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Manitou Springs is a Historic Colorado Vacation Destination

Manitou Springs hotels

Manitou Springs Colorado is a historic mountain vacation town, and generally always was. Even though it is located just a few miles to the west of Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs couldn't be more different. In fact, the "springs" of Colorado Springs is really found in Manitou Springs. People first started coming to Manitou in the 1870's for the healing spring waters and the mountain air. But it's scenic beauty couldn't be hidden, and it location snuggled into the base of Pikes Peak provided the seed as to what it is today. As a result of it's early beginnings, many of the tourist attractions have been around for quite a long time.

Manitou Springs is a "tourist town" complete with gift shops, restaurants, all types of lodging, and a lot of tourist things to do. But at the same time, Manitou also has a lot of class. It's truly a old victorian town, with a lot of examples of Queen Anne homes and victorian architecture. Prominent people, and people of wealth, and hard working folk that support the tourist industry have made contributions to the history of Manitou Springs.

Fun Things to do In Manitou Springs Colorado

Here's our short list of fun things to do in Manitou Springs. Manitou Springs is located centrally to the whole Pikes Peak region, so take a look at the fun things to do in Colorado Springs too.

Miramont Castle
Miramont Castle was build in the 1890's by a Catholic priest from France, Father Jean Baptist Francolon. This 15,000 square foot residence was financed by the priests wealthy family after Father Francolon went of Manitou Springs for his failing health. Originally lured by Manitou's mineral springs. Father Francolon found the area very reminiscent of his native France. The castle was designed according to Father Francolon's ideas based on his world travels. As a result, the castle depicts 9 different architectural styles. Today Miramont Castle is a museum with a modest admission fee. Well worth a visit.
A Walk around Town
Its always fun to stroll the streets of Manitou Springs. There are the usual tourist shop, and some nice art galleries too. In the heart of the town there is a old arcade that dates all the way back. It's amazing it is still there. There are restaurants scatter all around, stop in one for lunch or scout what would be fun for dinner. While you are out on foot, consider taking a walk on some to the side streets going up the hill. You'll discover some unique architecture, and appreciate the town even more.
Cog Railroad and Barr Trail
Even if you decide to drive up to the summit on the Pikes Peak Highway, it's worth taking a look at the train station of the Cog Railroad, located at the western edge of Manitou Springs. After you see the train, the tracks and look up the slope, you will wonder what its like to ride it all the way to the summit of Pikes Peak. The first train ran in 1891.
Just past the Cog Railway Station is the trail head for Barr Trail. Hiking up the mountain is quite a rigorous venture and need good planning, but going up the trail a short ways is also a lot of fun. Just image going all the way to the top one day. Or, look into taking the train up, and hiking down. Another option is to stay over night at Barr Camp, roughly half way up to the summit.
Cave of the Winds
Yet another attraction that dates back to the 1890's, the Cave of the Winds is just outside of Manitou Springs. Stalactites, stalagmites, various species of bats, frozen waterfalls, and a constant 54 degree Fahrenheit are all part of one of Americas most interesting caves. There is a tour option to explore by lantern to experience how caves are discovered.
Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum
This is a reconstruction of Anasazi cliff dwellings found in Mesa Verde National Park in southwest Colorado. The stones were brought in from private land near Mesa Verde in the 1920's, since the trip to the Mesa Verdi was a big deal in those days. It is educational, but if you expect to see the real thing, seeing them in their original environment doesn't compare