September 12, we checked out of the condo in Boulder, Colorado and drove to our next home base in Colorado Springs. Last year we stopped here for one night, before heading north to Boulder for our niece’s wedding, and knew we needed to come back and stay awhile. On this visit, we were here for 2 whole weeks - our longest stop since we left Sedona in May! For this stay we had a lovely Airbnb in an old neighborhood.
Colorado Springs at 6,035 feet is known for Pikes Peak 14,114 feet and the cog railway that takes visitors to the top. We hadn’t planned on doing this and as it turned out the railway was closed for the 2018 season due to infrastructure issues. Until the owners determine what the next steps will be for the future of the railway, it will not reopen. We had thought we would take the drive up, but a new visitors center was in the process of being built at the top and there was quite a bit of road construction along the way, so we ditched that idea. Instead we decided to test our mettle on the Manitou Incline.
Manitou Incline or what I called stairway to heaven is an old funicular bed tourist attraction from Manitou Springs to the top of Mount Manitou. Plagued with rock slides and washouts, it was closed in 1990 and became a popular hiking trail. Here are the facts:
Incline begins at 6,600 feet and ends at around 8,600 feet. It climbs just over 2,000 feet in 3/4 of a mile. It has an average grade of 45% but is as steep as 68%. There are 2,768 stairs! It could be considered the ultimate Stairmaster - who needs the gym when you have this in your backyard? There was no doubt in our minds that we could do it. We paced ourselves from bottom to top so we wouldn’t have any elevation sickness issues, and we did it in 2 hours. It was amazing and exhilarating at the same time. While the whole thing sounds crazy, we mentioned if we lived in the area we could see doing it once a week! Now that’s a whole lotta crazy, but I loved it – didn’t care for the switchback trails down at all but I loved the stairs. The total trip was 4.29 miles including the switchbacks down and took us 4 hours 15 minutes. I might consider taking the stairs down next time, but that would be interesting because if you fell, you may not stop until you hit bottom!
Painted Mines Interpretive Park
In April of last year when we were visiting a number of National Parks, one of the parks we had stopped into was Capitol Reef in Utah. While I was in line at the ladies room the gal behind me struck up a conversation and mentioned getting in touch with her when we travel through Colorado Springs. While we weren’t able to connect our first time through, we arranged to get together on this trip and I’m glad we did. One of the places she thought we should visit was Painted Mines Interpretive Park about 50 minutes east of us in the grassy plains outside of Calhan.
Garden of the Gods
Red rock formations jutting out of the earth mark the landscape here. We stopped on our overnight stay last year to stroll around prior to having dinner but that was definitely not enough time. Fortunately, this time we were staying just 3.2 miles away so we popped in to see what the gods were up to on a number of occasions. It’s really great having something like this so close to town.
During our time in Colorado Springs, we visited the Colorado City Farmer’s Market. While not a massive market, it was one of the best we’ve seen. It had a great balance of interesting food choices as well as the fresh veggies and fruits of the season.
We thoroughly enjoyed our 2-week stay in Colorado Springs. We loved the quiet location and the newly built and furnished Airbnb. The neighborhoods were great for running and the trails in the area worked out well for D. We’ll miss the red foxes who lived in the woods next to us, as well as the mesmerizing turkey vultures in the nearby tree.
Thanks for joining our journey.