North Cheyenne Cañon Park#5 in Best Things To Do in Colorado Springs
If you're visiting Colorado Springs during the summer, consider spending a day at North Cheyenne Cañon Park, located about 6 miles southwest of town. This park comprises more than 1,600 acres at the bottom of a 1,000-foot-deep canyon; the park's differing altitudes can support a vast array of wildlife, including deer, mountain lions and black bears. In addition to miles of hiking trails, you'll also find part of the North Cheyenne Creek – a popular place to swim in the warmer months.
Recent visitors suggested you first visit the Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center, located at the park entrance. There you'll find interactive displays devoted to the park's wildlife as well as information on hiking trails to popular sites like Helen Hunt Falls and Seven Falls. Another place to obtain information is the Helen Hunt Falls Visitor Center, which is located at the base of Helen Hunt Falls. Reviewers traveling with kids said the trails were relatively easy. They also appreciated the lack of an admission fee.
The park is open to exploration every day from sunrise to sunset, and the Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center welcomes intrepid explorers every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the spring and fall. The Helen Hunt Falls Visitor Center is only open during the summer; the hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, check out the North Cheyenne Cañon Park's website.
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#1 Garden of the Gods
It's easy to see how this natural landmark earned such an ethereal title: These magnificent red rock formations look as though deities themselves could've carved them. However, the sandstone pillars are, in fact, the work of geological activity along a natural fault line, as well as rainfall over millennia. You can learn about the garden's formations at the visitor and nature center, which houses numerous informative displays and hosts daily nature presentations. You are welcome to explore the park on your own time (either on foot or by bike); the visitor and nature center also offers guided hikes, as well as bike, Jeep, trolley and Segway tours (prices vary by vehicle and tour length). Or, if you're looking for a more authentic "Wild West" experience, you can reserve your spot on a guided horseback tour offered by Academy Riding Stables.
Because there is no admission fee if you are exploring the Garden of the Gods on your own; previous visitors recommended returning to the park throughout your time in Colorado Springs to see the rocks at different times of day. They also offered high praise for the knowledgeable staff at the visitor and nature center. Others were pleased to find out that many of the trails are paved – meaning those using strollers and wheelchairs can still access the park. If you don't want to deal with the landmark's heavy crowds, plan to arrive before 10 a.m. on a weekday.
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