There are so many fun things to do in Colorado Springs with kids during the summer! From hiking to mountain biking, fishing, and white-water rafting, you’ll never run out of adventures. Families with kids of all ages can fill their days with some of the best warm-weather attractions in town. Enjoy kayaking on the Arkansas River, immerse yourself in history at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, and say hi to adorable animals at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Regardless of which vacation you’re searching for, you’re guaranteed to find it with a little preparation and research. So, if you’re planning to visit Colorado Springs in the summer, you’ve come to the right place. Our list covers some of the best parent-approved attractions in town and beyond, perfect for compiling your next itinerary. Keep reading for our list of 13 Adventurous Things to Do in Colorado Springs Kids Will Love!
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Spend an Afternoon at the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center
Don’t leave without visiting the Garden of the Gods! Perfect for a tranquil afternoon with kids, this is one of the best free things to do in Colorado Springs with kids in the summer. Drive through the park in a loop or take a hike on one of the kid-friendly trails to see the park’s stunning selection of red rock. Trails for all skill levels include the Perkins Central Garden Trail, a one-and-a-half-mile hike that’s both wheelchair and stroller accessible. If you want to see more of the area, the Visitor’s Center is very helpful in giving guests assistance. Families can also go on guided electric bike tours, provided by Amp’d Adventures. Or, try horseback riding through the park with Academy Riding Stables. Secure a permit and you can even go rock climbing! No matter how you spend it, your day at Garden of the Gods will be unforgettable.
If you have extra time while visiting Garden of the Gods, you can also visit the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, which will be like a blast from the past. Kids will love the historical interpreters and people dressed in period era clothing. There’s also a ton of farm animals like chickens, sheep, cows and horses to pet!
Try Outdoor Rock Climbing
Outdoor rock climbing is a must in Colorado Springs, as the area is home to some of the most challenging rock formations in the world. Families can purchase a permit and go rock climbing at Garden of The Gods. Grab a map from the Visitor’s Center or let little ones learn to climb with a guide! Red Rock Canyon Open Space allows rock climbing on the East and West Canyon Walls, which has similar permit regulations. North Cheyenne Cañon near Silver Cascade Falls also has climbing opportunities, but they’re a little steeper. Families can also visit Palmer Park, where you can climb over the rocky areas or eat a picnic lunch. If you’re not feeling outdoorsy but still want to rock climb, head to City Rock in downtown Colorado Springs. There are classes for all abilities, a toddler room for little ones rock climb, and a bar for parents.
Hiking is one of the best things to do in Colorado Springs with kids in the summer. With stunning rock formations across the city, there’s a trail for every type of traveler. The Pulpit Rock Loop is easy for smaller kids, as it circles around the perimeter up to Pulpit Rock and then back down. There are also longer trails nearby to extend your walk! Red Rock Canyon Open Space also offers a variety of trails winding along gorgeous canyons and red rock ridges. Try the Mesa, Greenlee, and Red Rock Canyon Trail. Just south of Colorado Springs, Cheyenne Mountain State Park showcases over 2,700 acres and 20 miles of hiking and biking trails. Some easy trails here include the 1.1-mile Zook Loop, the 1.6-mile Coyote Run Loop Trail, and the 3.7-mile Sundance Loop. Enjoy beautiful views of the mountains as you pass through wildflower-filled prairies.
Say Hi to Animals at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Families can’t forget about visiting The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, one of the best things to do in Colorado Springs with kids in the summer! Nestled on a beautiful mountainside, this family-friendly destination will impress animal lovers of all ages. Popular exhibits like “Encounter Africa” showcase a ton of exotic animals, like lions, elephants, and more. Kids will also love “Water’s Edge: Africa,” with hippos and penguins! Feedings are also available for certain animals. Expect close encounters with giraffes, turtles, goats, and other adorable creatures! Afterward, ride the zoo’s Historic Carousel and enjoy the incredible view. While an extra fee applies, we also suggest soaring above Colorado Springs’ incredible scenery on a Mountaineer Sky Ride. It might take some effort to navigate this sprawling property, but it’ll be well worth it. For elderly family members or tired little ones, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo also provides a shuttle to get around.
Fish at the Rampart Reservoir
A vacation in Colorado is incomplete without visiting the Rampart Reservoir. Located in Pike National Forest northwest of Colorado Springs, this kid-friendly destination is a popular place among locals to fish, camp, or go mountain biking and hiking. With gorgeous views of nearby Pikes Peak, it’s also a scenic location for flat-water kayaking and canoeing. Fishers will love how the reservoir is stocked with bait. Before you settle in, take a hike to see the area. The Rampart Reservoir Trail, beginning on the west side of the lake, continues in a loop for 13 miles. It’s easy to just walk a portion of the trail, or even go mountain biking. The Rampart Reservoir Boat Ramp is located on the east side, providing families with a chance to use motorized and non-motorized boats for a small fee. It’s also perfect for bird or wildlife spotting. Bring a picnic lunch!
Adventure Through the Cave of the Winds Mountain Park
Enjoy family fun at The Cave Of The Winds Mountain Park! Situated west of Colorado Springs near the Manitou Cliff Dwellings, this multi-complex has a cave, a challenge course, and more adventure opportunities for children of all ages. To see the cave, we recommend the hour-long Discovery Tour since you can explore them briefly while a guide provides an educational experience. Older kids may be more interested in the Haunted Lantern Tour, where you can explore dark tunnels, curving passageways, and spooky stairs. Your guide will cover ghost stories and creepy tales of Colorado’s past. Other activities include a challenge course, ziplining, and even the Bat-a-pault, a fun aerial ride that soars above the Williams Canyon. Adventurous kids who are really up for a thrill can challenge themselves on the Terror-dactyl, which sits at the edge of a 100-foot cliff and launches you into the canon. There’s also a cafe.
Immerse Yourself in History at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings
Immerse your family in Colorado history at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. Just west of Colorado Springs, these Puebloan dwellings are located in Manitou Springs. Though you can visit them without any prior knowledge, we recommend familiarizing yourself with the history so you can help your kids better understand their significance. These cliff dwellings highlight the lives of the Anasazi people, which you can learn more about at the on-site museum. Another cool part about exploring here is that you can actually walk up to and through the dwellings to get a good look at them. Kids will also appreciate the fact that they can touch them as much as they want! While it’s a great place to visit, it probably won’t take you more than an hour. Maximize your time by planning an excursion to another Colorado Springs attraction, like the Garden of the Gods.
Travel Up Pikes Peak
Don’t hesitate to visit Pikes Peak! Located west of Colorado Springs, there are three ways to explore this mountain. Firstly, drive to the summit on the Pikes Peak Summit Highway. It’s 19-miles with lots of twists and turns, but should be fine for experienced drivers. Or, take the Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway from the Cog Railway Depot in Manitou Springs. This hour-long route takes you through Pikes National Forest, along Ruxton Creek, by Diamond Rock, within Engelmann Canyon, and past Deer Park. Parents can appreciate the expansive scenery while kids spot elk, deer, bighorn sheep, and other wildlife! Dress warmly, the elevation makes it chillier at the top. Enjoy the view, then head to the Summit House, a visitor’s center, to learn more about the mountain. Families can also hike up and down Pikes Peak, but be warned – this isn’t for beginners!
Pro Tip: We suggest doing a lot of research before hiking up the Barr Trail to Pikes Peak. It’s recommended for only very experienced hikers and is best used between May and October. The peak also is quite stormy, so it’s best to start visits or hikes early in the day.
Climb to the Broadmoor Seven Falls
See Colorado Springs from a new perspective at the Broadmoor Seven Falls. Located in South Cheyenne Canon, this series of seven cascading waterfalls is a popular tourist attraction. Since it’s man-made, it may not be as pretty as other natural attractions in Colorado, but we still think it’s worth the visit. To reach the falls, you’ll have to walk up two sets of stairs (there’s also an elevator available for the first half) and then walk briefly along the trail. It could get a little steep for younger children, but most ages should be fine walking up. Along the way, you can take in views of verdant valleys, unique rock formations, and golden prairies before you reach the shimmering banks. As one of the best things to do in Colorado Springs with kids in the summer, there are also activities such as zip-lining are also available in the area.
Head to Helen Hunt Falls
Save time to see the beauty of Helen Hunt Falls on your Colorado vacation. Located in North Cheyenne Canon Park just off North Cheyenne Canyon Road, this 35-foot waterfall is a lovely sight. To reach it, drive through North Cheyenne Canyon and then hike up for an even better view. Luckily, if you’re traveling with small children, you’ll be pleased to know the walk to reach the falls isn’t too far from the Helen Hunt Falls Visitor Center. (Ask for the coloring pages to keep little ones entertained!) Kids will love meandering through the trail and cooling down in the various streams and brooks along the way. Keep an eye out for ponderosa bark, which you can scratch and sniff to reveal the sweet aroma of butterscotch or orange creamsicle. If you want to see a second waterfall, hike a little further (less than 0.5-miles) to Silver Cascade Falls.
Stroll Through the Broadmoor
You don’t have to stay at The Broadmoor to experience its incredible property. Located in Colorado Springs’ Old Broadmoor neighborhood, strolling through this sprawling resort is one of the best things to do in Colorado Springs with kids in the summer. You’ll feel like you’re traveling back in time as you walk through this historic hotel on the banks of Lake Cheyenne, since it’s been open for over 100 years! It features many winding paths and beautifully manicured gardens, with a flowing fountain as the centerpiece. Save an hour or two to take a long walk through the property with your kids and you can turn it into a brief history lesson. (Not to mention they’ll burn some energy too.) Parents can grab a drink at the bar. If the weather is nice, golfers can even visit The Broadmoor Golf Club for an extra fee.
Take A Hot Air Balloon Ride
See Colorado Springs from above on a hot air balloon ride! With an incredibly scenic landscape, this is the perfect activity to enjoy this summer. Tours offered through companies such as Viator include a Sunrise Tour, where you can start your day in style on a hot air balloon. Kids will get a hands-on experience during the process, as you help inflate the huge balloon for your ride. Along the way, keep an eye out as you pass over Colorado Springs attractions like Pikes Peak, the Garden of the Gods, etc. It’s a special way to commemorate a family vacation and see the city, all while watching a gorgeous sunrise! Once your trip is over, you’ll be treated to a light breakfast and some champagne for parents. Other local companies slightly outside of Colorado Springs also offer various hot air balloon packages, like Rainbow Ryders or Adventures Out West.
Pro Tip: Every year around Labor Day, Colorado Springs also hosts the famous “Lift Off and Glow Festival,” where families can watch glittering hot air balloons drift through the night sky above Memorial Park.
Where to Stay in Colorado Springs with Kids
Families will find plenty of places to stay in Colorado Springs. Nestled on the shores of Cheyenne Lake, you can’t go wrong with the iconic Broadmoor, which has summer activities for all ages. For a cozier accommodation, try the Cheyenne Mountain Colorado Springs, A Dolce Resort, located on a private lake. If you want to stay inside a private country club near the best sights in town, you’ll like the Gardens of the Gods Resort and Club. Kids will surely have a blast during your stay at the Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs, which has its very own waterpark! You could also book a stay at Hotel Elegante Conference & Event Center, which has indoor and outdoor pools, plus a jungle gym for kiddos.
RELATED ARTICLE: 7 Hotels in Colorado Springs that Families Will Love
We hope you liked this list of 13 Adventurous Things to Do in Colorado Springs Kids Will Love! Whether you want to hike, bike, or hit the water, we know you’ll love visiting this stunning Colorado destination. Enjoy Colorado Springs with your kids!
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision.
*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.
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