5 Free Things to Do in Colorado Springs

A guide to great trip.

Courtesy of the City of Colorado Springs

Walk among the red rocks
At Garden of the Gods, a registered National Natural Landmark, you can walk along paths that wind through breathtaking 300-foot sandstone rock formations. The Visitor & Nature Center offers free hands-on exhibits about the geology, ecology, and cultural history of the Colorado region. There are also many hiking and biking trails.

See current and future Olympians

Top U.S. athletes from more than a dozen sports train at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The Center offers free tours to the public year-round, including a short film and a 45-minute walking tour of the complex. Visitors can see athlete training areas including the Aquatics Center, weightlifting and wrestling facilities, gyms, and more. You may even catch some athletes in action. There’s also the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, a 12-foot-tall Olympic Ring Wall, and more.

Hike near a waterfall
Helen Hunt Falls
in North Cheyenne Cañon Park is a small waterfall, but it’s big on beauty. A short, kid-friendly hike to the top of the falls includes bridges and sweeping mountain views. The Visitor Center, open in summer only, offers interpretive exhibits and scheduled hikes and walks.

Tour a military institution
The United States Air Force Academy offers free self-guided tours to the public. Start by viewing the exhibits at the Visitor Center and watching a short movie about the Academy. Pick up a tour map, then walk along a 1/3-mile nature trail to the Cadet Chapel. Other tour highlights include Honor Court, where you’ll see bronze statues and aircraft memorials, and Arnold Hall, which contains military and Academy exhibits. During the academic year, you may even be able to witness Academy cadets marching to lunch during Noon Meal Formation on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Learn about the Pikes Peak region
The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum has more than 60,000 objects on display that portray the history of the Pikes Peak region, covering Native American cultures, mining and agricultural history, and more. Rotating exhibits have featured topics such as space exploration, motorcycles, and baseball memorabilia. The museum has won local and national awards.

Sources: discover-colorado-springs.com, springsgov.com, visitcos.com, Colorado-springs-vacation.com

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest