In this issue:
- Garden of the Gods
- See the Wild West as it was
- United States Air Force Academy
- Pikes Peak Cog Railway
- Two Amazing Natural Attractions
- Hot Air Balloon Rides
- Rocky Mountain High
- Mail List Contest
- Special Deals
Welcome to the August 2009 issue of USA Tourist News Magazine. This month we're visiting Colorado Springs, located in the western state of Colorado and just east of the Rocky Mountains. You might say there are four reasons to take a trip to Colorado Springs: winter, spring, summer and autumn. There really isn't a bad time of year to visit. Even when it gets a little warm in the summer, the nearby mountains are a lovely escape with their lower temperatures. And winter months mean snow, which means it's time to enjoy the fun outdoor winter sports.
Colorado Springs and the Colorado Rockies are bursting with scenery, activities and history. Being that I lived in Colorado for a many years, here are some of my favorite Colorado Springs attractions in and around the city.
A view of Pikes Peak through Garden of the Gods.
Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods, it sounds mystical, doesn't it? There is a short story about how this area earned its heavenly name. In 1859 two surveyors stumbled across the section of sandstone formations. One of the men said, "This will make a capital place for a beer garden" when the country grew up. His lyrical friend responded, "Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods." And so it was.
When you visit Garden of the Gods you, too, will see how the park earned its name. 300' rock formations are found throughout the park, many with formations named after items they resemble such as Kissing Camels, Sleeping Giant, Steamboat and Cathedral Rock.
The Visitor Center is one of the most popular in the area. Guests may watch the 14 minute show, "How Did These Rocks Get There?" and have lunch at the onsite café which overlooks Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods. Garden of the Gods Park is a Registered National Natural Landmark.
Bargain Tip: The Garden of the Gods has free admission.
Across the street is The Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, a living history museum which portrays life in the Pikes Peak region in four time periods: 1775's American Indian; 1860's Galloway Homestead; 1880's Chambers Home and Ranch; 1907 Edwardian Country Estate. http://www.rockledgeranch.com/
United States Air Force Academy Chapel and Fountain.
See the Wild West as it was
Colorado has a rich Wild-West history and there is no better place to find it preserved than Ghost Town Museum. This authentic 100-year-old town is complete with a Blacksmith's shop, Saloon, Livery Stable, and Victorian Home. Each location is filled with thousands of Wild-West artifacts. Guests can even take their shot at striking it rich with gold panning. http://www.ghosttownmuseum.com/
United States Air Force Academy
The exclusive United States Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs. Doors are open to visitors who would like to learn more about the academy's history and present day life. The 31,600-square-foot Visitor Center contains exhibits, a snack bar and a gift shop. A one-third-mile paved nature trail leads to the Cadet Chapel, but be forewarned that walk back is uphill. http://www.usafa.af.mil/superintendent/pa/visitor-center.cfm?catname=Visiting%20USAFA
Colorado Springs is also home to the Peterson Air Force Base, Falcon Air Force Base, and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Base.
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Pikes Peak Cog Railway is the ultimate adventure, and my favorite attraction in the Colorado Springs area. Visitors climb aboard the Cog Railway then sit back and relax while watching the scenery change as they climb the 8.9 mile track through Colorado blue spruce, Englemann spruce, Ponderosa pine trees, Deer Park (yes, watch for deer!), bristlecone pine (some over 2000 year old), past the timberline (where trees can no longer grow) up to the Pike's Peak Summit which sits at 14,100 feet (4 297 m). The summit allows visitors to see as far as the eye can see and is especially brilliant on a clear day (I highly suggest going when the weather is clear). Cog Railway Café serves food and beverages to passengers, but expect a long line soon after arrival. It's best to enjoy the views then head over to the café when things have slowed down. The stay at the top is only 30-40 minutes, due to the risk of altitude sickness. The trip takes 3 hours and 10 minutes roundtrip. http://www.cograilway.com/
Exploring Cave of the Winds.
Two Amazing Natural Attractions
Cave of the Winds
Cave of the Winds is one of the most fascinating natural wonders you can explore. History dates back to the Jicarilla Apaches (1000 AD) who told stories of a cave where the Great Spirit of the Wind resided. More recently, in the late 1800s, two young brothers came across these Colorado caves while exploring and since then visitors travel from near and far to see these stunning underground worlds. The guided Discovery Tour takes 45 minutes. The temperature is 54 degrees, so bring a jacket if you tend to get chilly easily. http://www.caveofthewinds.com/
The Royal Gorge Bridge
Just the thought of this next natural attraction makes my stomach turn..
In Colorado, looking up at the gorgeous scenery is common, but there is one location that looking down is just as spectacular: The Royal Gorge.
Also called the Grand Canyon of the Arkansas, the Royal Gorge is a canyon on the Arkansas River near Cañon City, Colorado. The width is 50 feet (15 m) at its base and a quarter-mile at the top (.40 km), but the depth is as much as 1,250 feet (380 m).
The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park caters to tourists. The Royal Gorge Bridge (constructed in 1929) is the highest suspension bridge in the world and may be driven across or walked across. The bridge isn't the only world record. Visitors may hop on the world's longest single-span Aerial Tram, world's steepest Incline Railway and the world's highest Skycoaster. http://www.royalgorgebridge.com/
There is even an overnight lodge, the rustic Bighorn Mountaintop Lodge, a 3,000 square-foot stand-alone facility with spectacular views (3 bedroom/2 bath, kitchen), perfect for a small group and very affordable. (1-888-333-5597).
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Enjoy a spectacular sunrise flight with Magic Sunrise Balloons. Your 3-4 hour flight will take you from the Chatfield Reservoir in Denver to the foothills of the awesome Rocky Mountains. This once-in-a-lifetime adventure includes a traditional champagne toast upon landing and breakfast at Gunther Toody's on Wadsworth at Bowles. All passengers will also receive a First Flight Certificate. Click here for more information or to book your tour.
Rocky Mountain High
Are you ready for some serious curves? EagleRider has a stunning 17 Day/16 Night Guided Motorcycle Tour that will take you on a 2700-mile journey through four states and crossing of the Continental Divide. The trip starts in Denver and includes stops in Cheyenne, Deadwood, the Bighorn Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, Durango, and much more. Tour includes all accommodations, late model motorcycle, unlimited mileage, park entrance fees, and more. Click here for more hot deals from Eagle Rider: http://www.eaglerider.com/Hot-Deals.aspx
Mail List Contest
USATourist is currently running our very popular Mail List Contest. We love running these contests. It's a little way for us to say thank you for following the USATourist News Magazine!
This time the prize is a USATourist Travel Gear Package. The randomly selected winner will get a USATourist T-shirt, USATourist hat, 2 luggage tags, a travel alarm clock and a handy carry-on toiletry kit. For more details and entry form visit (link removed). This contest will end on August 31. So enter today! Good luck!
Thank you for reading this month's issue of USA Tourist News Magazine. Have you stopped by our active forums lately?
Bryan is still making his way across the country, so be sure to stop in and visit his blog: On the Road with Bryan.
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Half Day Rafting - Browns Canyon - The Arkansas River offers many sections of thrilling whitewater which attract river enthusiasts from all over the world and is the most popular rafting river in America. The most popular of all the Arkansas' sections is Browns Canyon. On this half days adventure, enjoy 10 miles of whitewater rafting in this beautiful boulder-strewn canyon.
Shop and Dine: Cherry Creek Shopping Center, Denver - After a morning or afternoon of shopping in Denver, you need time to rest and recharge, so why not relax over a meal at one of Cherry Creek's restaurants or food outlets? You'll receive a $20 dining certificate good at any restaurant at Cherry Creek Shopping Center, as well as a shopping bag full of gifts and discount coupons.
Half Day Rafting - Narrows Narrows Express is an exhilarating stretch of the Arkansas River packed with one rapid after another! It makes for nonstop paddling, fun and excitement along with beautiful views of fourteen thousand ft. peaks! Wildlife is abundant in the Rockies! Bighorn sheep, eagles, deer, beaver, and coyotes can often be seen during your river trip.
Magic Sunrise Ballooning - Take off from Chatfield State Park, located southwest of Denver, and enjoy panoramic views of the Rocky Mountain foothills, waterways and wildlife as you float among the clouds in this ultimate hot-air balloon experience.
The Best Western Denver, CO hotel offers a tranquil suburban setting nestled in the Rocky Mountain foothills with comfortable accommodations and great amenities.
Written by: Elizabeth L. Blair
All Photos © Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau. http://www.visitcos.com
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