I lived in Colorado Springs for a few years, and in my opinion one of the best features of that city is the Garden of the Gods, a geologic wonderland on the west side of town near the mountains. In the past two decades the city has added seemingly endless miles of suburban blight, but communities on the west side have character and feature easy access to many natural attractions. If your itinerary is tight, you can quickly exit from I25, the main highway that runs along Colorado’s Front Range and connects Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Denver, and Fort Collins. Drive though the Garden via a quick loop, and be on your way in no time. Or take your time and hike, bike, and even rock climb. Don’t forget your camera! Stop at the visitors center for cheesy souvenirs and a great view of the Kissing Camels (a rock formation that does indeed resemble smooching camels). At the end of your day, it’s a short hop to Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs, with restaurants and shops galore.
Don’t miss seeing the world-famous Balancing Rock.