I know, I know, I’ve been pretty bad about keeping up with this blog this summer. Now that my online class has ended, I’m telling myself that I have no excuse not to practice my writing and share my experiences with you. So here’s the start to a couple posts on Colorado! This past weekend, I went to Colorado Springs with some of my family and loved it! I thought I’d share some of my tips in case you’re thinking about going (I’d recommend it!).
1. Go white water rafting This was probably my favorite part of the trip. We went rafting through Echo Canyon River Expeditions, and it was great! I had never been white water rafting before, so I didn’t really know what to expect. The white water rafting guides were great – they definitely knew what they were doing and also knew a lot about the surrounding area. They also took photos and videos of us with a GoPro strapped to the front of the raft as well as from photographers on the sides of the river. They have three different white water rafting trips depending on what you’re looking for. We went on the Big Horn Sheep Canyon trip, which had class II and III rapids. I thought this was a great level for someone with no white water rafting experience – it was the perfect balance between calm and slightly scary. Next time, I’d love to try out class IV rapids. Echo has a class IV rafting trip that runs through the Royal Gorge, which looks fun – the guides recommend that people should have at least some experience to go through the Gorge; however, they did say that they have some people who go on the trip with no experience. Additionally, they have a Gentle Family Float trip, for those with small children or who simply want a calm rafting experience. From the site, you can rent a wetsuit (You’ll want one.) and water shoes. There’s a restaurant there too, which although we didn’t eat at, smelled and looked pretty tasty (Personally, I wanted to try their bison burger or elk brat.). Overall, it was a great experience, and I’d love to go back!
2. See Pike’s Peak Initially, we were going to see Pike’s Peak via the Cog Railway. However, after an hour of waiting and then finding out that our ride was cancelled, we had to make other plans. The previous cog had gotten stuck on its trip up to the 14,115 ft peak (apparently something that happens all the time…). The cog railway looks cool (although pricey), and because cogs apparently get stuck all the time, I’d recommend considering driving up to the peak. That’s what we decided to do, and we loved it! It wasn’t too scary, it was much cheaper, and it was great because there were tons of places to stop along the way, each with a great view. Ultimately, no matter how you make it to the peak, via cog, car, bike, or your own two feet, it’s worth it to see the incredible view of mountains all around you for miles and miles. This, along with the rafting, was my favorite part of our trip.
3. Visit the Garden of the Gods This place wasn’t quite as big and breathtaking as I had imagined (blaming Pinterest for that), but it was still so incredible. What made this place fun too were the many different rocks that were easily climbable (even for me, and I’m terrible at climbing). Also, entrance into the Garden of the Gods is completely free, which is nice.
4. Go to Royal Gorge, but don’t hassle with going inside Honestly, this was my least favorite thing that we did. While the bridge and the view were both incredibly breathtaking, admission was around $20 a person, and was not worth it. You can see all that you need to see from the parking lot without walking in and paying the fee. Also, I would say that if you aren’t going to be in that area already, then it’s not worth the drive. If you go white water rafting in Cañon City though, you might as well drive over because it’s so close, but wouldn’t say it’s worth paying the cost of admission for. Royal Gorge is definitely overrated, so don’t feel torn up if you don’t see it.
5. Check out the U.S. Olympic Training Center It’s in Colorado Springs! Sadly, we didn’t have time to visit the center, but I’ve heard it’s a great experience. Adult tickets are only $5, and the video and tour of the center take only approximately one hour, so it’s something that you could probably easily fit in to your packed schedule.
6. Visit the U.S. Air Force Academy We didn’t have time for this one either, but I’ve heard it’s a great experience. The visitor’s center is open to the public everyday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The center shows a movie about cadets and a 31,600-square-foot building containing exhibits. Note that according to the website, large bags and backpacks are not allowed in the Visitor Center, nor are pets. Now what are you waiting for? Get off the computer screen and get to hiking!