Manitou Springs Nature: Adventures and Sites


This Manitou Springs nature guide offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the beauty of Colorado’s natural landscape. Manitou Springs, a picturesque town nestled at the foot of Pikes Peak, boasts an impressive array of natural wonders and outdoor adventures. With its unique geological features, diverse ecosystems, and rich history,


  • Explore the unique ecosystems of Manitou Springs, from forests and meadows to mineral springs.
  • Plan your visit based on seasonal considerations and weather patterns for the best experience.
  • Discover a range of accommodations and amenities to suit your preferences and budget.

Discovering the Natural Wonders of Manitou Springs

The Majestic Pikes Peak

Standing at 14,115 feet, Pikes Peak is one of Colorado’s most iconic landmarks. Its geological history dates back millions of years, with the mountain’s formation influenced by volcanic activity and glacial erosion. Visitors can explore the peak through various hiking trails, each offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

The Garden of the Gods: A Geological Marvel

The Garden of the Gods is a registered National Natural Landmark, featuring towering sandstone rock formations that have been sculpted by nature over millions of years. These formations hold cultural significance for the indigenous peoples who once inhabited the area. Today, the park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, rock climbing, and wildlife viewing, while also prioritizing conservation efforts.

Other Nature Destinations in and Near Manitou Springs

  • Rainbow Falls
  • Red Mountain
  • Fountain Creek
  • Miramont Castle/Miramont Castle Museum
  • Soda Springs Park
  • Barr Trail

Manitou Springs Mineral Springs: Health and Heritage

The Science Behind the Springs

Manitou Springs is home to eight natural mineral springs, each with its own unique composition of minerals and carbonation. These springs have been sought after for their potential health benefits for centuries.

Historical Use and Modern-Day Spa Experiences

The town’s mineral springs have attracted visitors seeking their healing properties since the late 1800s. Today, visitors can experience the Manitou mineral springs through various spa treatments, such as soaking in cedar hot tubs filled with mineral-rich water at the SunWater Spa.

Famous Manitou Mineral Springs

Manitou Springs nature is known for its famous Manitou mineral springs, which have been a central feature since the town started in the 1870s. These springs, sourced from Pikes Peak’s snowmelt, flow through limestone caves, gathering minerals along the way. This makes for high mineral content. These springs are preserved and maintained by the Mineral Springs Foundation.

  • Shoshone Spring
  • Wheeler Spring
  • Mineral Spring
  • Stratton Spring
  • Iron Spring
  • Iron Spring Geyser
  • Seven Minute Spring
  • Cheyenne Spring
  • Soda Springs
  • Navajo Spring

Wildlife and Flora: Manitou Springs’ Biodiversity

Habitats and Species Native to Manitou Springs

Manitou Springs encompasses a diverse array of habitats, including forests, meadows, and aquatic ecosystems. These habitats support a wide variety of native plant and animal species, some of which are considered endangered or threatened.

Seasonal Changes and Their Impact on Local Wildlife

As the seasons change, so do the behaviors and patterns of Manitou Springs’ wildlife. Migratory birds pass through the area during spring and fall, while other animals adapt to the changing weather conditions. Visitors can optimize their wildlife viewing experiences by understanding these seasonal patterns.

Outdoor Activities and Adventure

Hiking and Trail Exploration

Manitou Springs offers a network of hiking trails suitable for various skill levels, from leisurely nature walks to challenging mountain ascents. Popular trails include the Manitou Incline, a strenuous climb featuring 2,744 steps and a 2,000-foot elevation gain.

Safety Tips:

  • Bring plenty of water and snacks.
  • Wear appropriate footwear and clothing.
  • Be prepared for changing weather conditions.

Water-Based Recreation: Kayaking, Fishing, and More

Visitors can enjoy a range of water-based activities in and around Manitou Springs, such as kayaking and fishing. Local outfitters provide equipment rentals and guided tours, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.

Cultural and Historical Sites

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings: A Window into the Past

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are a fascinating archaeological site that offers insight into the lives of the ancient Puebloan people who once inhabited the region. Visitors can explore the well-preserved dwellings and learn about their historical and cultural significance through educational programs and guided tours.

The Historic Manitou Springs: Architecture and Landmarks

Manitou Springs boasts a rich architectural heritage, with many historic buildings and landmarks dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Visitors can explore the town’s history through guided tours or self-guided walks, learning about the stories behind these iconic structures.

Here are a few other local places to visit:

  • Miramont Castle Museum
  • Manitou Springs Penny Arcade
  • Pikes Peak Cog Railway
  • Historic Manitou Springs
  • Manitou Springs Heritage Center

Stay & Plan: Making the Most of Your Visit

Choosing the Right Accommodation

Manitou Springs offers a variety of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets, from cozy bed and breakfasts to modern hotels and camping sites. Many of these accommodations are conveniently located near the town’s main attractions and natural sites.

Itinerary Planning for All Seasons

Whether you’re visiting in the summer or winter, Manitou Springs has something to offer. Summer activities include hiking, rock climbing, and attending local festivals, while winter brings opportunities for snowshoeing and enjoying the town’s holiday charm. Be sure to check the local events calendar to make the most of your visit.

Sustainable Tourism in Manitou Springs

Manitou Springs encourages sustainable tourism practices, such as supporting local businesses, choosing eco-friendly accommodations, and participating in community-based initiatives. By embracing these practices, visitors can help preserve the town’s natural beauty and cultural heritage for future generations.


What is the best time of year to visit Manitou Springs for nature activities?

The best time to visit Manitou Springs for nature activities depends on your preferences. Summer offers warm weather and a wide range of outdoor adventures, while fall boasts stunning foliage and milder temperatures. Winter brings a unique charm to the town, with opportunities for snowshoeing and enjoying holiday events.

Are there any guided tours available to explore Manitou Springs’ natural attractions?

Yes, several local outfitters offer guided tours of Manitou Springs’ natural attractions, such as the Garden of the Gods and the mineral springs. These tours provide insight into the area’s geology, history, and ecology, enhancing your appreciation of the natural wonders.

What are the must-see natural attractions in Manitou Springs for first-time visitors?

Must-see natural attractions in Manitou Springs include the Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, and the mineral springs. These sites showcase the area’s unique geological features, stunning landscapes, and rich history, providing an unforgettable experience for first-time visitors.

Can visitors partake in any conservation efforts during their stay in Manitou Springs?

Yes, visitors can contribute to conservation efforts in Manitou Springs by practicing Leave No Trace principles, supporting local environmental organizations, and participating in volunteer opportunities, such as trail maintenance or habitat restoration projects.

What are the options for eco-friendly accommodations in Manitou Springs?

Manitou Springs offers several eco-friendly accommodation options, such as LEED-certified hotels, bed and breakfasts that prioritize sustainability, and camping sites that promote responsible outdoor practices. These accommodations often feature energy-efficient amenities, locally sourced products, and a commitment to minimizing their environmental impact.


About the author

James Ranson

I’m an editor, traveler, and fan of the great outdoors. I’ve been to all 48 continental US states, and my drives through Colorado’s rugged peaks and snowy forests (not to mention whiskey tastings in Denver!) still stand out in my memories. I’m excited to use my ten years of editing experience to develop engaging and informative guides and articles that enhance the outdoor experiences of both Colorado residents and visitors. Whether a piece is about exploring the best ski resorts, uncovering scenic trails for hiking, or finding the most inspiring drives through the Colorado Rockies, my aim is to provide comprehensive and accessible content that encourages adventure and exploration.