Located just south of Denver, Colorado Springs is a perfect place for a 3-day weekend getaway. This beautiful area offers adventures, sunny skies, and crisp mountain air all year round. The road trip from Denver to Colorado Springs was so scenic and enjoyable, especially after our flight. Logan and I visited Colorado Springs in January for a 3-day weekend adventure in celebration of our anniversary! This itinerary is so fun, I filled it with all the best spots in the area for you.
Here are some of the highlights and must-see spots we found during our Perfect Weekend in Colorado Springs
Best Time to Visit Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs experiences all 4 seasons, with lots of sunshine, low humidity, and brilliant blue skies. Throughout the year, temperatures will vary from 20°F to 84°F and is rarely below 4°F or above 92°F.
Spring in Colorado Springs
The Spring season begins at the end of March. However, winter often lasts through April due to the climate. The end of April – May is the perfect time of year to see all of Colorado come to life. You’ll find fields of wildflowers, animals coming out from hibernation, birds chirping, and more.
Summer in Colorado Springs
Summers are warm and inviting with comfortable temperatures. The summer season is 3.3 months long from June to September with an average temperature of 76°F – 84°F the hottest day typically falls on the first week of July. Making summer the best time to visit for white water rafting, hot air balloon rides, and hiking.
Fall in Colorado Springs
The fall season in Colorado Springs is typically between September and early October above 8,500 feet in elevation in the mountains and late September to early November below 8,500 feet. The brilliant colors of red, yellow, & orange pop up all across the state, and make for beautiful photos. It’s also a great time to go hiking.
Winter in Colorado Springs
Winter in Colorado Springs can be very cold and dry. Typically partly cloudy for most of the season. The snowy period of winter lasts for a whopping 6.5 months, from October 16 to May 1. If you are visiting Colorado Springs during the winter, the most snow falls during the 31 days centered around March 29, making this a great time to hit the ski slopes in the mountains.
How to Get to Colorado Springs
Fly into Denver (DEN) International Airport & drive a rental car 1.5 hours south to Colorado Springs. You can also fly into the Colorado Springs Airport (COS), putting you right in the city. If you choose to do this you can either rent a car or take public transportation.
Rent a Car
From Denver Airport drive 1.5 hours south down highway 25 towards Colorado Springs. During our weekend in Colorado Springs, we rented a car to have the freedom and flexibility to move at our own pace.
Where to Stay in Colorado Springs
Downtown Colorado Springs
Downtown is buzzing with boutiques, parks, eateries, and a lively nightlife scene. Drink at the local breweries, and wine bars, then dance the night away at a club or concert! The area is a designated creative district. Walk around the city and you’ll find sculptures dotting its streets.
West Colorado Springs
This residential area is quiet and laid back. You’ll be close to nature to enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, and rock climbing. West Colorado Springs is also home to both the Garden of the Gods and the Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
A great resort area to stay for the perfect weekend in Colorado Springs. Just outside of the city limits, the town is known for its incredible panoramic views of Pikes Peak. You’ll find The Manitou Cliff Dwellings, a group of reassembled ancient cliff structures, and the entrance to Pike Peaks Highway here. Hike up a steep slope on the Manitou Incline Trail (reservations required) or shop on Manitou Avenue, home to art galleries and specialty boutiques. If you’re over 21+ and enjoy cannabis, you may consider staying at INNhale Cannabis B&B.
Spend some quality time in the great outdoors at one of the many Colorado Springs campgrounds. You’ll find rustic walk-on sites, fully equipped RV sites, and even cabins.
Read: 10 Unique Places to Stay in Colorado Springs
There are four main ways to explore pikes Peak and reach the summit:
Drive Your Car
Experience the beauty of the mountain as you ascend up the scenic Pikes Peak Highway. There is a $15 per person entry fee to access the road that winds its way up the mountain. More information from visitcoloradosprings.com
Private & Group Tours
If you’re short on time and want to make the most out of your weekend you can find private and group tours that will take you to the summit of Pikes Peak as well.
For The Really Adventurous
For the really adventurous visitors, try biking or hiking to the peak. There are tour companies that will drive you to the top and provide a guided bike tour down the mountain.
Go hiking on one of the many trails in the Pikes Peak area. If you plan on hiking your way to the top – Barr Trail is the most popular route to reach the summit. No matter which method you choose you will not be disappointed with Pikes Peak – “America’s Mountain” is stunning.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space
This open space park is a 1,474-acre city park of exposed layers of sedimentary rock that have been turned upward at the base of Pikes Peak. Deep canyons filled with gorgeous colored stones in gold, salmon, and other colors. The space was privately owned until 2003 when it was bought by the City of Colorado Springs. The land was divided into five separate tracts, and each track has specific restrictions as to how it can be utilized.
Red Rock Canyon is located along Highway 24.
3550 W High St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
This striking park is DRONE and DOG FRIENDLY!! Other activities in the park include a campground, hiking trails, horse trails, a bike park, mountain bike trails, a large fenced-in dog park, and more!
Hiking Trails in Red Rock
- Contemplative Trail
- Sand Canyon Trail
- Mesa/Greenlee Trail loop
- Roundup Trail
- Upper and Lower dog loops (off-leash dog areas)
- Quarry Trail
- Hogback Trail/Lion Loop
Download: Red Rock Canyon Open Space trail map
Paint Mines Interpretive Park
Paint Mines Interpretive Park is Colorado’s BEST KEPT SECRET. Just under an hour’s drive east of Colorado Springs will take you to Colorado’s most unique open space. The Paint Mines are given their name for their beautiful, bright colorful clays. The clay was once collected by American Indians to make paint in various colors.
The bright rainbow-colored bands get their colors from oxidized iron compounds. The Paint Mines Interpretive Park contains evidence of human life from as far back as 9,000 years ago! The park’s geological formations are spires and hoodoos, formed through various erosive actions. Creating gullies and layers of colored clay you see along the hike.
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods Park is a registered National Landmark of 1,300 acres of stunning red sandstone formations. The park is free to enter, making this a budget-friendly activity! Make sure to bring your camera, you’re going to want pictures of this stunner of a park.
You won’t want to miss this gem during your perfect weekend adventure in Colorado Springs. There are 15 miles of hiking trails spread throughout the Garden of the Gods Park. The park is family-friendly with difficulty levels that vary from easy, paved paths to scrambling. There are trails for everybody and you can even drive a segway through Juniper Loop. Stop at the Visitor Center and pick up a free trail map. While you’re there you can ask a volunteer what trails they suggest for your skill level.
Length: ½ mile – 4 miles depending on trail
Duration: 20 minutes – 4 hours depending on trail
Trail Difficulty: easy to moderate depending on trail
Scenery: gorgeous views of the unique rock formations found in Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain
Recommended for: Hikers, Dogs, Horses, Mountain Biking
The park is open year-round:
May 1 – Oct 31 5am – 11pm
Nov 1 – Apr 30 5am – 9pm
Join a small group tour that takes you to both the Garden of the Gods AND Pikes Peak. If you’re looking to sit back and relax, take a full-day tour and enjoy that PLUS a city tour.
More Things to do in Colorado Springs
If you’re looking around other south-central Colorado areas, these additional experiences will add even more adventures to your perfect vacation.
Take an adventure on a hot air balloon ride in Colorado Springs. There is also a scenic zipline that zips you down the mountain soaring high over the tree tops. For the really adventurous there is rock climbing at the Garden of the Gods to explore the area at a whole new level. If you’re visiting in the summer, take the ultimate adventure down the Colorado river on a white water rafting tour
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Explore the rainbow-colored rocks & formations at Painted Mines park, a short drive away from Colorado Springs!
Thank you so much for sharing all this wonderful info with the how-to’s!!!! It is so appreciated!!! Well, I am really thankful for all your inputs shared on this matter
You just saved me so much time by planning out the perfect weekend!!!
Colorado is an amazing destination and place to live. Did you get a chance to hike the Manitou Incline when you visited?
We didn’t unfortunately 🙁 there’s never enough time to see it all is there?
Oh wow Colorado Springs looks amazing! I didnt realise that’s where Red Rock and Garden of the gods were actually. I visited them a few months back, but I wasnt driving so had no clue where we were haha. Driving into Red Rock was so beautiful, was just lovely to see!
I’m glad you enjoyed yourself! The drive throughout the park was stunning. I could’ve spent more time there if we weren’t on a schedule haha
Colorado Springs looks stunning! We planned to visit it in 2021 but couldn’t do so due to the pandemic. Let’s hope our dream comes to reality in 2022.
This area looks stunning Chelsea. We plan to make it out that way sooner than later. What immense natural beauty. Brilliant.
I love Colorado Springs and got a chance to visit the city several times. We ventured to Paint Mines three summers ago and it was a beautiful trip. But I haven’t got to visit the Red Rock Canyon Open Space yet. Hopefully next year.
I loved reading about your experience in Colorado Springs. Your descriptions really made it come alive for me. Happy travels!
That makes me so happy. I hope you make it there someday!
Such a great part of the state! I can’t wait to return to Garden of the Gods with my kids. It’s one giant playground.
We loved visiting Colorado Springs a few years ago! The views in Red Rocks Canyon are epic!
We definitely have Colorado on our travel wish list. And Colorado Springs at any time of year sounds lovely. We are actually driving across the country this fall so maybe we will make a stop here on this trip. We would certainly drive the scenic Pikes Peak Highway. But won’t be doing that by bike!
What a great post! Looks like a beautiful place to explore in all four seasons honestly and Red Rock Canyon looks amazing. I also love any drone friendly locations haha. Thanks for sharing!
I love all the tips, I really need to go back to Colorado Springs for all these amazing experiences!
My friend just moved to Colorado Springs so I’m so excited to visit her soon and use this guide! Thanks for all the information.
I always wanted to visit Colorado Springs, known for its beauty. Paint Mines looks so amazing. Hope can visit someday and enjoy the hikes.
I can’t wait to visit Colorado. I would be staying with family but the resort looks great. I would probably go zip lining again . I would definitely visit Red Rock Canyon.
Amazing detail! Thank you for sharing!
This looks like such a beautiful area to visit at any time of the year. I really would love to explore this part of the states more.
Everything about Colorado never ceases to amaze me. It’s such a beautiful place and your blog post was very informative! Hope to get to Colorado Springs soon!
I agree, I’ve visited Colorado 5+ times now and mostly stayed a few hours from Denver. There is still so much left to see and do, which is very exciting!
Wow, I had no idea how much Colorado Springs has to offer! I’d really love to check out the Garden of the Gods!
That was my favorite spot we visited. It was smaller than I originally thought but still just as amazing.
Great article! I am fortunate to live in Colorado Springs. Just for your information, the cog train up Pikes Peak is expected to re-open in May. I heard the Summit House will open this Summer, but you should double check the status before going up so you know what to expect. For local skiing many people like Monarch. Also, the new Olympic & Paralympic Museum is open. I hear it is very well done. Come and enjoy all Colorado Springs has to offer!
Wow!! Your city is just BEAUTIFUL, so far my favorite city in CO. Great info Terri, thank you for sharing it! We plan on coming back again as we were unable to make it all the way up to Pikes Peak and missed the museums due to time constraints. We also went to the Dinosaur Fossil park and that too was closed 🙁
Amazing! I know nothing about traveling all over the country, what a wonderful looking place to explore.
We are considering a trip to see family in Colorado Springs and this list gives us a great outline for activities to consider. I had no idea of the canyon and can’t wait to explore that! Can you advise on nearby skiing in March during Covid? Thx!
Love this post! My husband works in Colorado Spring a few times a year, so we will have to use this guide to explore the next time he travels for work! Thank you for sharing
This has me dreaming of going back to Colorado! Looks like the perfect weekend trip to me. Would love to see Garden of the Gods and the Paint Mines in person one day!
Denver and Colorado Springs are still waiting for me. In fact, most of the US national parks are still waiting. So much to see, so little time..! Thank you for the inspirational post. Hopefully I get to travel there next year.
I hope you do as well! My goal is to visit them all some day. Getting close – but there’s just so many wonderful things to do in each of them
This is so detailed and informative! Right on top of my bucketlist 😍
It is good to go for a weekend getaway to Colorado Springs which is just an hour drive from south of Denver. The air really looks clean and this has wonderful landscape. Garden of the Gods Park really looks photogenic.
We delivered cars across the States years ago, and considered relocating to this part of the country. The landscape was like nothing we’d ever seen before. It was so dramatic and different, and the air seemed so clean after living in NY for a year. But we got offered another car deliver from Denver to Phoenix, and ended up living there instead.
What a beautiful place! I particularly love the look of the Paint Mines & who wouldn’t want to visit a place called Garden of the Gods? 😉 It looks like an amazing place to hike & the perfect one to celebrate your anniversary.
Looks amazing – and I love hiking in the wilderness. I’ve never been to this part of the US. How is it in Summer?
This looks like the most awesome place to visit! Sadly, I’ll not be flying to the US in the near future, but I have trips like this firmly on my bucket list!
We are within a day’s drive from Colorado Springs and have yet to go there! Perhaps we will make a long weekend out of it one of these days and visit the places mentioned in your post.
The Paint Mines are beautiful! They make for lovely photos. I hadn’t heard of them. I love al the rock formations in this area of Colorado.
As I have said before, hiking is not really my thing, but this looks like a beautiful place for a walk. So I will go for a walk instead of kiking 😛
It’s so important we remember to visit the places outside the big cities. Colorado Springs looks beautiful for lovers of the great outdoors.
Colorado Springs seems to be a beautiful place ! The craggy peaks and the rainbow colored bands are simply out of the world. I would love to go here someday for some hikes. 🙂
Oh wow! I had heard of Colorado Springs before but I had no idea how beautiful it was and there are so many ways to see it. I hope to visit the US next year I will need to see if I can find a couple of days to visit Colorado Springs.
Visited Colorado Springs years ago, when my brother was living in Denver. Loved it. We hiked a few of the trails in the Garden of the Gods – happy memories!
Very timely information for me as I may be doing a coast-to-coast road trip in the late Spring which will take me through this neck of the wood. So much to see and do! The NY Times 52 Places to Go in 2020 list put Colorado Springs (#13) on my radar and your post has further enticed me.