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Things to do this Summer in Colorado Springs 2024

May 31, 2024

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Summer is the ideal time to explore; the kids are out of school, and things seem to slow down a bit. Colorado Springs, The Front Range, and Colorado all have so much to see and do that you don’t even need to get on a plane to get away and experience some extraordinary moments.

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“Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.”

– Frank Borman

This area offers activities ranging from swimming in secluded mountain springs and climbing 14ers to enjoying concerts, festivals, and much more.

We’ve put together this post to help you make the most of the season by showcasing various activities that cater to all interests and ages.

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Colorado Springs and its surrounding areas have something for everyone, whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures like hiking through picturesque trails or indulging in cultural experiences like visiting art galleries and museums.

Additionally, you’ll find recommendations for family-friendly attractions, places to swim, and exciting events that will make your summer memorable. So, embrace the spirit of exploration, delve into the rich offerings of this beautiful region, and create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

Dive into Summer: The Ultimate Guide to Cool Swimming Spots

Pools are not common in Colorado, the season is short, maintenance is challenging, and water is expensive. Because of this, most of the swimming opportunities are isolated to private clubs or institutional pools. Let’s take a look at your options.

summer is pool time in colorado springs

Public Pools

The Pikes Peak YMCA has two outdoor pools open to the public (for a fee)all summer long.

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Two popular indoor pools in the area are open to the public:

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Paradise Cove: If you’re interested in something unique, you need to check out Paradise Cove. This hidden gem offers adrenaline-packed adventures, with cliff jumping and exploring mesas and canyons. This unforgettable destination is about 1-hour southwest of Colorado Springs outside and 15 minutes east of Guffey, Colorado.

The area has several private pools; some are part of a much larger health club, while others are individual neighborhood pools. If you are in a neighborhood with a private pool you could certainly look to join here are a couple of the more popular private neighborhood pools.

Rafting

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Rafting is immensely popular in Colorado during the summer months. Pristine rivers and breathtaking canyons create a perfect backdrop for adrenaline-pumping adventures. With a robust snowpack from winter snowfall, Colorado’s rivers benefit from strong currents during spring and summer, which is ideal for rafting.

Several options are available for Colorado Springs residents looking to check out some whitewater. Canon City is a short drive to the south and is home to the Royal Gorge. The Royal Gorge is over 1,200 feet deep and over 10 miles long. This makes it ideal for rafters of all skill levels. Here are some of our favorite companies to take you down the river.

Hiking

Hiking is almost synonymous with Summer here in Colorado. The combination of clear blue skies, warm sunshine, and breathtaking mountain vistas creates the perfect setting for outdoor enthusiasts. The Pikes Peak region offers an extensive network of trails that traverse diverse landscapes, and there’s something for everyone, from serene nature walks to challenging summit hikes.

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Mountain Biking

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Mountain biking is a fantastic summer activity, and you’ll be thrilled to discover the diverse array of riding destinations in the Pikes Peak region. From the challenging and technical trails around Cheyenne Mountain and Mount Herman in Monument to the more accessible trails like the Santa Fe Trail and Fox Run Regional Park, there’s something for every skill level. Let me share a couple of our favorite trails that are perfect for novice riders and can be enjoyed by the whole family.

  • Santa Fe Trail – The 14-mile trail section traces the former Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad paths. Starting from Palmer Lake, the regional gravel trail remains straight and level for 6.5 miles. A pivotal 6.9-mile trail segment is made possible by an easement agreement with the U.S. Air Force Academy. Trail users must stay on the six-foot-wide trail surface while passing through the Academy. Additionally, cyclists are required to wear helmets.
  • Fox Run Regional Park is excellent for beginner to intermediate mountain bike riders. The park is in a dense forest of ponderosa pines, and this hidden gem offers a tranquil atmosphere and well-maintained trails. Located in the northern part of El Paso County and at the edge of the Black Forest area. This is a remarkable destination, perfect for both tourists and locals alike.
  • Red Rocks Open Space – This is a prime location for mountain biking. With stunning red rock formations, diverse and well-maintained trails, and breathtaking views, it offers an exhilarating experience for riders of all skill levels.
  • Legacy Loop – This is a valuable asset for cyclists. This 10-mile loop trail encircles downtown, offering safe and scenic biking with dedicated lanes and connecting to other trails. It promotes community engagement, accessibility, and a sustainable biking environment in the city’s heart.

Fishing

fishing is a popular activity in the summer in colorado springs

Fishing is a popular summer activity in the Pikes Peak region and throughout Colorado. The region offers a variety of fishing opportunities, ranging from lakes and reservoirs suitable for traditional fishing to serene and stunning streams perfect for fly fishing. Here is a list of some of the most beloved fishing spots in the Pikes Peak region.

  • Eleven Mile Reservoir – 11 Mile Reservoir in Colorado is a prime fishing spot. With clear waters, diverse fish species like trout, salmon, and pike, and options for shoreline fishing or boating, it provides an ideal setting for anglers. Its serene surroundings make it a tranquil and rewarding fishing destination.
  • Pueblo Reservoir – Pueblo Reservoir is a fantastic destination for fishermen. Known for its abundant fish population, including bass, walleye, trout, and catfish, it offers excellent fishing opportunities. The reservoir’s expansive size and diverse habitats provide a range of fishing experiences, whether from shore or boat. With its scenic beauty and thriving fishery, Pueblo Reservoir is a paradise for anglers seeking a fruitful and enjoyable fishing trip.
  • Spinney Reservoir – Spinney Reservoir is a paradise for fishermen. Renowned for its trophy-sized trout, including rainbow, brown, and cutthroat, it offers exceptional fishing opportunities. The reservoir’s tranquil waters, picturesque surroundings, and limited fishing pressure make it an angler’s haven. Whether from the shoreline or a boat, fishermen can enjoy a rewarding experience and the chance to reel in impressive catches at Spinney Reservoir.
  • The Arkansas River – This is a prime destination for fly fishing enthusiasts. With its abundant trout population and diverse ecosystems, ranging from rapids to calm sections, it offers thrilling angling opportunities. The river’s stunning mountain backdrop and consistent insect hatches create an ideal setting for an unforgettable fly fishing experience.

Festivals and Events

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Summer festivals are super popular for a bunch of reasons. These events are all about celebrating the season and making the most of those longer days and warm weather. They’ve got all kinds of stuff going on, like awesome live music, cool art exhibitions, tasty food trucks, and displays of different cultures. Festivals bring people together to have a blast and feel like part of a community.

The best part? They usually happen outside in parks or by the water, so you can soak up nature while having a great time. Plus, they’re perfectly timed with school vacations and time off, so it’s easy for everyone to join in and get the full festival experience.

  • Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Fan Fest – The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Fan Fest is an exciting event held in downtown Colorado Springs. It brings together fans of the iconic hill climb race for a lively street party featuring driver meet-ups, thrilling motocross stunts, and attractions like the Michelob Ultra Beer Garden.
  • Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo – The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo is a premier rodeo event that takes place over four days in July. It attracts top talent in competitive rodeo, including bull riders, steer wrestlers, and barrel racers. With substantial prize money at stake, it showcases thrilling rodeo performances while celebrating Colorado Springs’ Western heritage.
  • Rocky Mountain State Games – The Rocky Mountain State Games is a thrilling multi-sport event held in the Rocky Mountain region. It showcases a wide array of sports competitions, attracting athletes of all ages and skill levels. The games provide a lively and inclusive environment, making them a joy to watch as athletes demonstrate their dedication, passion, and sportsmanship.
  • Cripple Creek Donkey Derby Days – This is a lively event featuring donkey races and festivities held in Cripple Creek, Colorado. It offers a unique and entertaining experience as spectators cheer on jockeys racing atop these lovable and sometimes unpredictable creatures. The quirky nature of the event makes it a delightful and fun-filled spectacle for all.
  • Colorado College Summer Music Festival – The Colorado College Summer Music Festival is an annual event that brings together talented young musicians and renowned faculty for captivating concerts and educational programs. The festival offers diverse classical music performances, masterclasses, and workshops, creating a vibrant and immersive musical experience for all.
  • 2024 USA Weightlifting National Championships – This event is in the Olympic City for 2024. The USA Weightlifting National Championships is a prestigious event that showcases the country’s top weightlifters. It is a highly competitive tournament where athletes compete in various weight classes to determine the national champions. The championships exhibit incredible strength, technique, and athleticism, making it a thrilling event for weightlifting enthusiasts.

Bugging in your backyard and beyond!

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When is the last time that you went bug hunting? This is a great activity that can be done anywhere; in your backyard, at the neighborhood park, or even in the closet you haven’t cleaned in a while. We use the generic term “bugs”, but really mean all types of insects such as:

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  • Dragonflies and Damselflies (Order: Odonata)
  • Earwigs (Order: Dermaptera)
  • Grasshoppers and Crickets (Order: Orthoptera)
  • Praying Mantids (Order: Mantodea)
  • Mayflies (Order: Ephemeroptera)
  • Ants and bees (Order: Hymenoptera)
  • Butterflies and moths (Order: Lepidoptera)
  • Beetles (Order: Coleoptera)
  • Flies and mosquitoes (Order: Diptera)

(Hopefully, the entomologist in the group will forgive us for leaving off the cockroaches and sucking lice).

  1. Grab a backpack, notepad, and magnifying glass
  2. Head to an open space, hiking trail, or even your backyard
  3. Observation is the key to finding really cool specimens. Look under rocks, stumps, and tree bark. Remember to look, but don’t touch our little crawly friends. 🪲

Download and print the attached worksheet to find native bugs around Colorado Springs! Leave the bugs be, don’t harm them, mark them on the list when you find one! Don’t forget your magnifying glass!

Birding around Colorado Springs

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Did you know that Colorado has over 500 species of birds? If entomology doesn’t excite you, maybe ornithology is your thing. Like bug hunting, bird hunting is easily done in your backyard, in an open field, or at the park down the street. Other great locations include:

  • Bear Creek Nature Center
  • Garden of the Gods Park
  • Fountain Creek Regional Park
  • Red Rock Canyon Park

Also check out this resource: https://www.visitcos.com/blog/pikes-peak-birding-trail/

Download and print the attached worksheet to find native birds around Colorado Springs! Don’t forget your binoculars! 

Exploring Near and Far

Summer in the Springs

Use pinecones, flowers, sticks, rocks, etc to create a mandala at your local park (don’t destroy plants to get what you want, use what’s already laying around!).

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Use items you may have around your house to create an obstacle course for the whole family. Examples: hula hoops, skateboards, any kind of ball, nets, hoops, racquets, boards, string/rope, sticks, etc.

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Make a goal of trying a new park/trail each week – https://coloradosprings.gov/parks/page/parks-trails-open-spaces

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Get one from Poor Richards! Little Richard’s Toy Store.

Are you familiar with geocaching? Letterboxing is a similar activity but is more easily done with families. Instead of a GPS, users use clues to find hidden stashes containing a stamp used to document their success. Two great resources for this fun family-friendly activity are https://www.letterboxing.org/ and https://www.atlasquest.com/.

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Here is where your creativity can run wild!

  1. Pick a theme for your scavenger hunt.
  2. A mix of easy items and hard items makes it fun for everyone.
  3. Have a prize at the end. Ice cream, a crown/tiara, or a cheesy trophy from the second-hand store provides some motivation.
  4. Invite friends and make it an annual event!

Download and print the attached kid-friendly Nature Scavenger Hunt list to find the listed items around your favorite park! Make sure you take a small bucket or Tupperware to gather your things! 

Shop Local at a Farmer’s Market 

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Check the Farmer’s Market’s website and info as they are very individual due to COVID-19. Some Markets will not start until July, some have online ordering, and some are on their regular schedule. 

Some other great resources for fresh produce:

Other Things to Do for Summer Fun in Colorado Springs

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Invite a small group of friends or neighbors over for a yard game tournament! Play a few games, then create a bracket so you can declare the supreme winner. Use the yard games you already own to create the playing field or ask every family to bring one game to add to the fun! For more fun, pick up a silly used trophy at the resale shop to offer as the prize.

Purchase yard games: Garage Sales, Facebook Marketplace, Big Box Stores, or even the Dollar Store

Whatever it is your family enjoys this summer, we hope it is wonderful!

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