23 Best Day Trips From Colorado Springs 2023
WANT TO KNOW THE BEST DAY TRIPS FROM COLORADO SPRINGS?
Our travel friend, Caitlin from Twin Family Travels, has got the insider scoop on where to go and what to do if you’re journey starts in Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs is a vibrant city at the base of the majestic Pikes Peak. From great outdoor activities, such as hiking and biking, to fantastic restaurants and shops, there’s something for everyone in Colorado Springs.
But why stop there? Just beyond the city limits lie some of the best day trips in all of Colorado! From stunning parks with sweeping views to historic ghost towns, discover 23 incredible day trips from Colorado Springs that are sure to please every type of traveler!
23 Best Day Trips From Colorado Springs
These 23 best day trips from Colorado Springs are the perfect way to see what the state of Colorado has to offer. It’s time to explore the majestic beauty surrounding this awesome mountain town!
1. Manitou Springs
Just a few miles from Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs makes for a great day trip! Whether it’s a relaxing stroll downtown or admiring the beauty of the area, there are plenty of activities to enjoy while visiting Manitou Springs!
Bring out your inner kid and play classic arcade games at the Penny Arcade, get up close and learn about the history of the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, and explore the beauty of Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. Take a short walk to see Rainbow Falls.
PRO TIP: The challenging hike of the Manitou Incline provides a great finish to your day and an opportunity to take in some stunning views.
2. Canon City
Canon City, less than an hour from Colorado Springs, offers an abundance of adventure and excitement. Start by boarding the Royal Gorge Railroad for a scenic tour through the gorge that offers spectacular views.
Next, head over to the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park where you can participate in a variety of activities such as crossing the bridge, taking a ride on one of the gondolas, tackling the Via Ferrata climb, or zip lining.
As if that weren’t enough excitement, spend a few hours white water rafting down the Arkansas River. End your day on the scenic Skyline Drive or take a walk along the Tunnel Drive Trail.
3. Pikes Peak
Another nearby place to visit is Pikes Peak. Enjoy breathtaking views along your drive to the summit of this iconic mountain. If you are feeling ambitious, take on all or part of the Barr Trail.
If you have kids, stop at the North Pole Santa’s Workshop amusement park at the bottom of Pikes Peak Highway. Here, kids can take photos with Santa and his elves, ride rides, experience shows, and get a glimpse of Christmas year-round. Another nearby option sure to make your children smile is the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center.
A day trip to Pikes Peak gives everyone a unique opportunity to enjoy amazing sights with some fun activities along the way.
Denver, about an hour from Colorado Springs, is a great place for a day trip. It has an abundance of unique attractions along with shopping and dining options.
Step inside the Denver Art Museum to explore the latest exhibitions and dazzling artworks. Next is the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, featuring rotating exhibitions and interactive displays offering visitors an educational experience.
Take a tour of the historic Denver Mint to inspect America’s coin-minting process, and explore the illustrious Molly Brown House Museum for a glimpse into the city’s Victorian-era past.
See what’s blooming in the botanic gardens or observe exotic species at Denver Zoo before finishing your day off on a high note at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
5. Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods is an amazing place to explore. Its spectacular red-rock formations are great for sightseeing and open to the public year-round. Plus, the park is completely free.
Hiking is the main activity in the park. See the impressive formations in the central garden area or head out on a less-traversed trail. There are plenty to choose from.
6. Paint Mines Interpretive Park
The Paint Mines Interpretive Park is a geological landmark.
Located near the city of Calhan, about 35 miles from Colorado Springs, the site is popular for its layers of clay, creating beautiful spires and hoodoos with captivating hues.
Visitors can enjoy walking through nature’s artwork formed by wind and water erosion. You can customize your hike to explore as much of the park as you wish. It is especially colorful at sunrise and sunset.
7. Pueblo- Lake Pueblo
Located just 45 miles from Colorado Springs, a day trip to Pueblo is the perfect way to explore the area’s rich history and culture while enjoying the great outdoors. Start your journey with a stroll along the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk, where you can find delicious restaurants, boutique shops, and even take a boat ride.
Then head over to El Pueblo History Museum or the Pueblo Heritage Museum to learn about the area’s past. Once you’ve taken in some culture, spend an afternoon at Lake Pueblo.
The stunning scenery and diverse wildlife make it a hot spot for fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Whether your passion is hiking, biking, or simply admiring the great outdoors, there are plenty of recreational activities to explore here.
Breckenridge is a great place to visit any time of year. Start in the center of town at the historic Main Street where you’ll find plenty of quaint boutiques, coffee shops, and restaurants.
Unwind with a leisurely stroll along the Trollstigen Trail and take in beautiful views while keeping an eye out for the mystical Breckenridge Troll.
To really explore this idyllic mountain community, take advantage of the more than 100 miles of hiking trails that cut into high alpine lakes and pass by secluded waterfalls and wildflower meadows.
PRO TIP: If you are visiting in the winter, pay a visit to the outstanding Breckenridge Ski Resort. Breckenridge is a little over 100 miles from Colorado Springs.
A perfect summer outing for anyone in the Colorado Springs area is a day trip to Frisco located 140 miles away.
Here visitors can explore the lush and scenic landscape via numerous hiking trails, take a boat out at the picturesque Frisco Bay Marina, and learn about the town’s history.
For nature enthusiasts, Rainbow Lake is a must-see with its peaceful surroundings that are rich with wildlife. The Peninsula Recreation Area offers plenty of hiking options for all fitness levels.
To learn more about the area’s colorful history, be sure to check out Frisco Historic Park and Museum. For some fun, head over to Frisco Adventure Park. It is a year-round attraction offering snow tubing, a beginner ski and ride hill, hiking, biking, skateboarding, and disc golf.
10. Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park is a stunning area of natural beauty in Colorado. Enjoy its majestic mountains, crystal-clear lakes, tranquil meadows, and diverse wildlife.
The park spans over 415 square miles, including various trails for hiking and backpacking.
Even if you aren’t into hiking, driving through the park on Trail Ridge Road is worth the trip! Step into a visitor center, stop to enjoy the views and keep an eye out for wildlife nearby.
FYI: The park is located about 140 miles from Colorado Springs.
11. Estes Park
Estes Park, a gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park, is the perfect spot for a day trip. Located 140 miles from Colorado Springs, Estes Park has a small-town vibe with an incredible landscape surrounding it.
Explore the historic downtown shops and breweries, take a leisurely stroll along the Riverwalk, or check out the historic Park Theater. Visit the Stanley Hotel, made famous by being featured in one of Stephen King’s most popular horror movies, The Shining.
Ready to enjoy the great outdoors? Then come join in on the kayaking and paddleboarding adventures around Lake Estes! You can also walk along the perimeter of the lake by following the Lake Estes Trail.
A trip to Boulder promises the perfect mix of outdoor exploration and cultural enrichment. From hikes up Flagstaff Mountain for stunning views to tubing down Boulder Creek – there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy your day.
Pay a visit to the Persian Dushanbe Teahouse for a taste of exotic culture in the heart of this city. This unique setting will provide a meal that you will not soon forget!
Make sure to also check out the Museum of Boulder and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art while in town. Boulder is located about 100 miles from Colorado Springs.
13. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, just 35 miles from Colorado Springs, is like a time machine for visitors. Here, you can gain insights into the geologic past and walk among once-common plants and animals which lived 34 million years ago.
Evidence of their existence lies in the petrified tree stumps and over 1,700 species discovered so far. There are hiking trails as well as the Hornbek Homestead from 1878 to check out.
A stop at the nearby Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center is a memorable experience worth exploring if you are interested in learning about their conservation efforts.
14. Eldorado Canyon State Park
Eldorado Canyon State Park is an outdoor paradise full of stunning natural wonders. Located just southeast of Boulder and 100 miles from Colorado Springs, the lofty red rock formations are a hiking and climbing enthusiast’s dream.
This park is an idyllic spot for everyone, from novice to advanced hikers, offering a wide range of trails to explore.
Fishing, bird watching, and wildlife viewing are popular activities as well. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular winter activities in the state park.
15. Lost Creek Wilderness
The Lost Creek Wilderness, located 80 miles from Colorado Springs, is a stunning outdoor paradise. It offers 105 miles of wilderness trails and breathtaking views.
With the sheer number of trails and varying terrain throughout the area, adventurers of all skill levels will find something to enjoy. It covers almost 120,000 acres, providing ample opportunity to recharge by getting outdoors.
16. Idaho Springs
A day trip to Idaho Springs is an ideal escape with its unique blend of year-round attractions and rugged natural beauty.
Located only 100 miles from Colorado Springs, this small, yet delightful mountain town offers plenty of attractions for visitors to enjoy.
At the Argo Gold Mill and Tunnel, take a step into the past as you learn about Colorado’s rich mining heritage. An invigorating soak at Indian Hot Springs is another pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
To top off your winter visit, Echo Mountain is home to some great skiing that is easy to access and affordable! If you are visiting in the summertime, you can go on an exhilarating rafting trip through Clear Creek Canyon instead.
If you’re looking for something more low-key, there are several great hiking trails and fishing spots located nearby, plus offroading opportunities for adventure junkies. Whether you plan to relax or explore, Idaho Springs is sure to be full of fun activities!
17. Bishop Castle
Bishop Castle, located just over 70 miles from Colorado Springs, is an extraordinary and unique destination for travelers. The castle was constructed by the legendary Jim Bishop, and it is a true testament to his passion for craftsmanship.
Spanning three stories and 160 feet in height, Bishop Castle boasts grand winding staircases as well as a fire-breathing dragon. The views from the top of the castle showcase stunning alpine landscapes along with lakes and rivers throughout the nearby areas.
18. Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is the perfect place for history lovers! Located 115 miles from Colorado Springs, it is a reconstructed 1840s adobe fur trading post along the Santa Fe Trail.
The park’s documentary film provides a fascinating insight into the history of the fort as well as what life was like in this area centuries ago.
Visitors have the opportunity to take a self-guided tour of the fort. Those looking for some outdoor exploration can also enjoy a 1.5-mile interpretive trail along the river. Bent’s Old Fort is both an educational and enjoyable experience.
19. Great Sand Dunes National Park
Located 165 miles from Colorado Springs, Great Sand Dunes National Park offers a remarkable opportunity to explore one of the unique landscapes in the world.
The park is an incredible convergence of towering dunes and mountains. At an amazing 741 feet, Star Dune is the tallest sand dune in North America.
Rent a sand sled or sandboard to zip down the dunes. Or, set out on a hike across the dune field.
During late spring into early summer, visitors can enjoy wading in Medano Creek as the snowmelt cascades down from the nearby mountains.
20. Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, located about 100 miles from Colorado Springs, is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. The region is characterized by breathtaking mountain views, rushing rivers, and a plethora of wildlife.
Visitors have their choice of activities, such as scenic driving tours, hiking trails, fishing, kayaking, and white water rafting. Regardless of your activity preference, Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area offers something for everyone that wants to experience the wonders of one of Colorado’s most beautiful areas.
21. Cripple Creek
A great day trip option for anyone near Colorado Springs is a visit to Cripple Creek. Located just 45 miles away, there is plenty of history and adventure to be experienced here!
Start your visit off by taking a ride on the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad, which will bring you back in time to the gold mining days. For a unique experience, consider a trip underground at the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine.
Check out one of the several museums in town such as Outlaw and Lawmen Jail Museum, Old Homestead House Museum, Cripple Creek District Museum, or the Cripple Creek Heritage and Information Center – all of which provide insight into different aspects of the area’s colorful past.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous and want some stunning views, take the long way back and drive down Phantom Canyon Road.
22. Indian Peaks Wilderness Area
The Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, located about 120 miles from Colorado Springs, is a pristine outdoor oasis perfect for adventuring.
Located along the Continental Divide near Boulder, this 73,000-acre area offers visitors beautiful alpine views and plenty of hiking opportunities.
The area includes 28 trails spanning a whopping 133 miles. With its abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy, it’s no surprise that Indian Peaks Wilderness Area continues to draw adventurers from near and far.
Located 110 miles from Colorado Springs, Georgetown is another great day trip option. Visit the historic downtown including the Hotel de Paris Museum. The Loveland Ski Area is nearby so you can hit the slopes in the winter months.
Take the Capital Prize Gold Mine Tour to explore the area’s gold mining history. The Georgetown Loop Railroad is another fun experience.
Drive the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway for epic views. And don’t miss out on the outdoor opportunities including the Herman Gulch Trail.
Scenic Drives Near Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs has some amazing scenic drives nearby to explore. The Pikes Peak Highway is one of the most popular, as it takes you through winding curves and up steep inclines until you reach the peak of Pikes Peak.
The Gold Belt Scenic Byway offers an incredible drive through historic sites like the Victor Mining District and Cripple Creek. Skyline Drive in Canon City provides incredible views as well, attracting sightseers with its impressive mountain vistas and gorgeous landscapes.
Exploring these roads will leave you with unforgettable memories of the stunning southern Colorado landscape!
How Many Days Do You Need In Colorado Springs?
Colorado Springs is an exciting city with many attractions that can be experienced in just a few days or really immerse yourself and stay for up to a few weeks.
To explore the highlights of what this beautiful Colorado town has to offer, you should plan for about four days in the area. Explore the amazing day trips available nearby by adding extra days to your itinerary.
Is Colorado Springs Worth Visiting?
Colorado Springs is a lively city that’s full of beauty and adventure. There are plenty of outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy, from hiking to mountain biking, as well as popular attractions like Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak.
The city has plenty of dining and shopping options that can be enjoyed in between sightseeing.
Conclusion: Day Trips From Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs has ample nearby day trip options to explore for all types of travelers. From its canyons, creeks, and trails to vibrant cities, the area offers adventure, exploration, rest, and relaxation.
Active tourists can choose from a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, river rafting, or climbing, while those hoping for a more leisurely experience can try a scenic train tour or drift away in hot springs.
Whether shopping for hidden gems in antique stores or discovering wildlife on nearby trails, travelers can create an unforgettable experience in and around Colorado Springs that will make them eager to return for more.