I took a getaway to Colorado last weekend and I finally got around to sorting through the photos! James’ high school friend Erin and Kyle were getting married in Denver, so we took the opportunity to turn it into a long weekend, hanging out with friends, eating lots of food, and just spending as much time as we can in the outdoors.
Last time we were in Colorado Springs for Christmas, we did a bit of light hiking near North Cheyenne Cañon Park, but this time James convinced me to hike up the Incline. The Incline in Manitou Springs was once a railway track used to carry materials up to Pikes Peak and is now a hiking trail open to public.
The drive from Colorado Springs into Manitou Springs was beautiful and scenic with dramatic mountain vistas at every turn.
I’m always up for a challenge, but I didn’t realize what a real challenge it would be until I was standing at the bottom of the trail and looking literally straight up.
As the warning on the sign suggests, it’s certainly not for the faint of heart!
With an elevation gain of over 2000 feet in under a mile, it got my heart rate up to say the least. There’s not much shade on the trail, so sunscreen with high SPF is a must. On a sunny day, it was scorching hot so be sure to bring plenty of water, too.
When you reach the top though, you are rewarded with an amazing view, and more importantly, a sense of accomplishment after an intense cardio workout!
On our way back, we took the Barr Trail which consisted mostly of switchbacks that weave through the side of the mountain with the most spectacular views. You can also take the shorter route, which is to go back down on the Incline, but it was getting a bit too crowded with people coming up as we were ready to go down.
The weather had been picture perfect during our time out there, so after breakfast one day, we headed to Garden of the Gods for a light stroll through the park.
The park, designated a National Natural Landmark, is a geologic wonder with unusual red sandstone formations. They are made of sedimentary rock layers that have been tilted upright and exposed in dramatic fashion.
Hiking trails are clearly marked and most are actually paved foot paths.
There are rocks with interesting shapes and forms, like the Kissing Camels on the left and the Cathedral Spires on the right.
The rock formations and the landscape are just stunning against the snow-capped mountain in the backdrop. It’s like walking in a postcard!
If you are feeling adventurous, you can even climb the rocks after getting a permit at the Visitor Center. Maybe next time!
If you’re ever in the Manitou Springs area, I highly recommend checking out the historic downtown area. It’s lined with art galleries, gift shops (there is an olive oil and vinegar store where you can sample almost all the products!) and shops selling hunting and fishing supplies as well.
We dined out for the most part during our stay, except for one evening when we ordered pizza after the Incline hike. So I finally tried Papa Murphy’s for the first time! You might be thinking…what’s so special about take-and-bake pizzas? For those of you living in the West Coast, you might be surprised to learn that there is no Papa Murphy’s or anything equivalent on the East Coast (or the NY tristate area at least).
As a PM newbie, I think I did a pretty good job :)
Another night, our friends Brett and Cat invited us over for a barbecue dinner.
While the boys were sipping on cold beers and grilling the steaks, Cat prepared these individual cheesy potato packets to grill them on the upper rack. They are so good! Need to make that in my kitchen soon!
Other places we tried:
Ski Barista – Cozy little cafe with mountain lodge decor. Great pastries and coffee.
Rudy’s Little Hideaway – I had a hard time choosing between their Mexican breakfast specials and the burritos, but was in the mood for something smothered with green chili so the Fiesta Rancheros sounded perfect.
James chose the Breakfast Burrito with Green Chili and cleaning that plate was definitely not a problem ;)
Espresso News at the Broadmoor – Saturday morning was our last day in Colorado Springs so we took it easy and had a leisurely breakfast at the cafe inside the Broadmoor. I had a blueberry lemon scone and James had a ham and cheese croissant (so buttery!) with latte and we both thought their coffee and pastries were on point.
After breakfast, we moseyed over to the gift shops and the lake within the hotel grounds with walking paths scattered all over. Surrounded by mountains, the view is just amazing everywhere you look.
Erin and Kyle’s wedding was held at the Oxford Hotel in Denver.
Before the wedding, we headed over to Union Station right around the corner and was pleasantly surprised by our finds!
The lobby area is absolutely beautiful with plenty of comfortable seating where you can order from the bars, restaurants, cafe, and snack bars.
Terminal Bar was the first thing that attracted us, with their extensive list of Colorado craft beers on tap.
We settled on Elk Mountain Brewery Pale Ale and Odell Brewing IPA, and ordered some fries for good measure. It is such a great spot for hanging out with friends, either to grab a bite or a drink, or three :)
All in all it was a long weekend well spent and I can’t wait for my next trip to Colorado!