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Trip List by smonti

Colorado Springs - 3 Full Days For Ages 12 to 72 (including disability info)

20 Oct 2009  Love to explore.
4.5 of 5 stars based on 1 vote

Extended family traveling with older parents, 3 grown siblings and 1 young nephew (72, 67, 48, 45, 38, 35, 12). This itinerary accomodated some limited mobility, a tight budget and a sense of adventure.

  • 1. Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
    Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, Canon City, Colorado

    The Royal Gorge is an easy 1.5 hour drive from Colorado Springs. You'll spend 1.5 - 2 hours there. The drive isn't very scenic coming from the east - but you do see prairie dogs, prisons, and mountains in the distance. Admission is ~$16 each and includes bridge, tram, and incline railroad. Watch the visitor's center movie and look at the museum pieces. It's hard enough to walk across the bridge- much less imagine the people who built it. At 1100' deep, it's not for anyone with a fear of heights.

    Disability info: Quite a bit of walking (.5 roundtrip on bridge and lots of uphill walking on other side of bridge). To limit walking, you could drive across bridge, see movie, drive back, take Tram across /back and Incline Railroad down / up (both are on same side of bridge and fairly close together).

  • 2. Pikes Peak Cog Railway - Half day trip (at end of trip so you are acclimated to altitude)
    Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Manitou Springs, El Paso County

    The Cog Railway is a beautiful and relaxing way to see Pikes Peak. Driving is treacherous and not recommended in a rental vehcle. Cog Railway tickets are ~ $30 and include the 1 hour narrarated ascent, .5 hour at top and 1 hour descent. The depot is in Manitou Springs - less than 30 minutes from anywhere in Colorado Springs. The rail cars have huge windows that can be open or closed depending and season and elevation. Beautiful scenery and lots of historical information with narrative. Great for young or old.

    Disability info: The summit of Pikes Peak is 14,000+ feet. See my precautions about high altitude and do this only after you've been staying / sleeping at 6000' (Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, etc.). Railroad is great way to see a lot of scenery with very little walking. Depot is down a set of stairs, but otherwise not much walking.

  • 3. Garden of the Gods - Half day (maybe 2 or 3 times)
    Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, El Paso County

    Garden of the Gods is a beautiful drive through park right in the middle of Colorado Springs. Cost is $0, but I recommend a stop at the visitors center to see the $3 HD / interactive movie. Check out the exhibits. Drive through the entire park once to get your bearings. Drive through again and stop to get out and enjoy. Marvel at the rock climbers. Walk / hike as much or as little as you want.

    This is a great "filler" attraction. Since it is easy to reach and free, you can go there for an hour or two at any part of the day. Stop at a new place on the route and walk or sit on a bench - you'll be happy you did.

    Disability info: A single lane road winds through the park and you can enjoy it from your car. If you want to get out, there are plenty of spots to stop and do short, flat walks. Plenty of benches for resting.

  • 4. Florissant Fossil Beds - Half day
    http://www.nps.gov/FLFO/index.htm

    40 minutes southwest of Colorado Springs is Florissant Fossil Beds National Park. Cost is $3 per person unless you have a National Parks Pass. Florissant boasts petrified giant redwoods and a world class collection of fossils (many unusual delicate items like moths and flowers). Attend the informational movie and / or a ranger led program / hike. Do the 1 mile Ponderosa loop and marvel at the beautiful scenery and petrified stumps (some are 10' in diameter).

    Disability info: Movie and indoor / outdoor exhibits don't require much walking. Although easy hikes are flat, still wouldn't recommend any of the hikes without wheelchair or cane.

  • 5. Cripple Creek and Mueller State Park - Half Day
    Cripple Creek, Colorado

    Cripple creek is ~ 1 hour south west of Colorado Springs along a beautiful mountain road (although not dangerous or scary). Gambling and mining are the draws.

    Mueller State Park is between Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek. For the daily Colorado park pass of $6 per car, it has beautiful roads, hiking, ranger hikes, campsites, etc.. Go in the early evening to increase your chances of seeing wildlife (elk, deer, etc.).

    Disability info: Other than getting in / out of the car at the casinos or mines, all can be seen from car.

  • 6. Manitou Springs
    Manitou Springs, El Paso County

    Stay here if you can - as close to downtown as possible. Much more to see / do than staying in Colorado springs. Manitou is a beautiful old mining town with plenty of mom and pop restaurants, shopping and people watching. Drive around and see the old homes and narrow streets

    Disability info: You can walk safely all around Manitou, but most people with mobility limitations are going to drive between hotel and restaurants.

  • 7. Altitude Sickness - How To Avoid
    http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/safety/altitude.html

    Colorado Springs / Manitou Springs are @ ~ 6000' above sea level.

    Royal Gorge, Florrisant Fossil Beds, and Cripple Creek are @ 7000', 8000', & 9000' respectively.

    Pikes Peak summit is @ 14000'.

    If you are coming from low altitude, all can make make you light headed, short of breath and cause insomnia initially. Higher altitudes (like Pikes Peak) can give you a splitting headache and make you dizzy / naseous unless you take some precations.

    1) Drink lots of water (keep a water bottle with you most of the time)
    2) No big meals and easy on alcohol.
    3) Save your high altitude activities for the end of the trip (after you've acclimated to the altitude)
    4) Take a precautionary Excedrine Migrane (or some other strong aspirin) before going to the top of Pikes Peak.
    5) Take it easy for first few days.