Pop. 414, 658
GPS: 38°51'N 104°45'W
Apparently Pike National Forest—a 1.1-million-acre spread of sky-piercing peaks and mythic fly-fishing waters—wasn’t enough green space for Colorado Springers. So in 1997 the city created a conservation program that has preserved 6,000 more acres nearby. The newest tract is rugged Red Rock Canyon—already a local climbing favorite.
Your Turn: Tell us about your favorite Colorado Springs adventures, restaurants, and hotels in the comments section below.
Great hiking and biking are just west of town on Pikes Peak. Sign on for a novice-friendly a.m. trailride ($115 per person, including meals, bike and helmet rental, and permit fees (bikithikit.com/pikes-peak-biking.htm
). Or if you’re advanced enough in the saddle to DIY, tackle the rigorous Barr Trail (pikes-peak.com
Phantom Canyon Brewing Company makes the best of beer—Screamin’ Adam’s Scottish Ale, Phantom I.P.A.—and good, old fashioned bar food fried calamari, wings, artichoke dip (phantomcanyon.com
The Chico Basin Ranch, about 35 minutes southeast of town, is an 87,000-acre spread of sprawling sand sage prairie, lakes, and streams, home to coyote, badgers, and prairie dogs. For a week, you can live on the working cattle ranch, owned by the state of Colorado, and learn traditional, sustainable ranching practices first-hand (from $1,695 per person for six days; chicobasinranch.com
). You can also spend the night at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, where you can swim, boat or fish on their 35-acre lake (doubles from $99; ccofcolorado.com
). In town, try the Holden House 1902 Bed & Breakfast Inn, a restored Victorian home and carriage house (holdenhouse.com