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Posted: 7/21/2008 6:51:28 AM EDT
I'm taking the family to Colorado Springs for vacation in a couple of weeks.
I need ideas/recommendations on:
Must see's
Rafting
Where to hike
Best places to eat

Thanks for any help in advance!
RRA15
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 8:34:14 AM EDT
IMO:

Must do Pike's Peak - either the cog railway or drive the summit highway. There's a per-person charge in the car, but I believe it maxes out at $30 or $40, so for more than two people it's cheaper than the cog, but the cog's more relaxing and scenic, and has a narrated tour.

Should set aside some time for Garden of the Gods.

I'm partial to the Phantom Canyon Brewpub downtown for good food and micro-brew beer, but there's also scads of good to great restaurants.

Seven Falls can be a fun and scenic hiking day.

Spelunkers and South Park fans will appreciate the Cave of the Winds.

Archeo-nuts like the Manitou Cliff Dwellings.

Just wandering down the main drag in Old Colorado City or Manitou Springs can provide a wealth of souveneirs and charm.

If you've got the time, the Air Force Academy is a worthwhile tour (if they're still doing those? I'm pretty sure they are...)
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 3:07:03 PM EDT
+1 on all the above, except for the cliff dwellings; they're fake. I believe the AFA is open to tourists, but you have to take the north entrance and keep heading west. If you turn south at the B-52 (worth a visit by itself!), there's a guard station a short way down the road, they'll stop you if you don't have business on AFA grounds.

If you want to go rafting, head to Canon City, then up the Arkansas River, plenty of rafting outfitters there.

If you like zoos, try the Cheyenne Mtn Zoo, it's pretty cool and has a great view. You can also access the Will Rogers shrine from the zoo.
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 6:57:08 PM EDT
Thanks and keep it coming.
We are planning on going to AFA.
Any particular rafting company or spot that is best?
How about german restaraunt Edelweis- any good?

RRA15
Link Posted: 7/21/2008 8:34:55 PM EDT
Fargo's Pizza and Red Top hamburgers.
Link Posted: 7/22/2008 3:19:52 AM EDT
The Edelweiss used to be very good, I haven't been in that part of town in years, not sure they're even around anymore. La Casita is good for Mexican food.
Link Posted: 7/24/2008 4:45:14 PM EDT
edelweiss is still there and it is very good. Their escargot in Garlic herb butter is an awesome appetizer.

Link Posted: 7/24/2008 5:53:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/24/2008 5:54:25 PM EDT by Darrellbear]
Maybe I'm thinking of the Heidelberg, aren't they gone?

You might consider the Flying W Ranch too, it's touristy but fun, and right by the Garden of the Gods.
Link Posted: 7/25/2008 5:52:49 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Circuits:
If you've got the time, the Air Force Academy is a worthwhile tour (if they're still doing those? I'm pretty sure they are...)


Took my visiting sister out there yesterday. Be prepaired to show ID for all adult passengers. Be prepaired to have your trunk searched (very loose search). Call ahead of time to make sure that there are no Weddings going on if you are interested in seeing the chapel. 719.333.2025
Link Posted: 7/25/2008 7:27:57 AM EDT
TOne other option, the Olympic Training Center was pretty cool. Was there this past Monday. Our tour guide was one of the top US wowen weight lifters. Its a good tour to due at least once. FYI, the pool will be drained in a couple of weeks while everyone is in China.

Also, if you want this years beijing olympic gifts, it sure is alot cheaper than traving to China

Link Posted: 7/25/2008 7:57:45 AM EDT
Thanks for the ideas.
I'm trying to talk my wife out of the Flying W Ranch. Looks too crowded/tourist trap to me.
Any big Outdoor/Hunting/Gun stores in town worth looking in?

RRA15
Link Posted: 7/25/2008 2:40:38 PM EDT
Oh, I bet you and the family would have fun at Flying W.

Sportsmans Warehouse is out by Platte and Chelton. If you want to see a gun store, go to Specialty Sports, at Fountain and Jet Wing, I think. They claim to be the biggest gun shop in Colorado.
Link Posted: 7/25/2008 3:01:10 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Darrellbear:
Oh, I bet you and the family would have fun at Flying W.

Sportsmans Warehouse is out by Platte and Chelton. If you want to see a gun store, go to Specialty Sports, at Fountain and Jet Wing, I think. They claim to be the biggest gun shop in Colorado.


Fountain and Murry.
Link Posted: 7/25/2008 7:45:18 PM EDT
Darn, Fountain and Murray, of course! Heck, I was there a week ago!
Link Posted: 7/27/2008 7:59:33 AM EDT
I like the Golden Bea at the Broadmore Hotel. Good English Pub with good food. It is always on the must do list when my wife and I head to CS. Pikes Meak, Manitou Springs, Garden of the Gods and Patsys Candies are always stops for us. AFA is pretty cool. Nice museum and lots of stagnant displays to check out. The chapel is very cool - little dated by todays terms, but very cool non the less.
Link Posted: 7/27/2008 8:40:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/27/2008 8:41:40 AM EDT by Darrellbear]
Why does the AFA chapel have 17 spires? 12 for the apostles, and 5 for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Patsy's Candies is good, their toffee rocks. It's a pity Michelle's closed down...
Link Posted: 7/30/2008 4:19:17 PM EDT
what are the avg temps for first week of Aug.?
I assume cooler at higher altitudes.
Thanks RRA
Link Posted: 7/30/2008 4:47:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/30/2008 4:56:16 PM EDT by Darrellbear]
Average daytime temps in the Springs would probably be mid 80s to low 90s, getting down into the 50s at night. You can never say for sure what it'll be like... And yes, cooler up in the high country, if I remember correctly the rule of thumb is -10 degrees for every thousand feet of elevation gained.

One thing to keep in mind, though temps may drop the higher you go, the sun's intensity will increase with altitude. You can get a severe sunburn if you're not careful. Sunglasses are a must. Then again, weather down in the Springs may bear no relation to what's happening up high. The sun may be shining down here, and it's snowing up on Pikes Peak.
Link Posted: 7/31/2008 2:34:08 PM EDT
One other thing I forgot to mention--hydrate or die! The low humidity and thin air will suck the water right out of you. Drink before you feel thirsty, because by then it's too late.
Link Posted: 7/31/2008 7:53:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/31/2008 8:36:01 PM EDT by babirl]

Originally Posted By Darrellbear:
One other thing I forgot to mention--hydrate or die! The low humidity and thin air will suck the water right out of you. Drink before you feel thirsty, because by then it's too late.


YEP,


Average daytime temps in the Springs would probably be mid 80s to low 90s, getting down into the 50s at night. You can never say for sure what it'll be like... And yes, cooler up in the high country, if I remember correctly the rule of thumb is -10 degrees for every thousand feet of elevation gained.

One thing to keep in mind, though temps may drop the higher you go, the sun's intensity will increase with altitude. You can get a severe sunburn if you're not careful. Sunglasses are a must. Then again, weather down in the Springs may bear no relation to what's happening up high. The sun may be shining down here, and it's snowing up on Pikes Peak.


and Yep (well, close)!

We're experiencing extremely hot temps right now, but that can change rapidly and if you don't use sunscreen, you will get burned in short order. Oh yeah, don't go "insane" the first day or two and the altitude adjustment will be easier. Bring some lightweight rain gear because we're about due to get back into the afternoon thunderstorms.

Two weeks is almost "resident" status in the Springs! You'll gain plenty of ideas from the tourism sites/when you get here, but here are a few personal observations:

Unless you're in decent shape and start EARLY do not plan to climb Pike's Peak on Barr Trail! It's 13 miles, one-way, and that's a LONG way in CO! (Drive the Gold Camp/Old Stage route up one side of Pikes Peak and you can "judge" how long it takes to drive 25 miles in the mountains foothills...)

Best gun store in the Springs is Specialty Sports (Fountain and Murray), followed by Sportsman's Warehouse (Platte and Chelton). If you find yourself north of Denver, Jensen Arms in Loveland is a must-do!

Best rafting near here is on the Arkansas (about 1.5 hour drive to where you start from near Buena Vista/Salida); LOTS of companies and they've had a great year for a change. The Royal Gorge canyon is the "wildest" and still has some intensity even this time of year. You can go for 2 hours or 12+... Pretty good fishing for Browns too.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo/Will Rogers Memorial before/after you make your pilgrimage to the Broadmoor and Golden Bee.

If you're a golfer, you can play Ft Carson as a civilian at a "decent rate" that won't bankrupt the average player... They have GPS carts that tell you how far to the hole and the beer cart delivers to your location! (I despise golf, but I've played a few retirements...)

If you're locked into CO SPGS lodging, you can and will make a lot of day trips out HWY 24 or heading North to I-70 out of Denver.

- 11-mile Canyon and Platte River from there to Denver (Cheeseman Reservoir, Deckers, etc. -- Sadly, you'll also get to see lots of the "Hayman Burn" area and I guess that bitch in now out of jail. )
- Cottonwood Pass over to Taylor Park
- Chalk Cliffs/Tin Cup
- The "Breckenridge Loop"
- Guanella Pass Loop
- Hikes galore


Denver has a lot of awesome stuff to do and see also, and it's an EASY day trip without becoming too much of a road-warrior.

- Denver Mint (mind blowing, if you can get in)
- Natural History Museum/Zoo/City Park combo
- Coors Field/Rockies (Should be easy to get tickets this year ) Yeah, lots of griping about the long-ball but it is a beautiful facility!
- Red Rocks Amphitheater/Dinosaur ridge/Lookout Mountain (Buffalo Bill's Grave, almost caused a war with Wyoming)
- Pikes Peak is awesome but Mt. Evans outside of Denver is spectacular and cheaper for a "drive up" 14er! Idaho Springs "gateway" is a pretty fun little town (Beaujo's Pizza or Tommyknocker's Brewery -- Ignore the Buffalo Bar).
- LONG day, but do-able is Rocky Mountain National Park/Trail Ridge road -- It is spectacular. (HINT: Go up through Winter Park/Granby/Grand Lake SOUTH entrance and oppose the Denver/Estes Park traffic jam. )
- WINTER PARK Summer! Just over 2-hours and a fun day... MUCHO better than a day at Elitch Gardens!


OK, not near as scenic, but pretty cool is Bent's Old Fort National Park. There are places out east you can still see wagon trail ruts from the settlers.


Sorry, but we're fortunate to live here and you asked! There's just a LOT to do out here and it does take some driving/moving around. Just the local hikes around the foothills will impress upon you "how big" these mountains really are.

Enjoy!

(Then go home, get the hell outta' here... -- 4th Gen "native" )

B2

Have fun and shoot me an IM if I can help.

Link Posted: 8/4/2008 5:21:49 AM EDT
Edelweiss was good.
AFA Church service was worth attending.

RRA15
Link Posted: 8/6/2008 5:42:56 AM EDT
Phantom Canyon Brewing Co (sp?) was great place to eat downtown.
Raftmasters was a good trip down the river in Canyon City.
RRA15
Link Posted: 8/8/2008 6:32:58 AM EDT
Fargos Pizza - interesting place! Pizza was ok. Kind of wish we tried Old Chicago instead.
Little girl enjoyed horse riding through Garden of the Gods.
RRA15
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