Pikes Peak Bike Tours

Get ready for a thrilling downhill ride with Pikes Peak Bike Tours.

The best way to experience Pikes Peak is on a bike! I’ve been to the top several times, but this was my first time coming down on two wheels instead of four.

Get Ready

Our guide Dan is ready to roll.

The day starts at the shop where everyone checks-in and grabs breakfast. From there we’re given a demonstration about the bikes, and pile into the vans for our ride up to the Peak.

The guides were fun and full of energy. Here’s my group leader Tyler.

Pikes Peak Bike Tours has truly great guides to lead you on this adventure. Our guides, Wes, Tyler, Dan, Calie, and Austin, were very personable, and spoke to everyone as if we were long-time friends.

Wes and Tyler lead my group, and as we drove, they kept the conversation going with fun tidbits about Pikes Peak and the surrounding area. They discussed what we could expect from the weather and also what to expect on the trip back down.

The Summit

At the top, we spent 15-20 minutes to visit the gift shop and take in the view. I wish we had a few more minutes to take photos at the top, but I was excited for the ride to begin.

My friend Daniel and I were ready!

It’s very cold up on the Peak year round, so make sure you bring a sweater and a windbreaker. PPBT has loaner gloves and some spare clothes, but it’s best to come prepared. Sunglasses and sunscreen are always good things to wear for any activity in Colorado.

Soon the bikes were unloaded, and we were given a few minutes to ride around to gain our mountain legs for the trip to the bottom. We had one more safety/instructional huddle, then we were split into two groups, fast and slow. You pick your group based on your comfort level. The slow group allows people to travel back down at their own pace. Our fast group guide, Tyler, explained we would be traveling at speeds around 25 miles per hour most of the way down.

Only One Way Down

The views really are second to none.

Tyler led the group the whole way down; Wes followed in the van. The slow group was sandwiched between the other two vans for the trip down. Anytime cars needed to pass, we pulled off to the side of the road. I never felt nervous about the cars because our guides were so at ease and handled the whole group really well. We took a few stops along the way for photos and to let everyone catch up. If you wanted to switch the group you were in, you were allowed to switch at these stopping points.

There are three short climbs on the trip. Our guides had no problem tossing a bike back up on the van to chauffeur reluctant participants uphill like a V.I.P.

Once we made it to the bottom, everyone piled back in the vans, and they drove us to Old Colorado City for lunch. The meal and tip for the server are included in the ticket price, so you can walk in, sit down and eat without worry. After lunch, you return to the shop, where the trip ends. The group I ate lunch with decided to walk the few blocks back to the shop. The walk was a nice way to stretch my legs after being on the bike that long.

When Can I Go Again?

I had such a great time, and no matter how many times I reach the summit, the view always takes my breath away.

Going up and back down in a car is a nice experience, but to come back down on a bike with no walls or windows is exhilarating. The rush of the cold wind, and the steep views from all around are some of best experiences I’ve ever had. Not to mention, when you get back to town, you can look up at Pikes Peak and say, “I rode down that on a bike!”

I have to give a HUGE thank you to the staff of Pikes Peak Bike Tours for an amazing trip. PPBT has even more ways to experience the area with tours along Gold Camp Road and even special event tours like their Fourth of July Fireworks Ride. I’ll definitely be coming back for another trip!

Pikes Peak Bike Tours | bikepikespeak.com | (719) 337-5311

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Farmers Markets in the Pikes Peak Region

What better way to embrace Colorado in all its glory than to dine on locally grown food? Ladies and gentlemen, it’s farmer’s market time. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

Please promise me you’ll try some Palisade peaches before you go home.

Colorado Springs Farmers Markets

Information from VisitCoS.com

Mondays

Western Museum of Mining and Industry, 225 North Gate Blvd; 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; July – October

Tuesdays

Fountain Farmers Market, 116 S. Main St.; 2 – 7 p.m. May 30 – Aug. 1

Canon City Farmers Market, Veterans Park; 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.  June 6 – Sept 26

Wednesdays

Briargate Farmers Market, 7610 N. Union Blvd.; 9 a.m. -3 p.m. May 23 – Oct. 10

Western Museum of Mining and Industry, 225 North Gate Blvd; 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; July – October

Colorado Farm & Art Market at the Pioneers Museum, 215 S. Tejon St.; 3 – 7 p.m. June through mid October

Fountain Community Market, 116 S. Main St.; 2 – 6 p.m. June 7 – August 27

Thursdays

Memorial Park, 1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave.; 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. TBD

Banning Lewis Ranch, 6885 Vista Del Pico Blvd.; 3 – 7 p.m. June 7 – September 13

Manitou Community Market, Soda Springs Park; TBD

Fridays

Buffalo Bicycle Lodge, 2 El Paso Blvd; 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. June 8 – September 7

Saturdays

Personal FavoriteOld Colorado City Farmers Market, W. Colorado Ave & 24th St.; 7 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. June 9 – October 20

Monument Hill Farmers Market, 66 S. Jefferson St.; 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. May 26 – October 13

Colorado Farm & Art Market at Margarita at Pine Creek; 7350 Pine Creek Rd.; 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. June through Mid October

Colorado Springs Flea Market, 5225 E. Platte Ave; 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The Promenade Shops at Briargate, 1885 Briargate Parkway; 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. June 9 – September 29

Sundays

Downtown Colorado Springs, Acacia Park, 115 E. Platte Ave.; 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. June 25 – September 3 (free parking meters on Sundays)

Cordera, 11894 Grandlawn Cir.; 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. June 3 – September 16

Colorado Springs Flea Market, 5225 E. Platte Ave; 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Daily

Spencer’s Lawn & Garden Center, 1430 S. Tejon St.; Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Woodland Park Farmers Markets

Information from Teller County Farmers Market Assoc.

Fridays

8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

There is a summer farmers market in Woodland Park, in Memorial Park / Henrietta Avenue near the Cultural Center. The market begins the second Friday in June and goes through September. You can park across from City Hall on South Avenue, at the Senior Center (please leave spaces for seniors close to the building), next to the Ute Pass Cultural Center, in Bergstrom Park off Hwy 24, and at various public parking lots in downtown Woodland Park. It’s easy to park on a residential street and walk to the farmers market.

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Story Coffee

Story Coffee in Colorado Springs
Story Coffee truly has a unique story of how they got to where they are, and they believe everyone who walks through their door has a unique story of their own. Photo: Facebook/@storycoffeecompany

Story Coffee–self proclaimed “first tiny house coffee shop in the world”– is located in downtown Colorado Springs on the edge of Acacia Park. And it’s exactly what you’d think when you hear “tiny house coffee shop.” It’s tiny.

The interior is wide enough for two people to stand side by side and place their orders at the counter, and long enough for a few more sets to stand behind. It’s definitely not big enough for my 4- and 2-year-olds to run around like they wanted. But that’s the point.

The splash pad in Acacia Park is right next to Story Coffee, while the rest of downtown unfolds behind the park.

The owners of Story Coffee have lived the minimalist life for years. They sold their house and most of their possessions and hit the road with their two kids, collecting memories and mileage instead of stuff. They traveled the country exploring as a family, tasting great coffee, and learning from coffee shop owners from coast to coast.

The shop used to live in a different part of the Springs, until a few years ago when it was “parked” near Acacia Park during the busy holiday season as a test run. And Acacia Park has been the home of Story Coffee since.

The shop has a lovely deck if you want to sit. Because it’s inside the park and so near downtown, the setting encourages you to talk to other people while sipping your coffee or set off to explore downtown.

Playground in Acacia Park.
The playground is great for the little ones while mom and dad fuel up with some caffeine.

Our kids loved playing on the playground while my husband waited for our coffees. In the summertime, Acacia Park is packed because they turn on the splash pad, and kids can’t get enough. Concerts are put on just behind Story Coffee on the outdoor stage. Also, Tejon Street has shops, restaurants, and it’s the parade route for every event in the Springs.

My coffee was hot, smooth and light. It was the perfect thing for walking on a bright spring day.

Photo: Facebook/@storycoffeecompany

They sell some pastries but don’t have a full kitchen, so you won’t be able to order a full meal. They don’t have a huge variety, but the things they do, they do well. The shop is popular, so the line is long. There was only one person working when we were there, so things took a while. But remember, their shop has limited square footage. There’s not enough room for lots of employees. But it was worth the wait.

All in all, we give Story Coffee a 9/10.

Kid Friendly: Yes

Drive Through: No. And if you park on a weekday, many streets have parking meters (but the meters take credit cards).

120 E Bijou St, Colorado Springs, CO 80903 | storycoffeecompany.com

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Explore Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain

Pikes Peak from Woodland Park, Colorado.
Pikes Peak with a light dusting of snow, as seen from Woodland Park, Colorado!

A Colorado Fourteener

Fourteen thousand, one hundred and fifteen feet! Woah! Pikes Peak, America’s Mountain, stands over 14,000 feet above sea level, and it towers more than half that distance above the towns at its base, including Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Cripple Creek, Cañon City and Woodland Park.

Manitou Incline near Colorado Springs at the base of Pikes Peak.
These are our nephews on their first time up the Manitou Incline. It’s finally hitting them what they’re about to do.

As an above-14,000-foot peak, it’s part of the group of mountains known as fourteeners. Colorado has 54 fourteeners, and Pikes Peak ranks 31st out of those 54. Conquering the summit of Pikes Peak is truly an achievement.

Pikes Peak was discovered in the 1700s, but wasn’t named until an excursion brought Zebulon Pike into the area. Later, Katherine Lee Bates would write a poem describing the beauty of the American countryside, and the “purple mountain majesties” were based on none other than Pikes Peak. America’s Mountain was born.

Locals can attest to the purple hue of the mountains in the early morning sun, and they always look for “the Peak” to know they’re close to home.

It’s a Spectacle for All

Whether you’re hiking, biking, driving or taking some great Colorado photography, it’s a must-see attraction.

To drive to the top…

A view of Colorado Springs from the Pikes Peak Tollway.
A view from the Pikes Peak Tollway!

…you begin at the Pikes Peak Tollway in Cascade, Colorado. It’s a 19-mile journey that will take several hours round-trip. It will take your breath away as you navigate the switchbacks to the top. Be prepared for the journey with some snacks and water for the car. You may notice that you get sleepy along the way. That’s the altitude! Also, be prepared for a 30-degree temperature drop. Even in the middle of summer, it can be cold on the peak, so bring a coat! Make sure to get some fudge at the top in the gift shop. It’s so yummy!

PRICES: Adult: $10 | Child (6-15): $5 | Carload up to 5 people: $35 

HOURS: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Daily | Last car goes up at 3 p.m.

The hike is not for the faint of heart.

The Manitou Incline
When you think you’re almost there, you still have a ways to go! This view is just below the half way point on the Manitou Incline.

The Barr Trail begins in Manitou Springs. You can begin with the infamous Manitou Incline, a set of over 2,700 stairs that gain 2,000 feet in elevation in just under a mile. Not ready for that? You can jump right on the Barr Trail. The trail is 13 miles and gains 7,510 feet from beginning to end. You’ll want to begin in the wee hours of the morning because it can take more than 4 hours just to get half way! Many hikers choose to make the trip to the top a two-day trek (that’s my most alliterative sentence, to date). Barr Camp is about 7 miles from the trailhead. You can make reservations to stay overnight at barrcamp.com/overnight.php.

Bike it!

Or rather, bike down. You can book a Jeep tour to the summit of Pikes Peak. You’ll meet in the morning for a yummy breakfast, then take a Jeep to the top! Once you’re there, there’s only one way down, right? Cruise down 19.5 miles of scenic highway back to Cascade, and end at the Wines of Colorado for a lunch to celebrate your return! Book at tour at pikespeakbybike.co.

Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak rises out of the trees near our Catamount Cabin.

At the end of your incredible day, kick back and relax at our Catamount Cabin in Woodland Park, which looks right out on the majestic mountain you just explored, or our Family Retreat in Florissant which, at almost 9,000 feet is nestled in the heart of this great countryside.

 

For weather & road conditions on Pikes Peak Highway, call 719-385-7325.

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Rock Climbing in Garden of the Gods

Great, sunny weather makes rock climbing possible year round.

Garden of the Gods is one of the best known attractions in Colorado Springs. Locals and out-of-towners alike flock to this iconic site to stretch their legs and also take some of the best pictures in town! Whether you’re running, biking, walking the dog, out with the stroller, horseback riding or just looking to take a drive, Garden of the Gods is a must-see any time of year.

The moderate climate keeps much of the winter blues (and the snow) at bay which has made this a year round destination for rock climbers as well.

There are a few rules before you climb. First, you must fill out a climbing registration form to get your climbing permit with the city. It’s free to register, and you can do it online.

Second, you must use proper Technical Climbing equipment and practices. You can review those on the City’s website here. The City mentions some common-knowledge rules for climbing throughout Colorado Springs on the same page.

A guide is a great resource to use on your first trip skyward in Garden of the Gods. Front Range Rock Climbing Company offers half- or full-day tours which they cater to any skill level. They’ll provide the gear, the know-how, and even give you some great pictures to take home.

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