up to the top of Pike's Peak or at least somewhere with a great mountain view very high up before dark?

Please give some restaurant recommendations. The number 2 restaurant is a Chik-Fil-A? I guess I'll be eating at chain restaurants then? The number 1 restaurant has $65 steaks, that is too much (have a $60 limit for dinner). I would like a good restaurant around $20-30 with good food. An Italian, steak, or seafood restaurant would suffice.

Thank you in advance!
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 07:44 AM
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When is your trip? Right now the sunset is about 8pm, so a hike in Garden of the Gods is very doable.

You can check the sunrise/sunset times for your specific dates at this website:
http://sunrisesunset.com/
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 08:14 AM
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For a good Italian restaurant, try ZIO's.
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 08:21 AM
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WhereAreWe,

It's in mid May, I can figure out when the sun sets. However, I am more concerned about how long it takes to get there, etc... and how much time I'll have there.
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 08:24 AM
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Garden of The Gods is about 10? minutes max - from downtown C. Springs. And another 15? minutes beyond that is the turnoff to Pikes Peak which would be a great drive and offer many hiking opportunities. http://www.pikes-peak.com/page/122.aspx
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Old May 4th, 2012, 01:13 AM
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bkluvsNola-

< I am more concerned about how long it takes to get there, etc... and how much time I'll have there.>

We're not mind readers, where is your training? Where is your hotel?

1) Yes. Garden of the Gods is open until 11 pm from May-October. Unfortunately, the Visitor's Center is only open until 5 pm in mid-May and that's where the trail maps are. You'll find some walk suggestions here:

http://www.gardenofgods.com/yourvisi.../index_220.cfm


2) Yes.

3) Reaching Pikes Peak via road takes about two round trip (it's about 38 miles). It's open year round, but until May 24, 2012, the uphill gate closes at 3pm. After May 24, it's extended until 6 pm. You can also take the cog train, but you'd need at least three hours and would need to check the operating schedule as it varies this time of year.

Not sure where you got your restaurant info, but there are plenty of non-chain restaurants in Colorado Springs.

Some ideas:

Sonterra Grill, downtown, Mexican
Smiley's - downtown, good breakfast spot
Arabica - downtown, Middle Eastern
Salsa Brava - Rockrimmon - Mexican
Il Vicino (a chain) - downtown - Italian
Marigold Bakery - Centennial (not far from GOG) - great sandwiches, salads, soup, dessert
Carlos Miguels - southwest side - Mexican
Olive Branch - downtown - serves all meals, really good breakfast

I'll post again when I think of some good steak places.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 01:17 AM
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I don't eat steak, but I'm told these places have potential:

Saltgrass
Steaksmith
The Famous Steakhouse
Mackenzie's Chop House
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Old May 4th, 2012, 02:24 AM
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Good work Melnq8: And for a fun time - try this Irish Pub, which has a great setting (wonder upstairs) and very good food too:

http://www.jackquinnspub.com/

It's owned and operated by some of my ole AF Academy classmates.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 05:29 AM
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Melq (and others), thanks for the info.

I'll be staying up at the RI (off Federal Road). My work is near there too. It appears a little ways out from the town center.

How long do most of the hikes take in Garden of the Gods? What is a good 1-2 hour hike that I can take? (assuming I leave work at 4:30, hopefully I can get to the Visitor's Center before 5 pm right before they close). If I don't get to the Visitor's Center before 5, is there a web site that I can access that has the trails on it? The site you listed doesn't have maps...

I didn't know they have a Saltgrass Steakhouse there. I will definitely plan to eat there sometime!
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Old May 4th, 2012, 06:45 AM
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Marigold Bakery is a great restaurant and a perfect place to eat after Garden of the Gods!
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Old May 4th, 2012, 04:07 PM
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Took me a while to figure out that RI means Residence Inn. You'll be on the northwest side, which is north of downtown, but easy enough to get to via I-25 in about 10-15 minutes. You can get to GOG by taking I-25 south from your hotel to Garden of the Gods, turning west, and then turning south on 30th.

On Earth day, we walked the CHAMBERS/BRETAG/PALMER TRAIL, which was supposedly a three mile hike that circles the park.
The map was incorrect, and it ended up being more than a five mile slog, so I wouldn't worry too much if you don't have a map.

Here's a map I found by googling. Google is your friend.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 04:08 PM
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Oops

http://www.coloradodirectory.com/map...ardengods.html
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Old May 9th, 2012, 06:53 AM
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Ok, I found out the class ends on Friday at noon. Do I have enough time to go to the top of Pike's Peak if I leave at noon from the RI and head on up there? I need to be back for a 7pm flight, so I assume I need to get to the CO Springs airport at 6pm. So, I have 6 hours to get up, tour around and back.

What do you think?
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Old May 9th, 2012, 03:52 PM
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It's a 2-3 hour round trip, plus driving time from the RI (maybe 20 minutes), then driving time to the airport (maybe 30 minutes). I don't see why not, if the weather is fine and if you check out of your hotel before you go. There's not much to do at the top once you get there other than wander a bit, take snaps, and visit the gift shop (try the fudge).

You'll need at least 1/2 tank of gas and I'd suggest calling ahead just to make sure the road is indeed open (CO weather is unpredictible).

The Colorado Springs airport suggests you arrive two hours before your flight.

You'll want warm clothes - it can be very cold and windy at the top.

Suggest you read the driving tips on the link I provided above.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 04:48 PM
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I would agree you could drive from north of C. Springs up to Pikes Peak and back to the C. Springs airport in 3 plus hours fairly easily, assuming you didn't stop much along the way. (However - there are some great photo-ops - which my wife loved - but you can take many of those from the road).

Just add a bit more contingency time coming down - as about the lodge area - they may want you to pull over a bit to cool the brakes, as it's a pretty good descent from the top for the first few miles.

And to be safe - I would get to the airport two hours ahead of time, allowing time to turn in the car, take the shuttle, etc. That should still give you 5 hours or so to make the ascent and back down and over to the airport.

What type of training class are you taking if I may ask? Hush Hush stuff - or more corporate?
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Old May 9th, 2012, 04:52 PM
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BTW - if the weather looks dicey for that Friday - you might try to slide out of the training by say 2 PM one afternoon - and zip over and up Pikes Peak during the week - if you can.

The main checkpoint time you have to clear is what - heading up the mountain by 3 PM?

After that - plenty of time for your drive up and return to your hotel - and then you could finish up the study materials you missed, assuming you can do that of course.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 06:13 PM
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Just check the weather at the summit before heading up Pike's Peak. We took the Cog Train up in July several years ago. It was nice when we left the station, but at the summit we were treated to a rain/spitting snow mix, thunder and lightning. There was no visibility. Those who drove up were not allowed to drive down. They had to wait until a ranger arrived at the summit and then they had to follow his vehicle down.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 06:42 PM
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Thank you!
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