One of my favorite things about living where I do is the ability to take easy road trips to all sorts of amazing outdoorsy places. The President’s Day weekend meant that I finally had a little bit of a reprieve from work, so my husband and I decided to head out and hit the trails in Colorado Springs for a few days.
We’ve driven through Colorado Springs multiple times now, and it’s always been somewhere I’ve wanted to see more of. We booked an AirBnB on the southwest side of town and it ended up being perfect. We were basically fifteen minutes from everywhere we’d wanted to check out, and our room literally abutted Bear Creek Park. After sleeping in on Saturday morning, we both hit the trails for a run.
I didn’t take my phone with me, but here’s basically what it looked like. I got in almost six miles of dirt goodness.
After we finished our run, we grabbed a quick lunch and headed west to Manitou Springs at the advice of our hosts. We wanted to do something kind of touristy, but not kitschy, and walking all over town to try every different mineral spring fit the bill. Out of all of them, Twin Spring was our favorite – lightly effervescent, absolutely delicious. My least favorite was Seven Minute Spring, since I thought it tasted the plainest. My husband would probably disagree. He particularly disliked Iron X Spring, since it basically tasted like pennies. Apparently, the iron taste was incredibly popular back in the early 1900s to the point where they had to drill a larger well for that particular spring though. Shows you how times have changed.
Manitou Springs was hopping (as to be expected with 60 degrees and sunny in February)! It is very much a tourist town; it reminds me of going to the Oregon Coast growing up. Besides the families and young couples, we also saw a ton of runners and hikers gearing up to do the Incline. This hill is on an old cog railway and goes basically straight up.
After walking the entire length of town and back, we took a quick stop for ice cream. I can’t remember the name of the place we stopped, but they had a big sign reading “voted best ice cream in town” and the snickerdoodle flavor was killer. We also grabbed a small sampler at Manitou Brewing. The Deception, a dark cream ale, was a real standout. We both definitely want to go back and spend more time in Manitou Springs – the hiking west of town looked amazing, and I can probably bribe my husband to do the Incline with some more ice cream.
Following our stop in Manitou Springs, we made the quick trip over to the Garden of the Gods. These red rock formations are absolutely stunning, and I wish we’d made some time to hike the trails over there. We were pretty tired between our run and walking all over Manitou Springs, so we stuck to the main paved trails and took tons of pictures, so prepare yourselves.
That evening, my husband planned a brewery tasting tour for us based on his own research and discussions with our AirBnB hosts! A word of caution before I dive in: it will seem like we went to a lot of places and drank a lot of beers. And on the one hand, we did! But on the other, we stuck to sharing 4 oz sampler trays and made sure we stayed hydrated and well-fed. We also made sure to take Lyft or walk. There’s a right way to do a tasting tour and a wrong way to do it, and if you’re going out specifically to get drunk, you’re probably doing it the wrong way. Be safe and make sure you can still taste every beer you try!
Our first stop was at Trinity Brewing, and I don’t think we had a single bad beer! The standout for me was probably Awaken, their chicory coffee stout. All of their beers were really creative without being zany, and you could tell the brewing team really put a lot of thought into the beers. It wasn’t just “let’s see what we can sour or what fruit we can toss in this beer.” The grain bills were really creative (lots of use of oats!) and the barrel-aging and souring was very purposeful. My husband took a lot of notes to help cultivate ideas to bring back to work.
Trinity’s flight also comes with water and Irish cheddar. Goofy husbands sold separately.
Next, we went to Iron Bird Brewing. Again, more awesome dark beers. Their Black Auger Stout was delicious, and they had a chocolate rye porter on in rotation that was one of my favorites. I also really enjoyed the Deathbot Wit. But the pizza! The pizza was killer. Not that the beer was bad at all, but I love me a good pizza.
Afterwards, we went up to Great Storm Brewing. Honestly, this was my least favorite spot, and I don’t think we finished a single beer. It had nothing to do with the beers themselves – I tried a peach sour that I really liked – but all the beers were too heavy for what we were feeling at that point in the night.
Lastly, we checked out Bristol Brewing in the Ivywild School and split a sampler tray. We hadn’t been planning to come here, but apparently our hosts talked my husband into it, and I was blown away by their Red Rocket Pale Ale. Bristol didn’t do anything fancy, and it didn’t need to – it just made damn good beer. This was our last stop and the closest to our AirBnB, so we walked it home after finishing our sampler tray.
Our flight at Bristol. Can’t wait to come back here.
The next morning, our feet were tired, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go hike in Red Rock Canyon Open Space after driving by it the day before. My husband was blown away by the views, as was I. This was a great spot for a hike – not too challenging, and a good mix of trails and views. The incline does take some sharp juts up and down when you go in and out of the canyon, but nothing as intimidating as the Incline! We both definitely want to come run here the next time we’re in town. More pictures coming your way.
Before hitting the road, we stopped in at Urban Steam for lunch. My husband really enjoyed his cappucino, and my hot chocolate was delicious as well. The food was also creative, but missed the mark a little bit. I had a caprese-style waffle with an egg, which was tasty, but the egg came poached instead of fried (how I ordered it) and was to the side of the waffle instead of on top. My husband’s omelet was good, but a little underdone. This would be a great spot to come to do some work and grab a coffee, though. They’ve definitely put a lot of work into their coffee program, and it shows.
Finishing the weekend with quality cocoa (#sundayvibes)
So, that wraps up our first visit to Colorado Springs! We’re already making plans to go back – there are so many more trails we want to check out. Enjoy the week, friends!