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Photos: Gallery | Colorado Springs Gazette, News

List: Where to take out-of-town visitors

Looking for someplace to visit in the Colorado Springs area? Here's a good starting point for you. If you're local and haven't visited these, you really need to do so ASAP.

For more Gazette lists, check out our lists page

Honorable Mention
Honorable mention
Clockwise from top left: United States Olympic Training Center, downtown Manitou Springs, Cripple Creek, Glen Eyrie, Manitou Cliff Dwellings, North Pole.

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10. United States Air Force Academy
10. United States Air Force Academy
The academy’s signature structure, the Cadet Chapel, is just part of there is to see. Start your tour at the visitor center. See static displays including a B-52 bomber, F-4, F-105, F-15, F-16 and more. If you’re there at the right time, you might see the cadet lunch formation and make sure to see the honor court.
Also there: Visitor center, Division I athletics events.
Location: Exit 156 off of I-25.

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9. Cave of the Winds
9. Cave of the Winds
This subterranean geologic wonderland has been open to visitors since 1881. Take your choice of tours to view spectacular formations with names like “Silent Splendor,” “Colorado Rose” and “Spider Web Valley.” Also there: Terror-Dactyl ride, Bat-a-Pult ride, Wind Walker obstacle course, visitor center
Location: Just off Highway 24 at Cave of the Winds Road. Photo by Junfu Han. The Gazette.

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8. Seven Falls
8. Seven Falls
One of the Pikes Peak Region’s most popular attractions from the time it opened in the early 1880s until it was badly damaged by flooding in September, 2013. The famous winding staircase up the falls has been restored. The 224-step climb to the top gives an overview of what has been called “the grandest mile of scenery.”
Also there: Hiking trails, Broadmoor Soaring Adventures (zip lines, rope bridges and a rappel), restaurant.
Location: Park at The Broadmoor East lot (6 Lake Ave.) and take the free shuttle. (Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette)

Jerilee Bennett

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7. Pikes Peak Cog Railway
7. Pikes Peak Cog Railway
The highest train in the United States climbs the slopes of Pikes Peak. Enjoy spectacular scenery on your way to the top. Remember to dress in layers because it may be warm at the station and bitter cold once you reach the 14, 115-foot summit.
Also there: Downtown Manitou Springs, Pikes Peak Highway
Location: 515 Ruxton Avenue, Manitou Springs. Mike Christy, The Gazette

Mike Christy, The Gazette

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6. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
6. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
The only zoo in America that’s built on a mountainside, the zoo can be both an educational and aerobic experience. Take the shuttle uphill when possible and view the zoo’s 750 animals as you descent. The giraffe habitat near the zoo entrance is a must-see.
Also there: Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, The Broadmoor Hotel
Location: 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Rd, Colorado Springs (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

CHRISTIAN MURDOCK, THE GAZETTE

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5. Manitou Incline
5. Manitou Incline
This former incline railway track has become a Mecca for hikers. Conquering the incline has long been a rite of passage for Pikes Peak region residents on their path to a fit lifestyle. Now improved to increase safety, the incline is fast becoming a worldwide phenomenon. Note, though, that this is NOT a hike for beginners. It ascends 2,000 feet in just over a mile.
Also there: Dowtown Manitou Springs
Location: Manitou Springs (best to park downtown and take the free shuttle), trailhead is just off Ruxton Avenue. Carol Lawrence/The Gazette.

CAROL LAWRENCE

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4. Bishop Castle
4. Bishop Castle
Had this structure been built by many hands with the help of modern machinery, it would be impressive. But Bishop Castle was built, stone-by-stone, by eccentric ironsmith Jim Bishop. Some of the stairways and parapets may be a bit too much for the height-challenged, but much of the castle is accessible to the novice and stands as a testament to one man's vision and determination.
Also there: Hiking, camping and fishing in the San Isabel National Forest.
Location: On Colorado 165 between Rye and Wetmore. Photo by Dalton Walker.

Dalton Walker, The Gazette

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3. Pikes Peak Highway
3. Pikes Peak Highway
One this road you'll ascend above the timberline and, on many days, above the clouds themselves. From atop the peak, you'll witness the wide, magnificent vista that inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write 'America the Beautiful.' A new visitor center is planned, but in the meantime the existing rustic structure has a charm of its own – and some pretty awesome donuts!
Also there: Visitor center, Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Location: Just off Highway 24 between Colorado Springs and Woodland Park. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette

Michael Ciaglo

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2. Royal Gorge Bridge and Park.
2. Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
The scenery will take your breath away. If you have an issue with heights, the walk across will take your legs away. Most of the original buildings were destroyed by fire in June, 2013, many of which have been rebuilt in a more modern – and fireproof – way. Fortunately, the bridge survived the fire with minimal damage and remains a must-see for visitors to southern Colorado.
Also there: Visitor center, waterclock, theater, skycoaster, zip line, gondola rides, Royal Gorge Railroad.
Location: Just off of Highway 50 west of Canon City. Follow County Road 3A.

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1. Garden of the Gods Park
1. Garden of the Gods Park
It's ranked the No. 1 park in the United States and No. 2 in the world by the travel website TripAdvisor. What more could you say? Visit the park and you will have more to say. Lots more. Another website, VirtualTourist, nominated Garden of the Gods to be named the “8th wonder of the world.” It's a breathtaking geologic wonder and a place of spiritual renewal.
Also there: Visitor center, hiking paths, climbing
Location: 1805 N. 30th Street, Colorado Springs. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Christian murdock

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