Winter has finally arrived in the Pikes Peak region, but there’s no need to hibernate. There’s plenty to do in the “off-season,” with more than enough entertainment in and around Colorado Springs to fill cold days and long winter nights.
Because of an abundance of mild winter weather, the area’s beautiful outdoors can be enjoyed year-round — from hiking to golf, rock-climbing to bicycling. An extensive urban bike trail system is often as dry and navigable in January as in June. Golf courses may get snow, which then melts and leaves them perfectly playable in February. Take a hike in Garden of the Gods or spend a few hours at a local playground on any sunny day. There are lots of things to do in Colorado Springs in the winter.
And, of course, head to Colorado’s mountains to enjoy world-class skiing.
Snow fun in the Colorado Springs area
A lot of folks head to the mountains for downhill skiing, but there’s abundant snow fun to be had in the Pikes Peak region, too.
There is great sledding in area parks that are also great for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing after a snowfall, or for mountain biking and day hiking when it’s dry. Also consider engaging in various scheduled programs at the county parks, from snowshoe hikes to birdwatching to archery. El Paso County’s Bear Creek Nature Center and the Fountain Creek Nature Center both have terrific oriented family programs. The county also has a broad network of trekkable trails in the Black Forest area, especially Fox Run Park.
Mueller State Park, only about an hour away up Ute Pass, has cross-country and snowshoe trails, as well as some great sledding spots. There are winter-themed family programs, too. Programs are free with a $9 parks pass (per car). Visit here for more program information.
If you have your own snowshoes or cross-country skis, you can trek around any city park. With more than 9,000 acres of parks and 500 acres of trails, there’s bound to be a place you’ll enjoy. For a list of city parks, visit their website.
Of course, the Colorado Spring’s premier park is Garden of the Gods, where you can take a sedate walk, scoot around on a Segway or strap on a harness and go rock-climbing when the weather is dry. Or just spend some time there with a camera – it’s beautiful in winter with the snowy silhouette of Pikes Peak providing the background for red-orange sandstone formations. It’s also a great place for wildlife watching at dawn and dusk.
Ice is nice as a winter activity
Escape the real chill – by going indoors. Several local ice-skating rinks are available year round, including the municipally-owned Sertich Ice Arena in Memorial Park, with regular open skating sessions and skate rentals. It’s the perfect place to learn to skate with lessons offered on its NHL-sized rink.
Or check out the World Arena Ice Hall, adjacent to the Broadmoor World Arena. The Ice Hall is purportedly one of the finest training facilities in the nation. The Ice Hall has public skating sessions all winter.
Visit these indoor adventures
If the weather isn’t nice, or you just don’t like the cold, there are a lot of indoor pursuits that will fill a winter’s day – or evening.
Start with the architecturally gorgeous Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, located at 215 S. Tejon St., in the ornate 1903 El Paso County Courthouse. Here, you’ll learn about the region’s colorful history and even see part of the reconstructed home of author Helen Hunt Jackson. Changing exhibits and innovative programs make it worth more than one visit a year. It’s a must for history buffs. It also offers regular programs for kids and families. Admission is free.
The American Numismatic Association’s Money Museum, 818 N. Cascade Ave., displays money and financial facts as you’ve never seen them before. If the weather is bad, they also offer virtual tours and exhibits.
With the winter Olympics coming up, families might enjoy a visit to the World Figure Skating Museum, 20 First St. It is appropriately located near The Broadmoor Hotel. After all, Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill and many other top Olympic figure skaters trained at the Broadmoor. While there, be sure to stop by the admission-free Penrose Heritage Museum which includes antique cars and carriages, and memorabilia and race cars from the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on the other.
And if your interest in the Olympics goes beyond skating, be sure to visit the new
U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum downtown. A stunning new 20,000 square foot building houses an expansive exhibition space and interactive exhibits that will keep you entertained for hours.
(Note that museums may limit the number of visitors at a given time and ask that you follow current COVID-19 protocols, so bring a mask just in case.)
Enjoy warmer outdoor adventures
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo offers a different experience in winter than in summer. Yes, some of the critters are tucked away snug in their warm beds, but others revel in the cooler weather.
If the weather outside is frightful, head to Cave of the Winds for an indoor tour any time of year. The temperature stays pretty much the same year-round.
Research more ‘winter in Colorado Springs’ ideas
For more attractions, and for details about winter hours and admission fees, visit http://www.visitcos.com/colorado-springs-attractions and for local special events, check out Peak Radar, a community calendar listing everything from free family events and the fine arts to concerts and festivals.
There’s so much more. A terrific library system offers dozens of programs every week, helping to keep families entertained (visit www.ppld.org). New, state-of-the-art movie theaters (with recliners for seats), trampoline centers, indoor rock-climbing walls and much more offer endless entertainment opportunities for all ages.
So who’s hibernating? Get out and play!