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One Day in Colorado Springs: Nearby Hiking, Unique Dining & More

April 30, 2021

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Colorado Springs is a mid-sized city full of outdoor activities, great food and a variety of fun activities. The city lies beneath Pike’s Peak, the highest summit in the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The city is most known for Garden of the Gods, a National Natural Landmark where you can see orange jagged rocks towering into the sky.

Colorado Springs makes a great day trip from Denver or is a perfect Colorado weekend destination. This guide includes a wonderful hotel option in Colorado Springs and a one day itinerary.

Fast Facts about Colorado Springs

  • Population of 460,000+ people
  • The Colorado Springs airport is serviced by 5 airlines and flies directly to 9 US cities. However, you will have a lot more options if you fly into Denver.
  • 1.5 hours from Denver

Where to Stay in Colorado Springs

Kinship Landing is a uniquely modern hotel centrally located in downtown Colorado Springs. The rooms are beautifully furnished with wood walls and earthy tones. I stayed in a junior suite that included a queen bed elevated up on a wood platform, a cute cushion to sit on, a small sitting area and even a desk.

The Kinship Landing Hotel from the outside. The building is several stories tall and says "Kinship"Lydia sitting on a bed and holding a coffee inside of Kinship Landing. There wood on the wall and white bedding.
Kinship Landing

In addition to various sized suites, Kinship Landing also offers shared bunk rooms and even a camping deck where guests can go “camping” with mountain views and amenities like a private bathroom.

You’ll also find a delicious restaurant in the lobby, Homa. Homa serves a variety of items from breakfast to cocktails. I enjoyed the veggie handpie which was full of chickpeas, onions and carrots.

Overall, Kinship Landing is a beautiful boutique hotel that is perfect for solo travelers, couples and families alike.

How to Spend One Day in Colorado Springs

Coffee, a unique destination located outside of town, Garden of the Gods, a unique dining destination and dessert.

Loyal Coffee

The exterior of Loyal Coffee. The building is gray with white letters.Holding up a to go cup of coffee inside of Loyal Coffee. The coffee mug has a blue and white landscape design.
Loyal Coffee

If you stay at Kinship Landing, Loyal Coffee is located right across the street. The coffee shop serves some delicious toast options for breakfast, including sweet options such as ricotta apple and savory options with soft boiled eggs.

They also roast their own coffee beans and serve cocktails and wine. It’s a great place to either grab a quick breakfast or spend some time any time of day.

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Several giant red, pink and yellow rocks at the Paint Mines Interpretive Park.
Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Drive about 50 minutes east of Colorado Springs to explore a unique and colorful Colorado gem, the Paint Mines Interpretive Park.

I’m the type of person who is willing to drive an hour to explore something unique and beautiful! If you do not have a car or don’t want to spend two hours in the car, feel free to skip the Paint Mines.

As you drive up to the Paint Mines, you’ll see many flat grasslands. But when you get close enough, a canyon of color opens up before your eyes. The park is full of spires and hoodoos clad in chromatic displays of gold, purple and pink.

The area gets its name from the colorway clays that were collected by Native people from this region to make paints. The park has 4 miles of trails and free entry. It’s relatively small but is not as well known as other popular natural sights, making the crowds more bearable.

Entry to the park is free and pets are prohibited. It is also prohibited to climb on the rock formations. This hidden gem is such a unique and special place, be sure to be respectful to the land and leave no trace.

Garden of the Gods

Several large, orange rock formations sticking up out of the ground.Some large, orange rocks with a paved path going between them.
Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods is a National Natural Landmark and famously beautiful hiking spot that emcommpasses 1,300 acres of Colorado Springs. The land for the park was donated to the city of Colorado Springs in the early 1900’s with the conditions that it would remain free to the public.

The park has 21 miles of trails with a variety of incredible sandstone rock formations. If you only have time for one trail, check out the 1.5 mile Perkins Central Trail for close-up views to some of the highest rock formations in the park.

Other interesting trails include the half mile Ridge Trail with some views from higher up or the Siamese Twins Trail for a 1 mile loop with great views of Pikes Peak. The park also offers jeep and segway tours, bike rental and rock climbing. At the visitor center, you can pick up a map and also get a fantastic overlook of the unique red rocks sticking up out of the ground.

Parking can be limited at Garden of the Gods but a shuttle is offered in the summer months.

Ivywild School

The exterior of Ivywild School. There are several steps leading up to a double door entrance.A tall glass of beer on a table in the patio of Ivywild School
Ivywild School

Ivywild School is a unique destination that is perfect for enjoying lunch, dinner or drinks. It’s a bustling food hall and bar located inside of a former elementary school. When you enter, all of the elements of the school are still present but instead of classrooms, you’ll see restaurants and bars.

There are chalkboard-lined hallways, old school lighting fixtures, a vending machine that dispenses art and lots of unique touches. There are also some cozy nooks to sit indoors and ample outdoor seating where you can spread out and relax.

I enjoyed a vegetarian empanada from Lazo Empanadas, a fresh hoagie from Salad or Bust and a refreshing beer from Bristol Brewing Company.

Josh & John’s Ice Cream

The brick exterior of Josh & John's Ice CreamA scoop of ice cream on a cake cone at Josh & John's Ice Cream
Josh & John's Ice Cream

John & John’s Ice Cream serves delicious hand churned ice cream in downtown Colorado Springs. They have a one-of-a-kind process for making their ice cream that has been adapted from old White Mountain hand churns.

Flavors include ‘purple mountain majesty,’ ‘moose on the loose,’ and ‘Colorado cookies and cream.’ This is a great place to enjoy dessert after a day of exploring.

Nearby Colorado Springs

Denver is located an hour and a half from Colorado Springs (although allow extra time with traffic). Check out my Denver weekend itinerary for ideas on things to do in Denver!

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