Colorado Springs by RV and car

Pikes Peak biker

Descent from the top of Pikes Peak © Gail Hunter

Pike’s Peak or Bust! And a worthy trip to the top it is.

Using Colorado Springs as a base, there are several options. One is stationing yourself in any of the great RV park resorts to spend several days sightseeing and enjoying the hiking, horseback riding or boating on its many rivers and lakes. There are tour companies specializing in other sports.

Two rail companies offer great rides. The first is the famous Cog Railway – an alternate way for less-than brave S-curve drivers to reach the top of Pikes Peak. A restaurant and gift shop, perched at 14,210 feet above sea level, has a limitless view – 360 degrees – and offers the oxygen-starved walker a chance to sit awhile and expand his or her lungs. The second is the Royal Gorge Railroad from nearby Cañon City, regrettably missed by us – time constraints. I recommend allotting more time to Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs is one town where the RVer would be wise to park the rig and rent a car, both for the sake of the driver and the motorhome. The driver really can’t take his/her eyes off the road ahead. While the long range views are breathtaking, it is the frequent gaps where earth seems to drop away that make one’s heart blip. To add to it, you’ll see many hikers, hoping for a better view, teetering on tiny outcroppings.

Sparing your vehicle is another reason to rent a car. The climb is hard on the engine, but the descent is even harder – this time on the brakes. The Park Service recommends putting the car in the lowest gear and using the engine to brake you, with caution as you don’t want to wreck your transmission. Solution: rent a car.

Other sights to see

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods, courtesy CS CVBoard

Garden of the Gods – At first, we thought we’d skip this (too touristy?), but my daughter said, “GO” – and we’re glad we did. The variety of colors and shapes of the rocks was astounding for this visitor from the land of grey, sea-stained, seaweed-draped boulders.

This is a well-organized attraction. As you enter from the highway, nothing seems exceptional, but turn the corner and an amazing craggy red world unfolds. The drive is easy and well-marked. There are occasional spots to pull over for photos – and you will want them! Parking areas are provided for those who want to do some rock climbing (all abilities). At the end of the park you’ll find a very pleasant visitors’ center with food and an outdoor deck. This is on an alternate road back to town without having to repeat your drive.

Tuskeegee airman medal

"Former 2nd Lt. Franklin Macon poses in front of the Air Force Academy's Tuskegee Airmen statue.

The United States Airforce Academy Inspirational is the word that comes to mind. The scale is grand, and as you drive up the hill to the plaza backed by the soaring-roofed chapel, your eye continues on into the sky; realm of these brave cadets. Surrounded by wooded hills, it is also home to many falcon species. A peak nearby is christened “Falcon’s nest, where the airforce has been successfully protecting falcons (their mascot.)” quote from Gypsy Feet, Day 3

Falcon "Destiny"

Small visitor petting "Destiny" mascot on display Credit: Dec. 2007, U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III

Planes and statues inhabit the terrace. Models of old fighter jets are balanced as if in flight. An impressive statue of a Tuskegee Airman stands tall, as well as statues of other honored military personnel. This is a bronze replica of the Tuskegee Airmen Congressional Gold Medal. Macon’s original medal replica was stolen in a home burglary May 31.” Credit:U.S. Air Force photo/Don Branum

Music, Theater, Art Resources:
Peak Radar – your source for art, culture and fun

Hiking, Bikng, Horseback, etc Resources:
Outdoor Adventure

Pikes Peak Mountain Website – This is where you will find the history of Pikes Peak from the ground (at 6000 feet above sea level) to the top at 14,110. It describes Katherine Lee Bates trip to the top when she was an English professor at Wellesley College and how it inspired her to write America the Beautiful.*

Garden of the Gods Website

Royal George & Cañon City – Rafting, helicopter rides, museum of prisons and other historical shows

Restaurant Reviews from Trip Advisor
Hotel Reviews from Trip Advisor

Lodging and RV Parks

Garden of the Gods Campground – This would be my first choice to stay for more than a couple of days – with or without an RV. They have cabins for rent and plenty of activities for families. The prices are reasonable for the area…and ridiculously low when compared with sites along the Gulf of Mexico coast.

Cheyenne Mountain State Park – Another great choice. This is one of the Colorado State Parks, so your CO pass will be good here. This is the perfect place if you have campers interested in learning more about the nature of the territory; animals, habitat, birds, etc.

Goldfield RV Campground
We stayed here simply because it was right off I-25, inexpensive and we only planned to be here two nights. It was clean, but tight quarters. We had to park our rented car on the street.

Colorado RV Parks Reviews – Colorado Springs – Reviews of several parks (in case above mentioned are filled).

*Notes

Having listened to several versions of America the Beautiful on YouTube, I chose this version because it has a beautiful, comprehensive slideshow and is sung by Willie Nelson. There are many great choral versions, but Willie fits the mood of the Rockies and plains and does not veer wildly from the printed notes.

Gail’s other wanderings

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