Colorado Springs: nature at its best

SHERYL NANCE-NASH | 3/21/2019, midnight
Colorado Springs is nature at its best.
Pikes Peak Photo courtesy of Visit Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is nature at its best. The combination of Pikes Peak–America’s Mountain and the Garden of the Gods park make a breathtaking backdrop for a landscape that beckons outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Take your pick, hike, bike, paddleboard yoga, hop on a horse, go whitewater rafting, kayak, zip line, Segway, or take a hot air balloon ride, and that’s just for starters. There’s no shortage of heart-pumping activities to push your thrill meter over the edge in Colorado’s second largest city.

No worries, though, if you aren’t an adrenaline junkie. Maybe you’ll find your sweet spot at Strata Integrated Wellness Spa at Garden of the Gods. With an array of treatments, it may be tough to choose. One favorite is the Aypa Energy Body Treatment, an hour of bliss. Aypa is a mystical Andean Incan treatment using organic indigenous plants from Peru. A Purple Corn exfoliant, Lucuma Warming Body Mask, Sacha Inchi oil and an exquisite crème made from organic Quinoa complete a treatment that awakens all the senses.

Take advantage of a naturopathic consultation and healing touch, a heart-centered energy therapy that helps to balance your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. You’ll be glad you did. Don’t be surprised if you sleep better than you have in a long time. Other options include mindfulness, nutrition, and acupuncture, among others.

The Garden of the Gods Resort & Club’s luxurious resort is beloved for its striking views of Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods landmark. Sit out on your room’s balcony and soak in the serene surroundings, ideal for soul-searching. When you’re rested, tee up on the 27-hole Kissing Camels golf course, swim or play tennis.

The little ones will enjoy the Cheyenne Mountain zoo. It’s America’s only mountain zoo and sits at more than a 6,700-foot elevation. There are more than 750 animals, some, like the giraffes you can hand feed, and have memorable interaction with the smaller critters at The Loft.

No doubt, the kids will also be psyched about The Space Foundation Discovery Center, an interactive museum that makes space exploration, science, math, and technology cool. There are more museums than you’ll have time to visit, like the Western Museum of Mining & Industry, Ghost Town Museum and the May Natural History Museum.

You don’t want to miss the opportunity to ride on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. It dates back to 1879 and is the state’s legendary and oldest streamliner. Travel the narrows of the Royal Gorge within the granite cliffs that are more than 1,000 feet above the tracks. Depending on the time of your train, enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner during your two-hour adventure through the Colorado Rockies. Maybe a train ride sounds too sedate, speed demons will get their fill of fun at Overdrive Raceway, with the high-performance Italian go karts. Colorado Springs boast the only two-story electric go-kart track in the U.S.

If you’re a beer lover and a biker, check out tours that combine both. Hit the trails and then cool off at some of the 30 craft breweries and distilleries in the area. There’s plenty good eating and drinking in this town. You can find Indian, Jamaican, Cajun and Creole, Japanese, German, Mexican and much more. You don’t want to leave town without sampling Bird Dog BBQ, known for its Oklahoma-style BBQ, oak-smoked meats and house-made gluten-free sauces. Old Colorado City, not far from downtown Colorado Springs is home too much beloved locally owned restaurants, art galleries, and boutiques. One local favorite is Front Range Barbecue Smokehouse Bar & Grill, where the food is yummy, and the live music home grown.

Colorado Springs is ideal for a spring or summer getaway.