And Find Adventure Around Every Corner
If Manitou sounds familiar, youre probably thinking of the popular hikers challenge nearby that is the Manitou Incline. With 2,768 steps getting you over 2,000 feet in elevation, the views at the topand the bragging rightsare most definitely worth the trek. Also around the corner is the breathtaking Garden of the Gods park, good for a quick drive-through for some epic scenery or a full-on hike, and a perfect photo-op destination, too. Theres no shortage of hiking trails to satisfy the avid hiker, and of course, the city of Colorado Springs is just a hop, skip, and jump away from downtown Manitou Springs, boasting its own intrigue and adventure. Oh, and theres this little mountain called Pikes Peak that people are always chattering about, too.
Home To Hippies Healing Water And The Best Yerba Mate West Of The Mississippi Manitou Springs Is Unlike Any Other Place And Most Definitely Worth A Stay
It might be only a 15 minute drive west of Downtown Colorado Springs, but Manitou Springs feels like a different world entirely.
This small, charming town was founded in 1872 by William Abraham Bell and was meant to serve as a scenic health resort, due to its panoramic mountain views and healing mineral water that flows throughout the town. Since then, the town has become a major tourist attraction and, most noticeably, home to many vibrant artists and down-to-earth hippies. Manitou Springs was even recently named the 14th Best U.S. City for Hippies by Estately.
If youre looking for a scenic and unique vacation or staycation, look no further! Heres our guide to the perfect weekend in Manitou Springs, Colorado.
Best places to stay in Manitou Springs
Unique activities in Manitou Springs
Where to eat in Manitou Springs
Head to Manitou Springs, Colorado to unleash the adventurous hippie within! We hope you enjoy your stay!
After getting your fill in Manitou Springs, book a food tour with us, Rocky Mountain Food Tours, in downtown Colorado Springs. Not only will you experience some of the best local dining, but you will also learn about our local history and art. Check out our list of tours here!
Royal Gorge Bridge & Park
4218 Co Rd 3A, Cañon City, CO 81212, United States
Adults Park Entrance: $25 includes cable car, bridge and Plaza Theatre. Skycoaster and zip line have an additional fee
A fun day trip from Manitou Springs is to Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, located around an hour away in Canon City. The Royal Gorge Bridge is one of the highest suspension bridges in the world , and the highest in the USA. Its pretty impressive. It is made of wooden planks thoughsome of which are a little bit wobbly and creaky, and there are some big ole gaps between several of the planks so be careful not to drop anything!
We first took the cable car to the other side of the gorge, this gives some great views of the bridge. We paid extra to ride the Skycoaster , our 2nd canyon swing of the trip! The Skycoaster is slightly different from the one at Cave of the Winds, you lay on your front and get lifted up to the highest point before pulling your own release cord and swinging at 50mph. At the highest point, you are 1200ft above the canyon floor which is VERY high!
The movie about the history of the park, shown in the Plaza Theatre was very interesting. Back in 2013 almost the whole of the park was destroyed in a forest fire. The original cable car was destroyed, as was a funicular railway that travelled down into the bottom of the gorge and yet the bridge remained almost untouched.
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Shop At The Poppy Seed
At the end of the street, at the foothills of Colorados mountains, is a small gift shop. I can see the sun begin to set from the window. The sky is ablaze.
The shop, a funky clothing vendor in Manitou Springs, is called The Poppy Seed. The tagline? Manitous hippie store for all people big and small.
And at the front counter, a tall, lanky man in an oversized t-shirt and baggy jeans leans against the counter, chatting up the woman behind it. Like, man, this place is, like, the grooviest, he says, pausing. He laughs a little. Im having a rad day.
Rad? Groovy? I smile. My day in Manitou Springs has definitely been rad and groovy. In fact, there are no better words to describe this small town.
Did you enjoy this travel guide to Manitou Springs? What are your favorite things to do in Manitou Springs? Let me know in the comments below! As always, I love hearing from you.
Tackle The Manitou Incline
The Manitou Incline is the most popular hike in the Colorado Springs area. What started as a route for a cable car to carry materials up to build pipelines on Pikes Peak turned has into an intense hike. Once the cable car line was damaged and the cars no longer ran, residents began hiking up the remaining ties.
Even though this was illegal to do at first, because of crossing private property, it is now legal. The parking lot for the Manitou Incline is located in Manitou and there is a fee to park there. The Manitou Incline is just under a mile long but climbs 2,000 vertical feet. World-class athletes can complete the entire incline in about 20 minutes, most people take a bit over half an hour.
Although there are no official rules about not coming back down the Manitou Incline, it is recommended to only go up the incline for safety. The most popular way of coming back down is to go to the left after completing the incline and then connecting to Barr Trail.
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Feel Encouraged To Bring The Kids
Manitou Springs is one of those places that truly has something for everyone. So when it comes to entertaining the kids, theres no shortage of things to do and fun to be had. One of the biggest draws for youngsters is the Penny Arcade smack in the middle of Manitou Ave. You can also get an old-timey photo with the family at Old Tyme Photography, complete with old-school clothes and props to put you right back in the Old West. The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are also hard to miss and just as hard to resist, combining adventure and history in the same exciting experience. Cave of the Winds Park also offers tours, rides, ropes courses, and an abundance of activities to keep the whole family entertained.
Unexpected Adventures In Manitou Springs
I have lived and worked in Manitou for more than fifteen years, and like most locals have never really taken the time to explore all that this picturesque town has to offer. Nestled at the base of the granddaddy of them all Pikes Peak Manitou Springs belies a unique spirit hard to find in other Rocky Mountain towns.
Known for its centuries old healing mineral springs that are found throughout the town, Manitou Springs offers an array of top tourist attractions: adventures, retreats, innovative technology and tasty places to reconnect all within a three mile walking distance.
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Where Is Manitou Springs In Colorado
Getting to Manitou Springs is pretty easy, especially if youre coming from downtown Colorado Springs.
Head west on Colorado Avenue for about 16 miles, which takes about 5-6 minutes depending on traffic.
Or if youre driving from Denver, head south of I-25 and get off on the Highway 24 exit.
Then just follow the signs for Manitou Springs.
Best known for its small mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, pubs, and parks, Manitou Springs offers plenty to do in a relatively small area.
Once you arrive in Manitou Springs, leave your car behind and enjoy this quirky town on foot, starting on Manitou Avenue.
While the town has a booming tourist season from summer through Christmas, you wont feel crammed.
And its a great place to visit all year round!
Now, lets talk about the best things to do in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Check out the top attractions that we enjoy seeing when visiting this quirky town.
There is something for everyone, no matter if you are a Colorado native or newcomer!
Stroll Around Manitou Springs Historic District
When I arrive at Manitou Springs historic district, Im blown away. The paths are lined with pink and purple flowers. Each shop is uniquely shaped and sized.
Theres a small brook and a bridge. The architecture, a mix of pastel-pleasing and quirky, forces me to look this way and that. Everything looks and feels so cozy, I instantly relax as I walk further and further into town.
The Historic District is one of the best places to eat in Manitou Springs. So unsurprisingly, there are signs upon signs for chocolates and ice-cream and more chocolates.
There are cute boutiques with long patterned dresses sitting outside the windows. At times, the path smells of saffron and sandalwood. At times, it smells of weed.
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Hike The Manitou Incline
Gaining nearly 2,000 feet of elevation in less than a mile of horizontal distance, the Manitou Incline is a serious climb that challenges even the fittest of people. The average grade of the trail is right around 45%, making it a remarkably tough hike that only seasoned hikers and athletes should attempt.
Originally built as a cable car route before being destroyed by a rockslide, the Manitou Incline transformed into a popular tourist attraction that lets visitors test their strength with a tough workout. The trail is free to access, but free reservations are required to hike.
Parking can be tricky, so it is recommended to use the free Manitou Springs shuttle that departs the Hiawatha Gardens Building. Limited parking is available at the Barr Trail lot and along Ruxton Road, but it often fills up quickly. No dogs are allowed on the trail. Visitors should come prepared with plenty of water and snacks.
Ascend Pikes Peak The Hard Way On The Manitou Incline
Do you go to hiking extremes? Then reserve a free time slot for climbing the Manitou Incline. From Manitou Springs, the former railroad bed looks like an arrow straight up the mountain. A closer look reveals 2,744 uneven steps. The mile-long trail gains 2,000 feet in elevation. The trails average grade is 45 percent, with some sections hitting a 68 percent grade. Most hikers should plan for an hours hike uphill.
Beware: This trail is extreme! If you cant climb stairs at home, dont try to climb the Incline.
Return on the Barr Trail. Wondering why? Imagine tripping and falling down the Incline.
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And Whet Your Whistle While Youre At It
Fancy a drink? If youre in downtown Manitou Springs, you wont have to look very far. Aside from the array of drink menus at the popular food spots in town, breweries and wine bars are in abundance for a quick sip, tasting, or kicking back and relaxing for a while. The Keg Lounge serves fresh and fruity cocktails in mason jars and also has a pretty long list of beers, seltzers, and wines by the bottle. Manitou Brewing Company is your go-to local brewery, serving up everything from full-bodies stouts to hoppy pale ales and everything in-between, plus wine, spirits, seltzers, and more lip-smacking pub bites. Enjoy a glass, bottle, wine tasting, or even create your own unique wine at DVine Wine, and maybe catch a glimpse of winery mascot Maya while youre there. And not all drinks have to be boozy while youre visiting Manitou Springscheck out the Maté Factor Café for fresh, sultry teas in a cozy atmosphere.
Manitou Springs Penny Arcade
I have so many fond memories of spending time at this arcade as a teenager. We would often come and visit my friend who worked here. There is skeeball, air hockey, outdoor rides for little kids, classic arcade games, vintage arcade games that cost only a penny, nickel, or dime to play, derby horse racing, and much more.
The arcade consists of many small buildings, each one with a unique feel and different games. Earn tickets and pick out a prize before you go. Bring the family or enjoy a fun date night. It is in a great location and you can walk to many shops and restaurants before or after playing the games.
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Things To Do In Manitou Springs Colorado: Green Horse Gallery
The Green Horse Gallery is a destination for handmade, fine arts and crafts. The gallery features works and products made by local artists, such as wonderful crafts and one-of-a-kind works of fine art. A diverse assortment of crafts and fine art is showcased by the Green Horse Gallery in Manitou Springs, Connecticut, ranging from hand-colored etchings and oil paintings to silver jewelry, fiber art, sculpture, and pottery. The gallery itself is managed and operated by a partnership between seven local artists. Open seven days a week, from 10:00am until 6:00pm, the Green Horse Gallery sales artwork by more than fifty artists.
729 Manitou Ave, Manitou Springs, Colorado 80829, Phone: 719-685-0636
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Places To Go In Manitou Springs
Welcome, traveler, to Manitou Springs. Your journey has landed you here, and new adventures are calling your name. Now that youve arrived, you can stay in the safety and comfort of your hotel and watch the world spin pastor you can embrace this new place youve come to. Learn its streets. Meet its people. Learn its history. Your hand is already on the doorknob, isnt it?
Things to Do in Manitou Springs
Youll not be wanting for things to do in Manitou Springs. Explore the downtown area in search of museums and boutiquesor that next delicious meal. What tickles your fancy? A delectable five-course supper at the restaurant youve been hearing about? Or perhaps youd rather read the paper while sipping hot coffee at one of the cafes scattered throughout town. Take in a show at the theatre, or just walk along down the main thoroughfare, watching people wander past.
Why spend hours ruminating over what to do in Manitou Springs? Let the possibilities wash over you as you explore this new region. Move out on foot and get to know the area on a more personal level. Find that perfect souvenir at one of the smaller shops, or reinvent your entire artistic aesthetic at your new favorite gallery.
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Cave Of The Winds Mountain Park
Cave of the Winds Mountain Park is a large park featuring a number of expansive cave tours as well as above-ground activities that are fun for the whole family. The most popular tour is the Discovery Tour. Lasting 45 minutes and departing every 20 minutes all day, this family-friendly tour brings visitors through 15 different cave rooms.
The Lantern Tour is 90 minutes long, and it allows visitors to explore deeper into the caves with the help of candlelight lanterns. This tour features a section of the cave that is only around four feet long, so visitors with back or knee problems are advised to choose the Discovery Tour.
After spending some time below ground, head to the surface for one of Cave of the Winds adventures. One of the most popular attractions is the Terror-dactyl. This terrifying ride drops riders nearly one hundred and fifty feet down into the canyon below before being winched back up to the edge. Reservations are not required, but the park recommends that visitors make reservations ahead of time.
Sunwater Spa Hot Springs
Open every day except Monday, SunWater Spa Hot Springs is one of the best attractions in Manitou Springs. With eight tubs that are naturally heated to 104° Fahrenheit with mountain views, SunWater Spa is a relaxing retreat that is sure to please all visitors. Geothermally heated mineral water emerges from the famous Seven Minute Spring before being pumped into the resorts eight tubs.
Soaking reservations are available online or via telephone, and each soaking slot lasts for ninety minutes. Children under 14 are not permitted at the resort, and the entire spa area is a whisper-only zone to enhance the relaxing and introspective atmosphere. Besides the always popular soaking tubs, SunWater Spa also has two saunas and yoga classes available with a reservation.
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Manitou Springs Aquatics And Fitness Center
Although the pool was built in 1971, the facility has received many upgrades throughout the years. Most notably, the pool includes ozone-treated water. This provides a much more refreshing experience. Try out the indoor 25-yard pool, the outdoor kiddie splash pad and pool, an indoor Jacuzzi, an outdoor hot tub, a fitness room, and a multi-purpose room. Drop-in rates are available as well as punch cards and passcards for a greater discount.