If you love Jane Austen as much as I do, you’ll know the title quote comes from her most famous written work Pride and Prejudice. Unfortunately, this post has nothing to do with Jane Austen. However, it has everything to do with the beauty of rocks and mountains! So if you’re contemplating a trip to majestic Colorado (or just live in the Midwest and miss seeing some awesome mountains), read on!
One of our married couple friends and my husband and I decided to plan a trip to Colorado Springs a few months back for a number of reasons – (a) we all liked hanging out together, (b) we all really wanted to see some actual mountains, (c) Colorado has been on all of our list of places we wanted to see and explore, and (d) we might as well do all of this before babies hit the scene. Thus, our calendars were marked for early October to take a jaunt across Kansas and into the lovely state of Colorado.
Below are some scenes we captured along the way and some advice on the absolute must-see, must-do things in Colorado Springs (especially if you only have a couple of days). We were also super blessed that our friends are videographers / photographers and they were able to capture all of these beautiful snapshots along the way.
From Kansas City, Missouri, it took us about 8.5 to 9 hours to drive to Colorado Springs (crossing through all of Kansas and almost half of Colorado). Below is what most of our scenery looked like…lots of wide open fields and rolls upon rolls of hay and grass.
We finally made it! Below was the sweet, sweet sight of our new little home for the next four days. Instead of checking into a hotel, we decided to rent a house through VRBO (which was a huge money saver as we got to split the cost but also make a lot of yummy, homemade food instead of eating out for every single meal).
We were also only a few minutes walk away from Old Colorado City, so we took a little stroll through some of the cute shops and eateries along the strip.
The next day we headed to the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway in Manitou Springs (about 10-15 minutes away by car). This is one of those must-see, must-do places near Colorado Springs. Pike’s Peak is not the tallest peak in the area, but one of the most well-visited as it provides a lot of scenery and activities for the whole family all year round. Fall is also one of the best times of year to visit the peak as you can see the autumn beauty of the mountains.
I highly recommend calling in and making a reservation for the cog railway as seats sell out quickly! Thankfully we had reserved tickets, and even though we went on a Monday afternoon in early October, tickets ended up being sold out. We got on the cute red cog rail train, and made our ascent to 14,115 feet above sea level to the top of Pike’s Peak (a little over an hour to get to the top). As first-timers, it was really informative to be on the cog railway as the conductors pointed out lots of sights while telling stories and sharing some fun historical facts along the way. On a clear day, you can see five states from certain points along the railway!
Here we are at the top! We felt like if we jumped high enough, we could land on one of the clouds!
Back in 1893, Katharine Lee Bates took a trip out to Pike’s Peak and upon seeing the diverse scenery across the country, penned the famous patriotic song “America the Beautiful.” Here we are standing next to an inscription of her poem turned song.
We were only at the top for about 35-40 minutes (although we captured plenty of pictures). We weren’t sure why our time at the peak was so short, until we got back on the train and started making the slow descent down the mountain. Over the course of an hour, we had climbed over 7,000 feet and that kind of altitude change can do a number on you if you aren’t used to the altitude or haven’t been drinking enough water. “Altitude sickness” didn’t hit us too badly, but we were superbly tired from our trip up and down the mountain; however, the sights were totally worth it!
The next day, we went to the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center (located about five minutes away from us; a huge plus, it’s free!). Although every where we visited on our trip was so awe strikingly beautiful, this was my absolute favorite place. If any of you have ever been to Sedona, AZ, it’s similar with its giant red rock formations; however, the center did a wonderful job laying out numerous trails (from paved, easy ones to more advanced trekking courses) that wind around the natural beauty of the red rocks. The pictures don’t even do justice to the beauty of the place.
After a beautiful morning soaking up the sunshine and clean, crisp air, we headed over to Cave of the Winds, a huge cave formation in Manitou Springs (also about 10-15 minutes away from our place). Our guided tour was very informative, and it was fun to see some natural beauty that was totally different from the cliffs and mountains (the picture below with the little building on the cliffs is the visitor center at the opening of the cave that opens up down below in the mountain…crazy, huh?).
We had some time to kill after our guided tour of the caves, so we swung by the Manitou Cliff Dwellings on our way back to our little house. It was amazing to see the buildings and artifacts of the ancient Anasazi’s who literally built their homes into the side of the cliffs. The small museums attached to the cliff dwellings were also very informative and they had a fun, extensive gift shop to explore through as well.
That rounded out our last full day in Colorado Springs. We finished it off with some good Korean BBQ (of course…what are four Koreans going to eat on the last day of their vacation?) and a couple rounds of Settlers of Catan.
After four days of fun and play, we were sad to leave Colorado Springs :(. My husband is already wanting to go back to Colorado sometime to do some snowboarding. We do love our hometown, but Colorado is definitely a beautiful place to go for a change of scenery.
Until next time! 🙂