Manitou Springs, Colorado: Attractions and Activities


Manitou Springs, Colorado is a charming town nestled at the foot of Pikes Peak, welcomes over 500,000 visitors annually to experience its unique blend of history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture.


  • Manitou Springs boasts a rich history, stunning natural attractions, and a thriving arts scene.
  • Visitors can enjoy numerous outdoor activities, cultural events, and local businesses.
  • The town's mineral springs and historic landmarks contribute to its unique identity and economic vitality.

Geographical Context and Natural Attractions

Located just west of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Manitou Springs is surrounded by breathtaking natural wonders. The town is situated near iconic attractions such as:

  • Garden of the Gods is a registered National Natural Landmark featuring towering red rock formations.
  • Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.
  • The Manitou Incline is a popular hiking trail with a steep 2,744-step climb.
  • The various Manitou Mineral Springs are preserved by the Mineral Springs Foundation, including Twin Spring, Navajo Spring, 7 Minute Spring, Shoshone Spring, Stratton Spring, Wheeler Spring, and Cheyenne Spring.

Mineral springs, which were used by indigenous peoples and early settlers for their believed healing properties, are a defining feature of Manitou Springs.

Here are a few other local destinations:

  • Pikes Peak Cog Railway
  • Miramont Castle/Miramont Castle Museum
  • Barr Trail
  • Historic Manitou Springs
  • Manitou Cliff Dwelling
  • Fountain Creek
  • Winds Mountain Park
  • Manitou Art Center
  • Royal Gorge
  • Rainbow Falls
  • Iron Springs Chateau

Historical Significance

Founded in 1872 by General William Jackson Palmer and Dr. William Abraham Bell, Manitou Springs was intended to be a scenic health resort. The town played a role in Colorado’s gold rush era and has since worked to preserve its historic landmarks, such as:

  • Briarhurst Manor, Dr. Bell's former home, now serves as a fine dining restaurant.
  • The Manitou Springs Historic District is one of the largest National Historic Districts in the country.

Cultural and Artistic Highlights

Manitou Springs boasts a thriving arts scene with numerous galleries, theaters, and annual events that showcase the town’s creative spirit. Some notable cultural highlights include:

  • The Commonwheel Artists Co-op features works from local artists.
  • The Manitou Springs Heritage Center celebrates the town's history and cultural heritage.
  • The Emma Crawford Coffin Races is a quirky annual event held in October.

Outdoor Activities and Recreation

With its stunning natural surroundings, Manitou Springs offers a wide range of outdoor activities for visitors and residents alike. Popular pursuits include:

  • There are numerous trails in and around town for hiking and biking.
  • The Cave of the Winds is a series of caverns featuring guided tours and adventure rides.
  • The Manitou Springs Penny Arcade is a nostalgic attraction with vintage games and amusements.

Local Economy and Businesses

Tourism plays a significant role in Manitou Springs’ economy, with small businesses and local dining and shopping options catering to visitors. The town features:

  • Unique boutiques and art galleries along Manitou Avenue.
  • A diverse selection of restaurants, cafes, and bars.
  • Accommodation options range from historic hotels to charming bed and breakfasts.

Community and Lifestyle

Manitou Springs is home to a tight-knit community of residents who enjoy a high quality of life and access to excellent public services. The town prioritizes environmental sustainability and has implemented various initiatives to preserve its natural beauty and resources.

Visitor Information and Travel Tips

The best times to visit Manitou Springs are during the spring and fall when the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds. Visitors can easily explore the town on foot or by taking the free shuttle service. It’s essential to book accommodations in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.


What are the must-visit attractions in Manitou Springs?

Some must-visit attractions include the Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, the Manitou Incline, and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings.

Can you explain the significance of the mineral springs in Manitou Springs?

The mineral springs were used for their healing properties by indigenous peoples and early settlers, and they continue to be a defining feature of the town.

What are some popular events and festivals in Manitou Springs?

Popular events include the Emma Crawford Coffin Races in October, the Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival in August, and the Manitou Springs Art Walk held throughout the year.

What outdoor activities are available in Manitou Springs?

Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, exploring caves, and visiting nearby parks and natural attractions.

What are some tips for first-time visitors to Manitou Springs?

First-time visitors should plan their trip during the spring or fall, book accommodations in advance, and take advantage of the free shuttle service to explore the town.


About the author

Ransom Patterson

My expertise in Colorado life extends beyond just residing here; it’s also about living actively within the community. I spend my time cycling through Denver’s trails, experimenting with local cuisines, and immersing myself in the local music scene. These activities give me a unique perspective on the cultural and outdoor offerings of Colorado. This hands-on approach allows me to provide insider tips and personal recommendations that resonate with both locals and visitors alike.