As many of you know, Stephanie and I recently moved to Colorado Springs. From the beach, to the mountains, And, well, WE LOVE IT. We are grateful that the Air Force has allowed us to live here. There are so many places to eat, hike, and drive in Colorado Springs. It is amazing! Trust me, you should come to visit. Colorado Springs is surrounded by the Front Range Mountains (most famously Pikes Peak) where the number of adventures are bountiful. But, we think we may have found a legendary Colorado Springs day trip. Buckle up, this will be one of your favorite days in Colorado Springs filled with doughnuts, hiking, driving, and breathtaking scenery.
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First, wake up fairly early and hop in your car. This will be a full day. But, feel free to tailor it to your needs. First, head to Woodland Park. Woodland Park is a beautiful mountain town located just a 20-minute drive up the beautiful Ute Pass from Colorado Springs. Known as “The City Above the Clouds,” it is the perfect base for this epic day. We cannot wait to come back and explore Woodland Park to include the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Center, Horsethief Falls, Mueller, and Eleven Mile State Parks, as well as the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center.
You could spend the entire day in Woodland Park but we recommend you go to the Donut Mill and grab some delicious doughnuts and cinnamon rolls the size of your head! Seriously, they are enormous. Grab a seat at one of the picnic tables and enjoy the view of Pikes Peak while indulging yourself in some tasty dough.
Now, it is time to walk off some of those carbs! Luckily, the hiking options abound. We decided to do the Lovell Gulch Trail but some other favorites include; Catamount Falls Trail, Rampart Reservoir, and Peakview Trail.
The Lovell Gulch Trail is a moderate 5.2-mile loop through Pike National Forest. Pro-tip: do the hike in the counterclockwise direction for an easier hike. Don’t forget, to take in the beautiful views, budding wildflowers, and numerous butterflies while making your way. Caution, watch out for afternoon storms. They are not fun.
The main event: Rampart Range Road. Nestled high in the Pike National Forest is one of the scariest and most scenic drives you will ever do. But, it will be worth it! Amazingly, the Rampart Range Road is a gravel road that was built during the Great Depression by the Civil Conservation Corps. The Road is 38.4 miles long running from Woodland Park (minutes from the Lovell Gulch Hike) and ending at Garden of The Gods. Of note, the road is closed from December 1st to April 1st. Take your time to enjoy this beautiful drive with numerous vistas and breathtaking views of Pikes Peak and Colorado Springs. The road offers numerous mountain biking, camping, and off-roading opportunities.
Be sure to stop at Rampart Reservoir. Not surprisingly, a perfect location to hike and/or fish. Or, just to have a picnic. Interestingly, the reservoir is located 9,000 feet above sea level and supplies domestic drinking water to Colorado Springs. Stocked with fish including rainbow trout, lake trout, cutthroat, and longnose sucker the reservoir offers plenty of opportunity to hook the big one. Unfortunately, I forgot my favorite travel fishing pole. Seriously, this thing is awesome. Trust me, buy one to keep in your car. You can boat, fish, hike, camp, and explore the reservoir until your heart is content. Unfortunately, no swimming is allowed and you do have to pay a nominal $7 to enter.
Hop back in your car to continue your adventure along the winding road and be sure to stop at some of the overlooks that tower above Colorado Springs. But, fair warning if you are afraid of heights the overlooks might make you a little weak-kneed. The road winds its way ending up at Garden of the Gods. Be sure to stop by the trading post, the oldest and largest gift shop in Colorado with surprisingly great food. Find the best bison burger in The Springs here. And, if you are sill full from the doughnut and desire more hiking, meander along the towering sandstone features.
If you are looking for an awesome place to stay, check out Pikes Peak Resort! Breathtakingly located on 160 pristine acres surrounded by Pike National Forest, this is the place to stay to if you want some more time in Woodland Park.
We hope that you enjoy the opprortunity to eat, hike, drive: a legendary Colorado Springs day trip. Most importanty, get out and explore our amazing city! And, do not forget to share your experiences with us on Instagram: @schloetravels