Things to Do in Colorado: Manitou Springs

Amity Moore Joyce
| February 23, 2024 | 4 Minute Read
A couple looks out from a balcony among the Puebloan cliff dwellings. Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Attractions related to culture, history and wellness ensure plenty of things to do in Manitou Springs, a community that was developed as a retreat for the wealthy and chronically ill.


Manitou Cliff Dwellings

In the early 1900s, these ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings were meticulously relocated to preserve and protect them from vandals and looters. Today, because concrete mortar was used in the preservation process, you can walk inside them, grind corn and climb timber ladders to access a two-story, four-family dwelling (above). The site also holds an authentically recreated Pueblo, which houses displays of things early people used, such as a child’s sandal made from yucca leaves, ladles and pottery.

A young woman drinks from a water fountain supplied by a natural spring. Visit Colorado Springs

Tour the Mineral Springs

Purchase a $2 collapsible cup at the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center and follow a self-guided tour of eight restored natural springs (above), each of them bearing distinct mineral compositions, and thus different tastes. The cold, artesian waters were known first to Indigenous people and later to visitors seeking relief from tuberculosis.

Tea pots and scones line a table. Miramont Castle Staff

Miramont Castle

Stair-stepping up a hillside and secured to it by oversized metal anchors, this 14,000-square-foot stone mansion is the 1897 realization of French-born architect and Catholic priest Jean Baptiste Francolon. Discover the variety of architectural styles, highlights and uses of the castle’s more than 30 rooms on an easy-to-follow self-guided tour. An optional Victorian tea (above)—hats available for all—enhances the experience.

A red train makes its way through the mountains. The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway

The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Reach the top of 14,115-foot Pikes Peak the easy way. The cog railway (above), operating since 1891, runs updated, heated trains year-round, making the three-hour roundtrip journey more comfortable. Climb through forests, past waterfalls and into the alpine tundra, where bighorn sheep roam. Use your 40 minutes at the top to snap selfies with the Continental Divide as a backdrop; sample the surprisingly yummy high-altitude donuts sold inside the visitor center; and browse the exhibit dedicated to America’s Mountain—the one that inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write “America the Beautiful.”


Exterior view of the Cliff House entrance. The Cliff House at Pikes Peak

Lodging at The Cliff House at Pikes Peak

Stay overnight in what began as a stagecoach stop and has evolved into a AAA Four Diamond hotel (above) worthy of its National Register of Historic Places designation. It features 54 beautifully appointed rooms, including suites named after notable people who’ve stayed at the hotel. Each is decorated with elements appropriate to their legacies—a vintage phone in the Thomas Edison suite and historic photographs of circus performers in the P.T. Barnum suite, for example.

Dining at The Cliff House at Pikes Peak

In the hotel’s AAA Four Diamond restaurant, executive chef Marcelo Baca prepares elegant food—be it sautéed sweet potato gnocchi topped with sage butter and goat cheese or Colorado lamb served with raspberry sauce—that suits the classic elegance of the dining room.


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