Exploring Pikes Peak + Garden of the Gods

Hello friends! My parents recently came in town for a visit and we decided to check out some iconic Colorado Springs sights: Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. If you find yourself in Colorado Springs, these are two beautiful spots well worth a visit.

First up was Pikes Peak, also known as America’s Mountain. My dad and I actually hiked Pikes Peak via the Barr Trail several years ago, which was quite the adventure. This time around we decided to take the easy route and just drive up. There are lots of pull-off and viewpoint areas along the drive up so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take pictures and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Pro tip: pay for your tickets online in advance for a small discount! It’s also helpful to call before making the drive over to ensure entire road up is open, as they sometimes close it for poor weather or high winds.

Pikes Peak recently opened a brand new visitors center which is super nice and modern. You must try the famous fresh donuts and coffee, and make sure you take a stroll through their small museum as well. The visitor center is also a great opportunity to take a seat and drink some water which will help you avoid getting altitude sickness. It’s super common to feel lightheaded, dizzy, or nauseous when you gain elevation so quickly, so it’s really important to listen to your body and stay hydrated.

Pro tip: it is typically very cold and windy at the summit, even if the weather in the city of Colorado Springs is mild. Make sure you bring layers!

This was my first time driving myself down the mountain, as I’ve always pawned the task off to my husband or parents in the past. Pikes Peak Highway can be a bit stressful because of how steep and curvy it is, and if you’re not a fan of heights you may be a bit wary of the sheer drop-offs. If you don’t feel like taking on the task of driving yourself, there’s also the option of taking the Cog Railway. I haven’t taken it myself, but I’ve heard it’s another beautiful way to experience the mountain.

Next up was Garden of the Gods, an iconic outdoor area featuring dramatic spires and formations of vibrant red rock. Garden of the Gods offers tons of opportunities for walking, hiking, cycling, horseback riding, and rock-climbing, so there’s really something for everyone! Even if you just drive through the garden, it’s a stunning area any time of year.

Another perk of visiting Garden of the Gods is how close it is it’s location and proximity to other activities. I would recommend visiting the garden earlier in the day, grabbing lunch at a nearby brewery (I personally recommend Trinity Brewing – we loved it so much we went twice in one week!) and then doing some late afternoon shopping in downtown Colorado Springs or the nearby Manitou Springs.

Colorado Springs is a beautiful town with so many activities and sights to offer. We’ve had a lot of fun hosting friends and family over the past year since moving here, and we’re always discovering new spots. What are some of your favorite things to do in the Colorado Springs area?

Leaf Peeping in Colorado

Fall is officially here and I couldn’t be more excited! Growing up, fall has always been my favorite season. There’s just something about a chill in the air and a cup of hot apple cider that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
This is my first time celebrating fall in Colorado and I knew I had to plan a day for my husband and I to take a drive and enjoy the beautiful colors. We settled on Interlaken Trail near Twin Lakes, and it did not disappoint.

Twin Lakes is about two and a half hours from our home base in Colorado Springs and located just north of Buena Vista, a cute mountain town. We got a late start to the day but still made time to grab drinks from The Coffee Cottage in Woodland Park, another little town worth a visit. The drive to Twin Lakes was beautiful in and of itself, and we spotted lots of aspen groves that were bright golden yellow.

We finally made it to the Interlaken Trailhead around 3:30pm, which turned out to be a great time to visit as it wasn’t crazy crowded and it wasn’t too hot. Some clouds were starting to roll in which contrasted beautifully with the golden aspens.

We started to hike along the Interlaken Trail but soon decided to head straight for the shoreline of the lake. My husband brought some fishing gear and our dog Willie was super eager to explore. We wandered along the shoreline, took some family pictures, and headed back home after about an hour of meandering around.

I would love to revisit Interlaken Trail another day when we have more time to explore as I’ve heard there are some old abandoned buildings at the end of trail! All in all, I was blown away by how beautiful Colorado is this time of year, and I’m so thankful we got a chance to experience it firsthand.