Guide to Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is a military hub. Located 65 miles southwest of Denver, the city houses five military bases and the U.S. Air Force Academy. In turn, Colorado Springs has a reputation for being a strongly conservative locale. Second to the military industry, however, is tourism, and when in Colorado Springs, it is apparent that you have entered a town that caters to its visitors. Go hiking at Seven Falls, the only Colorado waterfall to make National Geographic's list of International Waterfalls; cave spelunking at Cave of the Winds; explore the Manitou Cliff Dwellings or just take in the view at the Garden of the Gods. Then there's Pikes Peak, which is in a whole 'nuther ballpark—a completely different animal for outdoor lovers. It is the most frequented mountain in North American and the second in the world. Pike's Peak, towering an awe-inspiring 14,110 feet above sea-level, is the Fourteener for mountaineers, with one of its routes often taking a whopping six to ten hours to conquer. And get this: some people run the route for the Pike's Peak Marathon, a 26-mile trek from Manitou Springs to the top of the mountain and back! Others just take the cog railway up. For people who don't have the desire (nor the capacity) to take on one of the U.S.'s greatest climbs, the Pike's Peak region offers more low-profile activities: Santa's Workshop, a 27-acre, Christmas-themed workshop; the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo; the Pike's Peak Ghost Mountain Town Museum or the May Natural History Museum. Besides Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs is known for the U.S. Olympic Complex, where Olympian hopefuls practice at Colorado Springs's high elevation. Go to the Olympic Visitor Center, an $8 million building that holds the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and a 225-seat auditorium. For shopping, head to The Citadel, Chapel Hills Mall or The Promenade Shops at Briargate, an open-air shopping area. For a pricier shopping spree, go to the Broadmoar Hotel, where you can purchase men and women's apparel, precious gems, fine arts and kitchen and spa items. On the completely other end of the spectrum, hit up the Colorado Springs Flea Markets for some unique finds. More

Scenes from Colorado Springs
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