Fall feature

A woman stops to watch a dog barking on Colorado Avenue just west of downtowns on Friday, Oct. 22, 2010. The changing leaves and colorful Victorian homes on the west side of Colorado Springs make for an interesting array of colors. Gazette, Bryan Oller

Colorado Springs ranked no. 1 in a recent survey that studied 100 of the best fall vacation destinations and COVID-19 safety measures nationwide, according to Lawn Love, a lawn care and landscaping company.

The study analyzed cities that offer colorful fall foliage, as well as the availability of outdoor spaces for tourists to visit while maintaining safe social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"We conducted the study to be a resource for our lawn care providers and customers," said James Beange, spokesman for San Diego-based Lawn Love, which serves thousands of customers and has hundreds of providers around the country. The study is meant to be a resource to keep them "updated and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic," Beange said.

According to the study, Colorado Springs has "a wide range of beautiful outdoor attractions making social distancing easier to maintain."

"We’ve heard great feedback from residents and visitors that they’ve been able to continue safely exploring Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region during this time. Our abundance of outdoor activities and attractions has been especially attractive throughout the pandemic," said Alexea Veneracion, communications manager for Visit Colorado Springs, the city's tourism agency.

The study cited local attractions such as Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Here's a guide to hikes and drives in Colorado that show off the state's fall colors. 

In terms of travel during the pandemic, Colorado Springs was ranked as the top city because of its central location that allows tourists to conveniently drive from other states instead of "cramped air travel that can potentially pose a higher risk of exposure to COVID-19," the study noted.

"We had a better-than-expected summer tourism season, though numbers were still low compared to typical years. We anticipate the same for fall and winter and hope our focus on the great outdoors and safety will continue to help both residents and visitors find ways to still seek out adventure and enjoyment in this difficult year," Veneracion said.

According to Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Monday, the state reported 69,490 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and 2,044 deaths among all cases. Read more coronavirus updates here.

Other high-ranking fall vacation destinations in the study include cities in Washington, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.

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