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How Much Time is Needed?

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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How Much Time is Needed?

Hello,

We are looking for some help in planning some time in Colorado Springs. We are coming down from Estes Park and are trying to figure out how much time to spend in the area. Here's what we are interesting in seeing:

Garden of the Gods

Pike's Peak via the Cog

Cheyenne Mt. Zoo

Helen Hunt Falls

Cave of the Winds

Glen Eyrie and Miramount Castles

World Figure Skating Museum

Olympic Complex

Air Force Academy

Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum (?)

Western Museum of Mining & Industry (?)

We are also interested in the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Tour and Royal Gorge. Can these be combined into a daytrip, or should we just focus on Royal Gorge? We are very interested in the mine, however. From what I see on the gorge, it looks like the time spent can really vary, particularly if people are mainly interested in the bridge.

Originally, I was thinking of arriving from Estes on a Friday and flying out of Denver on a Tuesday, with an early evening (5 p.m) flight. However, I'm feeling I haven't given us enough time in Co. Springs.

I'd appreciate any insight to help me sort this out. I visited the area when I was 16, but that was a very long time ago.. Also, if anyone feels any of these attractions are not worthwhile, I'd be grateful for any opinions the experts or frequent travelers have.

Thank you in advance for your help.

colorado springs,co
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for Colorado Springs
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1. Re: How Much Time is Needed?

You've hit on the "highlights" of COS. My suggestion is to combine things that are close together to get the most out of your stay. GOG/ Glen Eryie can be combined with Pikes Peak and Cave of the Winds- although it would be a long day.

The Zoo would work out with Helen Hunt and Skating Museum (which is on the Broadmoor Properties- a venue w/in itself)

Air Force and Mining Museum are fairly close together. Maybe add Glen Eryie to this day.

Mollie Kathleen would be beyond Pikes Peak about 40 min.

Royal Gorge is about an hour south of CS. on 115, an easy trip, through Canon City.

WI
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for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
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2. Re: How Much Time is Needed?

Pike's Peak/cog railway -3 hr. trip

Air Force Academy-1-2 hrs.

Cave of the Winds-1.5 hrs. approx.

Helen Hunt Falls-1 hr. (even less if you don't really walk around but just view the Falls)...then you could do 15 min.

Garden of the Gods--1 hr. + depending on how much time you want to spend, you can drive through in less time or stop and explore for much longer, or come view at diff. times of the day, driving through.

Cheyenne Mtn. Zoo and Will Rogers Shrine to the Sun--3hrs.

Pioneers Museum 1-2 hrs. exploring (FREE) neat place, longer if you REALLY spend a lot of time at each thing.

All are approx. times based on our travels...not too fast, not too slow and some are exact times (like the cog). This can vary per travel I just tried to give you reasonable estimates.

I'm assuming the other museums a couple hrs. apiece roughly.

Cave of the Winds we had a rushed tour which I wasn't pleased with it was an ok tour then. I liked the drive up and view up there the best. If you don't have time skip it or just drive up for a peek or even go in the gift shop.

We love CO Springs. Our shortest stay was getting in mid afternoon and staying till the next afternoon--we did lots in a short amt. of time and this works--Cave of the Winds, Garden of the Gods, Cog Railway, etc. We enjoyed our two day stay last time as well. Still we have hardly done everything--far from it. I could easily spend several days in the Springs and surrounding areas each time we visit.

Other considerations can be: Woodland Park, very pretty mtn. view (beyond Manitou Springs out of town--not too far maybe 15 min.), then there's the Florissant Fossil Beds to explore and the Wolf Center in Divide.

Royal Gorge Bridge and Park we spent just under four hours there and loved every minute of it. Avoid windy days. See the whole park, the drive through would not be worth the money, you miss so many aspects of it. We enjoyed the incline railway and views of the bridge and rafters below. That was a unique trip down. Then the tram across with a diff. view of the bridge, take a round trip or just one way and keep walking around the park. We enjoyed the helicopters diving into the canyon, the views on the bridge, the white buffalo, etc. For some with kids there are other rides but this wasn't the focus of our trip. Rafting and the train ride are other opportunities there in Canon City, even Skyline Dr. It makes a good day trip.

The Cog Railway was our highlight of all our CO Springs experiences and we never tire of the Garden of the Gods.

The zoo was a pleasant surprise, small and unique location, great giraffe interactive exhibit and the Will Rogers Shrine to the Sun, a drive up through the zoo to the top was a highlight!

The Air Force Academy is FREE and interesting to walk around the complex. There is a museum of exhibits in the main part and food for a bite to eat there as well.

The skating museum I enjoyed (years ago) as I love figure skating.

Edited: 18 January 2013, 17:48
Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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3. Re: How Much Time is Needed?

Thank you both for your helpful information. Royal Gorge sounds like a lot of fun. I don't know if I'd do the tram, but the incline sounds neat. I'd have to see it before I make a decision.

I really appreciate the grouping of the activities. I am thinking about adding an extra day. I have an uncle who lives in Black Hawk, and I'd like to get to visit him as well, so I think even if the visit wouldn't work out, we could use another day in COS.

Hatch, do you think I would be foolish to try to combine the mine with our Royal Gorge daytrip? I am thinking it might be a rather long day.

I will also look at the additional activities you mentioned. The fossil beds sound interesting.

Additional comments/opinions welcome! :) Thank you again.

WI
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for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
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4. Re: How Much Time is Needed?

8.5 hrs. in both drive time and approx time (three hrs. min. at the bridge and park and two approx. at the mine) at both places.

Cripple Creek goes around and down (not direct) from Colorado Springs and is one hour and 15 min. It's an hr. from CO Springs to Canon City and 1 hr. 15 min. from Cripple Creek to Canon City.

It could get to be a long day. When are you coming. Summer hours for the bridge is 10AM we liked going at opening to get on the railway right off and the tram when it opened (maybe 11AM). So if you went there first with a minimum of 3 hrs. you'd leave at 1PM and get to the mine at 2:15 (no stops).

You'd leave CO Springs just before 9 to get there at the opening (bridge and park). With mine tours starting at 8:45 you could leave CO Springs and get there for the first tour and maybe leave by 11, and get to Canon City around 12:15 or so (grab a bite to eat). You could enjoy the bridge from 1PM say till at least 4 (it's open till 5:30) so that may be the better plan if you opt for both and you can get back to CO Springs for dinner. Either way you'd arrive back in CO Springs the same time (if you're doing both).

Or...choose the one that most interests you and save the other for another time. While it's definitely doable to enjoy both it depends on if you like that schedule or if it sounds rushed/too much.

Edited: 21 January 2013, 19:17
Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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5. Re: How Much Time is Needed?

Hatch, thank you. I did some more research, and after consulting Googlemaps, I felt doing both in one day was too much. I just booked our flight tonight and opted to add an extra day to the trip. The entire trip will be 13 days, but we are including the Black Hills, Rocky Mt. National Park, and Colorado Springs. The trip will be late July/early August.

I had mistakeningly thought that the mine was on the way to Royal Gorge. We will allot a day for the gorge, and I think the mine will be a daytrip also, along with the Wolf Center. Thanks for suggestion. The website looks really neat.

Thanks again for all your help!

WI
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for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
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6. Re: How Much Time is Needed?

That sounds like a good plan and better way to enjoy things!

My post got eaten the first time (disappeared while typing) so it ate up the bit about the incline railway. It's a stand up cage, fully enclosed yet open/holey. Two people fit side by side. There are attached cars above and below you. It goes slow and provides a unique view. I think it takes at least five minutes to get down there and then you ride it back up too of course. There should be pictures online of it and maybe even a youtube video out there to give you an idea of it. The tram was a smooth ride. If it's a windy day when you go it'll be hard to enjoy the bridge or the tram for that matter. So hope for no wind. In regular conditions its great! Happy travels, looks like a fun trip you have planned!

Edited: 22 January 2013, 14:24
Greers Ferry...
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7. Re: How Much Time is Needed?

Great question & info!

Thank you both...we are also planning to visit for 5 days in early Sept. after 5 days in Estes Park. So much to see and do it's almost overwhelming!! Having a general idea of how long to visit each place is so helpful...Thanks Again!

WI
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for Wisconsin, Colorado Springs
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8. Re: How Much Time is Needed?

you're welcome...others posts always help me too as in...I think we too may add the Mollie Kathleen Mine next time as well, it looks neat! We hadn't really given much thought to it before.

9. Re: How Much Time is Needed?

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