Thursday, May 14, 2015

Wrapping Up an Awesome 10 Days in Colorado Springs

We've had a most excellent 10-day stay in Colorado Springs. Sure, the weather has been a little crazy in early May, with thunder storms, hail and snow, but we enjoyed watching the weather show right from the comfort of our home on wheels on our perch on the side of Cheyenne Mountain.

The morning after the intense hail storm was dry so we headed out determined to get a walk in before the next round of storms hit. We parked at the Cheyenne Mountain Library, walked a mile through a lovely neighborhood to the Penrose Heritage Museum, had lunch at the Golden Bee (an English style pub), walked through The Broadmoor resort and back to the library...and only got sprinkled on at the very end!

Spencer Penrose was a wealthy entrepreneur at the turn of the century in Colorado Springs. He lived life to the fullest and had great visions for the growing city. Among other things, he built the luxurious Broadmoor resort, forged a road to the top of Pikes Peak and founded America's second oldest motorsport event, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.

The Penrose Heritage Museum has an extensive collection of vintage carriages and an equally impressive display of memorabilia from the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. It's fascinating to read the stories of the evolution of the race from dirt track in 1916 to being fully paved in 2012. This was an excellent museum and it was free!



Many detailed interpretive signs tell the history of the race.

There have been a few crashes in the history of the Hill Climb, the most recent in 2012.

Dozens of carriages with detailed descriptions of their purpose and how they were typically used in Colorado Springs make up the carriage portion of the Penrose Heritage Museum.

In 1916 Spencer Penrose and his wife Julie purchased the existing 40 acre Broadmoor Hotel and Casino plus an additional 450 acres and set out to create the most beautiful resort in the world modeled after the elegance and opulence of resorts they had visited in Europe. Today, the resort is still a luxurious property and is fun to walk through. Fine art adorns the walls, beautiful grounds beckon, and the view of the mountains to the West provide a stunning backdrop.

Front view of The Broadmoor.


View of the West section of the hotel under threatening skies.

Those threatening skies did bring snow, we woke up to a winter wonderland the next morning. It didn't last long, but we had fun introducing Rosie to the white stuff...she actually enjoyed it this time around.





In 1879 Charles Elliott Perkins, head of Burlington Railroad, purchased 240 acres in the Sedona-like red rock country called the Garden of the Gods, on the West side of Colorado Springs. The property grew over time but he never built a home and preferred to keep the land open for the public to enjoy. Eventually his family gave the land to the city of Colorado Springs with the agreement it be forever free to the public. Garden of the Gods is now a very popular park, with a visitor and nature center, picnic areas and miles of trails. The rock formations are grand, but if you are looking for solitude you're not likely to find it here, not even on a weekday.

The Siamese Twins with Pikes Peak in the background.

From Garden of the Gods it's a short drive to the mountain hamlet of Manitou Springs. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is accessible from Manitou Springs, as is a trail head if you wish to hike to the top. The town is a tourist stop with plenty of eateries and drinkeries and little shops to browse. There are several soda spring fonts located throughout town, give them a taste!

From Manitou Springs we took the scenic route home. Gold Camp Road follows the former railroad for mining operations between Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek. Two tunnels, runoff from the recent rains, and plenty of potholes made for an exciting drive through the mountains on the North flank of Cheyenne Mountain.

Coming through tunnel 2.

The view into the mountains, that's a waterfall in the center.

For our last hike in the area we decided to check out the other red rock park in town. Red Rock Canyon Open Space has miles of trails among towering slabs of red sandstone, former site of a quarry. We ended up hiking a good 8 miles, well into the back country of the park, where we found waterfalls and terrific vistas as well as the amazing walls of red rock and the very interesting quarry site. Far less people at this park than at Garden of the Gods (on a weekday).

The Hogback rises out of a grassy valley.

A deer atop the Hogback imitating a bighorn sheep!

The Permian-age Lyon's Sandstone was quarried here in the late 1800's.
Several buildings still stand in Denver that were built from this stone.


Another large mass of sandstone rises up across from the quarry site.
Note the person on the trail cutting across the grass.



We'll miss Cheyenne Mountain State Park. It has been an excellent place to stay in Colorado Springs. In fact, we enjoyed Colorado Springs so much we easily could have spent a month in the area. But it's time to move on...Denver here we come!

Nature's bouquet at Cheyenne Mountain State Park.


19 comments:

  1. The quarry looks like an interesting find. And I like the phot of Rosie playing in the snow :-) I'm sure there will be lots of adventures to be had in Denver.

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    1. Rosie really surprised us by enjoying the snow!

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  2. Great post. I had never heard of the Broadmoor - that's an amazing place. Looking forward to seeing what you are doing in Denver.

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    1. We were spoiled by CO Springs...such a lovely city...Denver will be a whole different ball game!

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  3. That museum looks great. We will definitely have to stop there! Love the steps in the rock. Glad you're getting to enjoy some real weather 😀.

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    1. Me too! Even though the hail was pretty scary, it was also super exciting!

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  4. We did spend a month in Colorado Springs last July, but Joe wasn't feeling well. We would have loved the museum.
    The snow pictures are awesome...glad Rosie had a fun experience and the picture of the deer is pretty!
    Like you, we found GOG to be busy.

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    1. Yeah, that was an exceptional museum...and free even!

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  5. Love all that red rock! I'd love to visit the Garden of the Gods. Someday..... Yeah, my parents who live in Rapid City, SD got 13 inches of snow on Mother's Day! Crazy!

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    1. 13", that is crazy! I am a happy camper with just a couple of inches!

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  6. Beautiful pictures and what wonderfu places to hike. oved the pictures of Rosie and the deer i the snow.

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  7. We lived in Co. Springs for four years and seems you explored more than we ever did. Siamese Twins was always a fav with little kids. The history of the area is fascinating from Zebulon Pike, to General Palmer, to Spencer Penrose to the Hill Climb, to the writing of "America the Beautiful". Great place to VISIT.

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    1. Isn't funny how the tourists often see more than the locals!?! I even think I could live here...but the winters might be too much for me!

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  8. What a terrific guide to all of the fun things there are to do in Colorado Springs! Looks like you had a wonderful time, despite the crazy weather. I enjoy all of the diverse activities you guys come up with. Love the photo of Rosie in the snow -- she's such a great traveler!

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    1. I think you guys would like this city and campground!

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  9. I'm sorry we won't be summering in Colorado after all. We've been to Colorado Springs twice but never with the MH or to hike. Sure looks like you had a nice time despite the weather. Thanks goodnes for Auto Hikes as Sue Bank calls them:) I really enjoyed touring the Olympic Training Center there.

    See you in a little over a week!!

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    1. Fortunately there were not too many days that were completely wet...mostly afternoon showers. Denver isn't going to be any better it seems.

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  10. Your pictures just seem to be getting better and better! You've got a great eye for the dramatic. Can't wait to hear how you feel about Denver. It's huge!!! And it's STILL raining.

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