“West side, best side.” That’s the mantra of those dwelling on this end of Colorado Springs.
Manitou Springs, just west of our city, is the gateway to Pikes Peak, nestled at the base of Barr Trail to the summit. Residents also delight in Manitou's Intemann Trail, connecting neighborhoods to some of the region’s best nature preserves, including Red Rock Canyon Open Space. But most popular is the Manitou Incline, a grueling stretch of railroad ties that never seems to frighten visiting flatlanders.
More rustic living is had farther west along Ute Pass, in the forested hamlets of Cascade, Chipita Park and Green Mountain Falls, the latter of which joins Manitou in becoming tourist central every summer. Manitou has plenty of funky shops and eateries to explore, not to mention the penny arcade, fun for all ages.
It's also the only place in the Pikes Peak region with recreational marijuana dispensaries. And if the reputation isn’t clear already, the town makes itself known around Halloween time, when people dress in ghoulish attire and race coffins.
The main road running east becomes Colorado Avenue, entering another popular tourist hub: the historic district of Old Colorado City. The area maintains a certain identity with Victorian homes and bars beloved by locals. The Old West is celebrated during Territory Days, a massive festival held over Memorial Day weekend.
Residents live in luxury in Cedar Heights, a stone’s throw from Garden of the Gods. That crown jewel of the parks system is yet another spoil of west siders, who love to hike and ride their bikes in the sandstone paradise.
It’s easy to feel removed from the big city on the west side, yet it’s conveniently linked to downtown Colorado Springs by Colorado Avenue and U.S. 24.