The red sandstones and the Rocky Mountains make Colorado Springs make it a lovely city to go for a holiday. However, if you have a bit of extra time or a weekend more to spend with no such plan of your own, take note of these beautiful places within few hours of driving distance from the main city.
Top 5 Most Visited Weekend Getaways from Colorado Springs
1. Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
Putting this as the first thing on the list might look strange because this is definitely not your usual two-day tour. However, missing this place will not be wise at all.
Bent’s Old Fort is a National Historic site in Otero County is south-eastern Colorado. When in function back in the 1800s, it was the only white American settlement on the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and the Mexican settlements; here business was done with the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Plains Indians.
Ruined mysteriously and then reconstructed, a visit to the fort means a walk down some shady lanes of history.
Distance from Colorado Springs: The driving distance of the 115 miles from Colorado Springs to the fort is a bit more than 2 hours.
Best time to visit: Spring and fall are the best time to visit anywhere in Colorado,and this is no exception. Plan your visit during March-May and September-October.
Places to stay: Santa Fe Trail Inn, Travel Inn of La Junta, Midtown Motel, Hampton Inn, Red Lion Hotel – all are some of the typical and quite reasonable lodging options.
2. Great Sand Dunes National Park
The Great Sand Dunes offer a great retreat from the busy and cacophonous life of the city. Located at the foot of the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the Rockies, the place offers the amazing six-hour trek trail to the top of the Star Dune at 755 feet – the tallest dune in North America.
You can also rent sledges and sand boards, indulge in stargazing and or check out some authentic Tex-Mex flavour in the Great Sand Dunes Oasis hotel outside the park.
Though the sand gets very hot in summer, you can see the beach appear in around late May and explore the secret caverns and waterfalls when the snow melts.
Distance from Colorado Springs: The place is 170.6 miles away from Colorado Springs, taking a drive of 2 hours 47 minutes.
Best time to visit: Late summer in May-June is ideal to explore it to the best, but if the heat is too much for you, opt for September-October.
Places to stay: Some of the laid-back, comfortable places to stay are Great Sand Dunes Lodge, Alamosa Inn, Great Sand Dunes Oasis and Valley Motel.
3. Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs is literally nature’s lap sitting amidst the greens at the foothill of the Rockies. They are known for their underground caverns and hot springs which are known to have healing and therapeutic properties.
You can spend one day relaxing in one of the vapour caves services offered by the resort spas, and,on the other day,take the mile-long hike to the Hanging Lake suspended along the cliffs of Glenwood Canyon with lovely waterfalls and turquoise water. The scenery at the end of the trail is quite breathtaking.
Distance from the Colorado Springs: Glenwood Springs is around 223.4 miles and 3 hours 40 minutes’ drive away.
Best time to visit: You can visit Glenwood Springs anytime of the year.
Places to stay: Hotel Glenwood Springs, Best Western Antlers, Glenwood Canyon resort are some of the places you can stay and experience true Mexican cuisine.
Durango is a bit far away, but the drive is always worth it. It is quite the historic town but in a very different sense.
The Durango-Silverton heritage railroad, which was laid down way back in 1882 for facilitating mining between the two towns, still runs for the tourists.
You can also take a lookat the locomotive exhibits and memorabilia at the Train Museum. Other than that, the place is known for its adventure sports – white water rafting in the Animas River, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking or even trekking along the stony trails.
Don’t forget the longest zip-line of the USA of 15 miles over the Animas River atop the San Juan Mountains, if you have the heart for it.
Distance from Colorado Springs:Located 307.4 miles apart, the two places are connected by a 5 hours 40 minutes’ long drive.
Best time to visit: Durango can be visited any time of the year, but since Colorado is anyway known for the hot summers, skip the summer months if you want to avoid the sun.
Places to stay: Best Western Inn & Suites, La Quinta, Holiday Inn & Suites, Comfort Inn & Suites are some affordable places to stay.
Along Colorado’s western slope is the place known for its wine peach orchards – Palisade. There are wineries and fruit orchards in dozens to visit throughout the day to explore in the brilliant weather that the place experiences more or all year around.
But most of the visitors prefer late summer because of the grand Palisade Peach Festival that celebrates the harvesting, juicing and distilling of the best peaches you will ever taste.
Distance from Colorado Springs: Palisade is located 3 miles away from Colorado Springs. It takes around 4 hours 45 minutes to drive to the place.
Best time to visit: As mentioned before, late summer, from around June to August, is the ideal time to visit as the peaches all turn ripe and plump for you to taste and buy. Before going, check when the festival is scheduled to happen to experience it.
Places to stay: Wine Country Inn is the only luxury hotel in the absolute proximity of Palisade. Other than that there are Bed & Breakfast places like Peach Valley Lodge, Vistas and Vineyards, Dream catcher, Mesa View hotel and some more.
If possible, make your bookings in advance and schedule your trip to avoid any unpleasant experiences, as these places are some of the favourite tourist destinations around.