Last week, I went on a road trip to New Mexico with my family – my parents, brother, sister-in-law and niece.
Because it takes 12 hours to drive to Albuquerque (where my grandma and aunt live), we stayed a couple of nights in Colorado Springs, the halfway point.
I haven’t spent much time in Colorado Springs before this trip, but now I want to go back! (I want to take the BF so we can go hiking and exploring!) It’s an amazing city with so much to do.
Here’s recap of our adventures and our eats…
Side Note: When we were about an hour away from Colorado Springs, I realized that I forgot to pack my Canon Rebel. Ugh! I was so bummed. So most of the photos in this post are from my iPhone. I used a few photos that my dad took.
Cog Railway to Pike’s Peak
You can take a train to the top of Pike’s Peak, which is 14,000 feet above sea level.
The views were gorgeous.
I was really looking forward to getting to the top because we were sitting in a spot on the train that didn’t allow us to have good views of mountain ranges, valleys and lakes. It was a bad seat for photography. So I just took a photo of the fam.
When we arrived at the top, it began to snow, thunder and lightning. We were instructed to stay in the Summit House, where they sell souvenirs, snacks and homemade doughnuts. The photo above is what I saw looking out from the top of Pike’s Peak.
We, of course, bought doughnuts to wait out the storm. They were delicious fried cake doughnuts.
We ended up having to board the train in small groups to avoid getting struck by lightning. We never got to walk around on Pike’s Peak. But the train ride was fun. We got a photo with the conductor, and we saw some wildlife – marmots, deer and bighorn sheep.
Garden of the Gods
This may be one of my favorite places ever.
It’s so interesting and beautiful, and oddly close to the city.
We drove through, which takes about 15 minutes, stopping to take photos every once in awhile.
My dad and I went back the next morning at 6 a.m.
He wanted to take photographs and I wanted to run.
I couldn’t believe how many running, hiking and photography groups were out at 6 a.m. on a Thursday. It was awesome.
My dad wanted to go here because he had been there as a child. We stopped by the Cripple Creek Museum, which had tons of information about the history of gold mining in the area. Cripple Creek began as a gold mining town in the late 1800s. The photo above is the view from the museum. So beautiful!
We then went to the Jail Museum, which was creepy and interesting. The jail opened in 1902 and was used until 1992. They used the same jail cells for 90 years! That place has to be haunted.
We also went to the Mollie Kathleen Mine. I thought this was cool because Mollie Kathleen was the first woman to start a gold mine in Colorado. I thought this was not cool because you had to get in a tiny elevator with six other people and go 1,000 feet underground.
I have a fear of being trapped, and all I could think about was getting stuck in that elevator underground and not being able to move my body. I also had a fear that we would get stuck underground somehow.
I had a minor panic attack before getting on the elevator (like, tears and not being able to breath). I kept telling myself that thousands of people go on this tour every year and it would be safe. I also wanted to show my niece that you shouldn’t let fear hold you back. I got on the elevator, closed my eyes and focused on my breath. I hated every second.
That is a look of fear.
Once we were underground, our tour guide, Steve, had tons of interesting information to share. He was a gold miner for 20 years, so he knew a lot.
Every time I found myself getting freaked out, I just focused on what Steve was telling us. My niece was the only kid on our tour, so she got to do a bunch of fun stuff with the tour guide.
The tour was great, and it was pretty incredible to be that far underground.
My family and I had been here when my brother and I were kids. Since then, it was bought by the Broadmoor Hotel because the attraction was damaged during a flood.
You park your car at the Broadmoor Hotel, which looks freaking amazing, and they shuttle you to the falls.
You take 224 steps up the series of waterfalls, which is located in a 1,250-foot canyon. The steps lead to hiking trails, which we didn’t take. We went in the evening, right before they closed.
The waterfalls are beautiful, and it’s pretty crazy that it’s so close to the city.
There is another viewing area where you can look over at the falls, which was also cool. This one has an elevator and stairs.
Cave of the Winds
My brother really wanted to go to Cave of the Winds. I was, again, not excited about going underground. But I liked that we didn’t have to go down because these caves are in a mountain. So you just kind of walk into the cave.
Our tour guide shared the history of the caves and how they were discovered. I loved hearing stories about people in early 1900’s taking tours of the caves. Only wealthy people could afford to take tours. Women would wear fancy dresses and have to crawl on their bellies through the caves.
I didn’t take many photos because the caves were really dark.
My brother, niece and dad did the Bat-a-pult, which is a zip line that goes across the mountain canyon. It looked pretty freaky.
Colorado Mountain Brewery
This restaurant is located in an old train depot, so the architecture is amazing. There’s also a great view of Pike’s Peak from the dining room.
I had the quinoa salad with spinach, almonds, cranberries and goat cheese