3 Things You Must See in Colorado Springs

1. Pike’s Peak

At 14,511 feet with a 19 mile highway Pike’s Peak is a must see. Especially if you are first visiting Colorado. Being a native Chicagoan where everything is flat – my breath was taken away by the beauty of the mountains that are around every corner.

My breath was almost taken away as well because of the high altitude. If you are traveling at a high altitude for the first time I highly recommend you take some cordyceps a month in advance to prepare your lungs. I know I did, and it definitely helped me when I reached the top of Pike’s Peak!

I adventured with Dianne from Blanche’s Place to the top of Pike’s Peak – I highly recommend driving up to the top. There is a little train as well, but you can see more of the mountain this way.

So what will you see when you venture upwards?

Pike National Forest with beautiful different species of trees– Meet the Ranger Signs where you can learn about local geology, nature, wildlife, and seasonal events like fishing, marathons, and even car races to the top– Goats, deer, and even possibly BIGFOOT

– Lakes, rivers, and fisherman

Beautiful views of Colorado Springs from up high, it’s a goldmine for photographers

So what will you see at the top?

When you reach the top you will see the amazing geological formations over millions of years. As a flatlander – the affectionate nickname I procured while visiting – it was amazing to see red rock and sandstone for the first time.

Not only that, when you reach the top there is a little restaurant and gift shop that shows the short films about the history of Pike’s Peak. I won’t spoil it, but Pike’s Peak was pivotal in the growth of Colorado Springs and also inspired a little song called “America the Beautiful.”

No big deal.

Oh also, you will have to try the world famous donuts. You know how on the back of ready made baking mixes there’s two different instructions? One for low altitude and one for high altitude?Well because Pike’s Peak is so high, they have a super secret special recipe for their donuts. Definitely give them a try when you visit. They were the crispiest donuts I ever did try!On your way back down definitely take it easy, especially if you’re a flatlander like me. Drink lots of water, take your cordyceps to prepare your lungs, and if you feel dizzy let a ranger know – oxygen is lower up at the top so be easy on yourself.

Don’t let the views literally take your breath away.

2. Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is a must see when visiting. I went through the garden immediately after Pike’s Peak. I was totally unfamiliar with sandstone until I visited the garden. But I am absolutely in love with it.

There are over 300+ rock “sculptures” to admire and photograph. It was held as a sacred space for the Mountain Utes, but also the other nomadic tribes of the plains – first the Apache, then the Comanche, and finally the Kiowa, Pawnee, Arapaho and Cheyenne.

You can read more about the history here.

There is also a visitor and nature center that you can peruse to learn about the history, geology, and find which hiking trails are best for you.

The thing that I was most excited about was discovering that dinosaur bones were found in Garden of the Gods and around Pike’s Peak. I remember little Isabelle dreaming about becoming a paleontologist (what 90s kid didn’t?). But you can feel the history while you walk through the garden.

It makes you conscious of the power that nature has in sculpting the earth, and while hiking – you will be doing a lot of this in Colorado – you really can connect back with nature and the sacred. It’s very quiet.

I really recommend taking an afternoon on your visit to just walk, photograph, and admire the surroundings.

3. Glen Eyrie Castle

The lovely staff at Glen Eyrie hosted my visit in Colorado Springs. Hidden in the backyard of Garden of the Gods, I immediately saw it as a mini Hogwarts! General Palmer – the mastermind of Glen Eyrie castle – was inspired by English architecture at the time.

 

This is definitely the place to stay to get away from the hustle and bustle of work. Nestled between sandstone, forest, and high peaks Glen Eyrie is a little hidden Gem of Colorado Springs.

Each room is different – as this used to be General Palmer’s house. My room was a perfect size for me. A queen sized bed, beautiful bay window with a seat that I used to do my writing, a personal desk, beautiful bathroom with all of the amenities… needless to say I spent the morning of my tea time enjoying a bubble bath.

For the entrepreneurial nomads the wifi was on point. Very fast – I livestreamed through Periscope a few times giving tours of the room and the grounds.

Things to do at Glen Eyrie Castle:

– The Historic and Architectural Tour

The tour guides of Glen Eyrie are wonderful. Whether you want to focus on the people, the history, or the architecture bring your questions and curiousities. They are a wealth of information. I knew a little bit about the general history, but I liked hearing the hidden and human story behind the castle.

Fun Fact: General Palmer was basically the community gatherer for Colorado Springs. His Great Hall in the castle was used for the whole town of Colorado Springs. Their Christmas party was a big celebration every year.

– Afternoon Tea Time

I had the pleasure of having tea with the marketing team of Glen Eyrie. Each tea time has a different menu, a selection of 5-7 teas you can try, locally sourced and organic foods, and a very creative chef.

You can choose 2 teas to share with friends.

Never did I think that wontons, watermelon, and balsamic would pair so well together. The combinations and serving sizes are small so that the focus can be on every bite and on the conversation.

I highly recommend the Angel Mist tea – naturally sweet, floral and just the right amount of pucker.

– Visit to the Cafe

Before going on the tour stop by the Glen Eyrie cafe – it used to be General Palmer’s horse

stable – you would never be able to tell though! They have paninis, coffee, tea, and a variety of smoothies. I had the Queen’s Cup – a yummy raspberry and vanilla smoothie.

I also had the Glen Eyrie grilled cheese – their own special thousand island dressing, sauteed onions, and rye bread.

The patio outside the cafe is great to bring your laptop, journal, or just read.

 

 

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