We love kids (from a distance) which is why I was so excited to find so many fun things to do for adults in Colorado Springs! It just so happens that I do love being outside, with nature. There are literally dozens of trails close to downtown Colorado Springs. Venturing a few miles outside of Colorado Springs offers even more trails and cool experiences. I loved it so much, I’m going back to get married there in 2024!
I have put together a list of hikes, things to do, and places to eat for your next adult trip to Colorado Springs. The month of August in Colorado Springs is just lovely. It gets warm during the day but the early mornings and evenings are crisp and lovely.
The top of my list of fun things to do in Colorado Springs for adults is hike!
This number of hikes is extensive but this list should give you loads of options for mountains to climb for adult fun while you’re visiting Colorado Springs.
Hikes in Colorado Springs
Garden of the Gods – there are 6 trails that intersect throughout Garden of the Gods. The range is from ½ mile to 3 miles. It is in the middle of a neighborhood and well-traveled. I highly recommend hitting the trail for sunrise. It is a magical place at dawn and you will run into wildlife, but not a ton of people. When you are on the trail at that time of the morning, you will see the trail runners but avoid the tourist crowds.
If you have a chance visit the Visitors Center to learn about the rock formations, native Americans, and early settlers to the area. Take time to identify and visit the rock formations throughout the Garden of the Gods. They are fun to identify. Balanced Rock is one you can visit as you drive into the park. Siamese Twins is a great place to watch the sunrise. Also look for Three Graces, Sleeping Giant, North Gateway Rock, Cathedral Spire and Steamboat Rock. The trails are easy with little elevation changes so it’s good for the inexperienced hiker as well as an easy hike for the experienced hikers.
Horsethief Falls and Pancake Mountain are located near Cripple Creek. My pup, Tink and I drove the hour from Colorado Springs and we were met with a quiet trail, lovely waterfalls, and stunning vistas. throughout the hike. The waterfall hike is 2.6 miles out and back but if you add Pancake Mountain it’s about 6 miles. Horsethief falls is an easy hike. Pancake mountain is a little further (like 6 miles) so take a snack and prepare for a day on the trail. The views are one of a kind and if you go early you can have the trail to yourself.
Templeton Trail is a 3.9 mile loop. There is not much elevation change so it’s fairly moderate. The views along this trail are worth stopping to take in the scenery!
St Mary’s Falls is about 6 miles so get on the trail early (there is a theme with me and early hiking!). This trail is located in the North Cheyene mountain range which is VERY popular among locals and tourists alike so parking near the trailhead can be tough. It is a tough trail, lots of switchbacks and scree to hike over. It has a 1400 elevation gain so take it easy on yourself with lots of rest as you travel uphill!
Helen Hunt Falls is not really even a hike. You can see the lovely waterfall from the road. My mom was able to make it to the top of the falls so it’s great for a non-hiker!
7 Bridges Trail is 3.5 miles. It is a super easy trail with less than 1,000 ft elevation gain. The bridges are really cool. We loved this hike and all the water crossings. Great way to spend the morning.
Mt Muscoco Trail is 4.0 miles uphill!! 1,400 ft elevation climb. It is well-maintained, the people are friendly and the views do not disappoint. Tink and I loved this trail and had a great time stopping to view the valley and the city of Colorado Springs from multiple viewpoints.
Rainbow Gulch is about an hour outside of Colorado Springs. There is a LONG dirt road to get there but do not miss a chance to check it out. The trail itself is well-maintained. It is about 3.5 miles out and back. When you get out to the lake, take some time to stick your feet in the lake and enjoyed the beauty of your surroundings. We took a snack and just sat by the lake and soaked in the quiet nature. The great thing about this trail is that it is not super popular so you will likely have much of the trail to yourself to enjoy the peace and quiet.
Other (fun)adult things to do near Colorado Springs
Air force Academy is a fun place to visit. The campus is huge and surrounded by mountains. Be sure to check out the visitor center to learn about the academy and how the cadets live on campus. We were happy to see a diverse group of young men and women coming and going to classes. We were disappointed that the chapel is under construction until 2026 so we weren’t able to see it.
Bishop’s Castle is a super quirky roadside attraction. It was built brick by brick by one man and he doesn’t want anyone telling him what he can or cannot do. You can see evidence of that all around the building. This brick and iron structure must be experienced. The drive to Bishop’s Castle is wonderful. I took about an hour wandering around the structure enjoying the quirkiness of the place. The iron staircases offer no real handrail so be careful! There is no charge to visit the castle. This was probably the most interesting roadside attraction I came across in this great nation of ours.
Pioneer Museum located in the heart of Colorado Springs is full of local history including information on how the town became populated with people suffering from tuberculous. The dry weather and wide open spaces allowed those suffering to recover and thrive in the early 1900s. You can also learn about the African Americans who made it to Colorado Springs after emancipation. It is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon in Colorado Springs especially if you’re a history buff!
Olympic Training Center is also located in the heart of Colorado Springs. When you enter this place it’s just incredible to know that the facility trains the best of the best athletes in our country. It’s likely you will run into some of these athletes on your tour!
Adventure near Colorado Springs
Phantom Canyon Creek is a 30-mile-long dirt road that will take you from Colorado Springs to Canon City. 30 miles is a LONG way down a dirt road. It’s a rough dirt road too so just plan on taking a few hours to drive through the canyon. The views are great without any traffic or other friends around. You will really appreciate being back on paved roads at the end of your drive. We only ran into a few cars the entire trip and were afforded wonderful views.
Royal Gorge White Water Rafting in the Arkansas River is so much fun! They have multiple options to choose from, and we chose the harder rapids. I almost took a tumble out of the boat, which scared the life out of me, but it was such an incredibly fun day! Our guide was fun and the view of the mountains from the river was mesmerizing (can you tell I love mountains?!) We arrived at the outfitter at 2:45 pm for a 3:30 pm trip. They trained us on how to ride the rapids and fall in (basically how not to die) and then got us on the boat. Our little group didn’t lose anyone to the River but a couple of folks from our bus did join the Arkansas River Swim Club 🙂
Royal Gorge Bridge is 929 feet above the Arkansas river and was built in 1929. It is super pricey to walk across the bridge so instead, we opted to head to Elkhorn Loop. It is a small park with unobstructed views of the bridge without the entrance fee. We hiked about 100 feet to a ledge with a view! This would be a cool place for a picnic lunch or dinner with a view of the bridge.
Canon City is a small town near Colorado Springs with a sweet downtown and a cool winery. Fun fact: there are 14 prisons near Canon City, some housing the most infamous criminals of our time. This little city is a fun place to stop off after White Water Rafting or if you decide to venture through Phantom Canyon.
Broadmoor Hotel is a luxury with a view! The hotel was built in 1918 and is situated right in the middle of the Cheyenne Canyon. We had brunch on Sunday morning which was complete with endless mimosas. This is a must-visit when you are in Colorado Springs. My fiance and I loved it so much we will be married at the Broadmoor in June of 2024!
Fun places to eat in Colorado Springs for adults
Shuga’s is a super kitschy place near downtown Colorado Springs. We sat outside on old patio tables with twinkly lights above our heads. The food was delightful with a couple of great gluten-free options. This place is very popular among locals but we didn’t have a problem being seated. If you are looking for something unique, then check this place out for a lovely dinner.
Streetcar 520 is near downtown as well. The food is unique and the bartender is really cool! They have lots of gluten-free options and my favorite meal by far was their seared barramundi fish. I went back for seconds!
Tapteria in Old Colorado City is a small place that serves only Tapas and ALL their food is gluten-free!! I was in heaven. I even got dessert which almost made me weep, it was so good. After you enjoy incredible tapas, check out Old Colorado City. This used to be the center of town and there are lots of cute shops to check out as well as a quaint little park in the center of town that shares the history of the location.
The Rabbit Hole is a quirky place near downtown and a fun thing to do in Colorado Springs for adults. You enter through a tunnel right on the street. The food was not great but the bar is fantastic and the whole vibe is 1920s speakeasy so it’s a fun place to check out when you’re in town.
Dining Room at Garden of the Gods is just wow! This is a gourmet dining experience with a view of the Garden of the Gods. The entire dining room faces the mountains and they open the porch at sunset so you can watch the sunset over the mountains while you dine. They serve gluten-free banana bread which made my tummy very happy!
The Airplane Restaurant is literally in an airplane! We sat in the belly of the plane for lunch. All the menu items have fun airplane names and the waitstaff dress like flight attendants. We went for lunch and the food was tasty but the experience was so cool! It was one of the most unique lunches we have ever had!
Brunch at Broadmoor hotel offers a brunch buffet with everything from handmade eggs benedict to sushi! It was a meal to remember and since you’re at the Broadmoor, take a stroll through the hotel and grounds.
You will not run out of fun things to do in Colorado Springs for adults! I loved the adventure of Colorado Springs and the beauty of the mountains everywhere you turn. If you love hiking and adventure check out my recent post about the Black Hills of South Dakota.