The Best Time To Visit Manitou Springs


This guide covers the best time to visit Manitou Springs based on weather, events, crowds, prices, and activities.

Manitou Springs is located just six miles west of Colorado Springs in Colorado. It is situated at the base of Pikes Peak, one of Colorado’s most iconic fourteeners (mountains exceeding 14,000 feet or 4,267 meters in elevation).

In this article, we’ll explore everything from epic festivals and holiday celebrations to the stunning golden foliage of fall. You’ll discover the perfect seasons to hike the Manitou Incline, tour the Cave of the Winds, or sample local wine and beer. Read on to plan your Manitou Springs getaway during the ideal weather and peak events.


  • Spring and fall are best for good weather and fewer crowds at lower prices.
  • June through August is the peak tourist season with warm weather and mountain access.
  • September and October host wine/beer festivals amidst golden fall foliage.
  • The holiday season from November to January offers festive events and decor.
  • Winter is the best time for snow sports and skiing, but some attractions are closed.

Destination Overview

Manitou Springs has been a popular tourist destination for over 150 years thanks to its mineral springs, scenic setting, and funky vibe. The town lies directly below Pikes Peak, Colorado’s iconic 14,115-foot mountain that inspired the song “America the Beautiful.”

Visitors from around the world flock to “take the waters” of Manitou’s effervescent springs. These mineral-rich waters contain healing properties that made Manitou Springs Colorado’s first resort town. The downtown area preserves its Victorian-era charm with shopping, dining, and spa experiences fueled by the springs.

Outdoor lovers are drawn to Manitou Springs for hiking trails that wind through red rock formations with panoramic Pikes Peak views. Family-friendly activities range from the steep Manitou Incline to ziplining over canyons. The town also hosts unique cultural events from coffin races to parades to film festivals.

With this blend of wellness resort culture and Rocky Mountain adventure, Manitou Springs offers an authentic Colorado experience steeped in history and natural beauty. Its events, attractions and lodging fill up fast depending on the season.

Local Experiences and Culture

Manitou Springs provides a wealth of authentic local experiences that help you discover Colorado’s history and culture. As the state’s original resort town, Manitou invites visitors to “take the waters” at its free public mineral springs that have drawn health-seekers for generations.

The downtown district along Manitou Avenue feels like stepping back in time with Victorian buildings housing local shops, galleries and restaurants. Locally-made arts, crafts and foods reflect Manitou’s funky vibe, from incense and crystals at hippie boutiques to Native American jewelry and organic eats.

Community events allow visitors to mingle with locals while celebrating Manitou culture. The summer kickoff First Friday Art Walks features gallery openings, street performances, and food vendors. One of Colorado’s wackiest traditions, the Emma Crawford Coffin Race involves costumed teams parading “Emma” through town before racing homemade coffins down Manitou Avenue.

The town also pays tribute to its Native American roots with a yearly Friendship Pow Wow honoring local tribes. Visitors can immerse themselves year-round in indigenous history at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, an archaeological museum preserving Ancestral Puebloan cliff houses.

Here are some of the best places and nearby excursions that would make fun day trips while visiting the area:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Cheyenne Spring
  • Navajo Spring
  • Cripple Creek
  • Hiawatha Gardens
  • Historic Manitou Springs
  • Pikes Peak Region
  • Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
  • Rainbow Falls
  • Colorado Springs Garden of the Gods

Weather and Seasonal Considerations

Manitou Springs weather varies dramatically throughout the year, influencing activities, crowds, and access to attractions like Pikes Peak. Elevations range from around 6,000 to 14,000 feet, so temperatures fluctuate by season.

Spring sees highs averaging 60-70°F intermixed with snow flurries through May. Wildflowers bloom as the Barr Trail up Pikes Peak opens in late May to early June. Early summer warms to the 70s with bluebird skies, making June an ideal time to visit Manitou Springs.

July and August are the warmest months, reaching 80°F on average. Afternoon mountain storms are common, bringing rain showers. Pikes Peak is most easily accessible in summer, with the cog railway and highway open.

Fall cools quickly, with September highs in the 60-70° range. October brings cold fronts with 50°F averages, though sunny days still occur. Fall foliage peaks in October, with golden aspens contrasting evergreen forests. The Barr Trail usually closes in mid-October due to winter conditions at the summit.

The winter season from November through April sees highs at or below freezing, with abundant snowfall. Most major attractions and lodging remain open, though some outdoor activities are limited. Ski areas open in late November. Pikes Peak is inaccessible until the highway and cog railway reopens in May or June.

Accommodations and Lodging

Manitou Springs offers a variety of lodging options. Historic hotels, cozy cabins, charming bed and breakfasts, and motels suit most budgets and styles. Availability fluctuates between the peak summer months and the rest of the year.

June through August lodging books up fast with higher prices as tourists flock to Manitou Springs. Cooler spring and fall have better hotel availability with lower rates. Winter is fairly slow between November and April aside from Christmas and New Year’s.

For a classic Manitou Springs stay, the Cliff House at Pikes Peak provides upscale lodging blending Victorian elegance with Rocky Mountain rustic. Budget travelers can opt for creekside cabins or motels along Manitou Avenue. Unique rentals like tipis, yurts and tiny homes also available through local companies.

Events and Festivals

Manitou Springs hosts a packed calendar of beloved annual events and festivals. From holiday celebrations to parades to races, these lively happenings reveal local traditions and culture that define the best times to visit.

The summer season kicks off with the First Friday Art Walks downtown starting in June. July features the Friendship Pow Wow honoring Native American heritage along with the Emma Crawford Coffin Races. The Labor Day Arts and Crafts Festival fills the streets with Colorado artists and makers.

Fall brings the riotously fun Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon, followed by the Emma Crawford Festival in October with a parade, hearse procession, and coffin races. Nearby Wine Country hosts the Colorado Mountain Winefest in September, along with the Fountain Creek Brews and Blues Craft Beer Festival.

The holiday season sparkles in Manitou Springs with the Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting in December. Visitors can tour the Miramont Castle, which is decorated for Victorian Christmas through January. Snowy winter days also have their charm, with events like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb held since 1916.

Outdoor Adventures and Family Activities

From heart-pumping hikes to family-friendly adventures, Manitou Springs offers countless ways to experience the outdoors. The Manitou Incline tests endurance with a steep staircase climb up the mountainside. Cog railway and highway tours to the Pikes Peak summit provide easier access with unbeatable views.

Cave of the Winds offers beginner tours of fascinating subterranean worlds that are easily navigable for all ages and abilities. For thrill-seekers, ziplining over Williams Canyon and adventure parks like the Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings will get the adrenaline pumping. The downtown arcade and penny arcades provide old-school family fun along Manitou Avenue as well.

Hiking in Manitou abounds across all seasons. The Barr Trail and Intemann Trail bring spring wildflowers and fall foliage views. Winter snowshoeing and cross country skiing can also be enjoyed on select trails. Flash flooding may impact paths along creeks during summer monsoon storms.

Transportation and Accessibility

Manitou Springs offers free parking around downtown and the main attractions. A free shuttle bus runs Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, circulating visitors between downtown Manitou Springs and the Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings.

The shuttle operates daily from 10 AM to 6 PM, with stops about every 20 minutes. Routes connect major parking lots, attractions, hotels, and shopping areas. Visitors can park once and ride between sites.

In winter months, some attractions like the Cliff Dwellings and Cave of the Winds stay open while others are seasonally closed. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway and Barr Trail only operate from late May through October depending on the weather. Winter access is restricted without proper snow vehicles.

Handicap accessibility varies across Manitou Springs. Most downtown businesses, hotels, and restaurants have wheelchair access. Select attractions like the Cave of the Winds offer handicapped tours by appointment. Unfortunately, the steep terrain limits the accessibility of sites like the Manitou Incline and some cliff-dwelling areas.

Attractions and Leisure Activities

Manitou Springs offers an array of attractions and leisure activities to enjoy year-round. The mineral springs provide relaxation through the seasons, with the public Twin Spring and Seven Minute Spring free to visit. Spa resorts like the Sunwater Spa incorporate springs into their wellness treatments, which are available in all weather.

Subterranean adventures continue even in winter at the Cave of the Winds. This fascinating cavern system provides tours taking visitors down elevators through glittering passages. Stalactite formations like the Frozen Waterfall glisten year-round in the caves’ natural air conditioning.

The Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings transport visitors back to the native peoples who once inhabited the area. Permanent structures recreate the Ancestral Puebloan cliff houses alongside Native American cultural exhibits.

The Miramont Castle presents a glimpse into Victorian aristocracy with tours showcasing its period architecture and antique furnishings. Special events like the Christmas tours create a festive ambiance against the castle’s already elegant Gothic backdrop.

Outdoor activities around Manitou Springs vary by season. Summer and fall offer optimal hiking weather to explore scenic trails. Cog railway and drive tours to the Pikes Peak summit generally run from May through early November, depending on the weather. Zipline and adventure park excursions extend into fall based on demand.


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

June and September are ideal with warm weather and fewer tourists. November through February have the lowest hotel rates but winter closures.

Does Manitou Springs have skiing nearby?

Yes, Manitou Springs offers convenient access to ski resorts like the Broadmoor’s Pikes Peak resort and the Manitou Snowshoe Trail system for cross country skiing.

When do Pikes Peak Tours operate?

The Pikes Peak highway and cog railway typically run from late May through early November, closing in winter months.

Are Manitou Springs attractions wheelchair accessible?

Some attractions, like the Cave of the Winds, offer handicapped tours. However, the terrain limits accessibility at sites like the Manitou Incline.

Does parking cost money in Manitou Springs?

No, Manitou Springs offers ample free public parking lots and street parking. A free shuttle connects downtown and attractions from Memorial Day through Labor Day.


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.