From Extreme Sports to Family-Friendly Fun, Colorado Springs Has it All

April 28, 2011 at 2:49 pm EST
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Some people would rather gaze from afar at a mountain peak than hang suspended from it. Fortunately‚ Colorado Springs offers outdoor adventures for folks at both ends of the spectrum.

CHALLENGING ADVENTURES

For truly adventurous spirits‚ white water rafting can offer the ultimate challenge. Rafting expeditions on the Arkansas River are classified according to their level of difficulty‚ although even the easiest is not for the timid.

Ambitious hikers head for the famously difficult Barr Trail leading up Pikes Peak‚ which looms above at 14‚110 feet. Other challenges include rock climbing‚ mountain biking‚ and horseback riding on Pikes Peak and at other rugged and scenic locales. Local outfitters offer guided tours ranging from moderate to difficult.

EASY ADVENTURES

If your spirit is more adventurous than your body‚ plenty of light and easy adventures await.

If hiking up Pikes Peak seems too ambitious‚ several outfitters offer van transportation to the top so folks can enjoy a somewhat easier biking trip back down the mountain. Or if you prefer to keep limbs inside a vehicle at all times‚ the Pikes Peak Cog Railway offers round-trip service to a viewing platform at the top of the peak. Along the way take in the view of the steep canyon‚ running streams and waterfalls‚ and stunning panoramic views as the train climbs to the top of the mountain. The trip is also family-friendly and wheelchair accessible.

The Garden of the Gods city park‚ with its beautiful view of red sandstone rock formations framing Pikes Peak‚ offers free access to 15 miles of hiking and biking trails‚ as well as horseback riding tours by Academy Riding Stables. The park does contain difficult trails too‚ so be sure to select the appropriate route. And don’t rule out rock climbing even if you’ve never ascended anything steeper than your front porch steps. A beginner’s rock climbing experience at the Garden of the Gods can be exhilarating and surprisingly easy.

FAMILY FUN

The area is rife with kid-friendly attractions.

Most kids love animals‚ so horseback riding at the Stables at Broadmoor is a popular family adventure. The famous hotel also has its own wildlife preserve, and visitors never know where the elk and buffalo are going to show up.

The Flying W Ranch‚ a working cattle ranch‚ offers a glimpse at life in the wild West‚ complete with family-friendly‚ alcohol-free entertainment.

ROMANTIC ESCAPES

Looking for the perfect place to propose‚ honeymoon or celebrate an anniversary?

In Colorado Springs‚ romance is in the air‚ and gravity is no limitation. Adventures Out West can help a couple in love feel lighter than air with a trip in a hot air balloon.

Most hiking‚ biking and horseback riding trails are self-guided‚ but tour operators are happy to accommodate couples; just choose a secluded spot to rest‚ and with a wink and a nod‚ the tour guide is as good as gone.

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