Fun Things to Do In Colorado Springs in the Winter

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Pikes Peak Winter
A trip to see Pikes Peak is a must-see in Colorado Springs in winter. Photo credit: Pixabay

If you think Colorado’s just for skiers in the winter, think again. Colorado Springs and the surrounding Pikes Peak region boast some of the mildest winters in the state. That means there are plenty of fun things to do in Colorado Springs in the winter beyond skiing, whether you’re looking for outdoor activities to holiday-themed adventures.

Located just 90 minutes south of Denver and part of the Front Range Urban Corridor, the “Springs” (as locals call it) is the perfect year-round day trip from the Mile High City or a weekend getaway.

A sampling of winter activities in Colorado Springs includes hiking or horseback riding in Garden of the Gods, train rides on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway or the Royal Gorge Route Railroad to exploring caves or museums.

Are you ready to experience all the things to do in Colorado Springs in the winter?

Garden of the Gods Pikes Peak, one of the fun things to do in Colorado Springs in the winter
A winter road trip adventure to Colorado Springs should include a stop at Garden of the Gods to see the snow lightly dust the majestic rock formations. Photo credit: Pikes Peak Region Attractions

Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center

Perhaps the most popular stop on your Colorado Springs winter adventure is visiting the Garden of the Gods. It truly is a winter wonderland – and admission is always free. Formed millions of years ago, the park’s famous red rocks are a colorful combination of red, pink and white sandstone and limestone. It’s definitely a place you should add to your Colorado bucket list!

You could spend all day at the Garden of the Gods Park with all the things to do in the winter. Here are a few suggestions:

  • First, stop at the interactive Garden of the Gods Nature Center to get the scoop on things to do in the park.
  • Put on your hiking shoes and take in the magnificent sights on one of the hiking trails.
  • Consider a heated jeep tour to accommodate those less-ambulatory family members.
  • Enjoy the views from the saddle by exploring the Garden of the Gods via horseback riding.
  • For the more adventurous, check off your bucket list with winter rock climbing in the Garden of the Gods!
Visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in the winter at night during Electric Safari, Photo credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in the winter at night during Electric Safari. Photo credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Any Colorado Springs getaway should include a visit to the highest-altitude zoo in the United States.

It’s open year-round and each visit to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo brings a unique experience. Here is a sampling of the things to do in the winter:

  • Channel your inner skier with a bird’s eye view of Colorado Springs on the Mountaineer Sky Ride, a chair-lift style, open-air ride.
  • Feed the elephants AND the giraffes. There’s just something about feeding these long-necked and rough-tongued animals that bring belly laughs to all ages.
  • Celebrate the winter in December as the zoo presents 24 nights of Christmas lights and cheer during Electric Safari with 85 light sculptures over 50 acres.
  • Learn about the endangered Mexican wolf pack, another unique experience at the zoo.
  • Add a “Wild Night” to your Colorado Springs getaway. It’s a sleepover program including dinner, a guided evening tour, up-close animal encounters including giraffe feeding and wake up to a guided morning tour to the Zoo!

SheBuysTravel Tip: Don’t let the snow cancel your visit to the zoo; staff will tell you these days are often the most magical. Admission is discounted and fewer crowds equal more individual attention! Even better, many animals (mountain lions, Canada lynx and river otters) prefer the cold so they are more active in the winter.

Read More: Where to find the best zoos in the US

The Broadmoor Seven Falls

Located 15 minutes from the zoo and less than one mile from The Broadmoor Resort (one of our favorite Colorado Springs resorts), the privately-owned Broadmoor Seven Falls is Colorado’s only waterfall on National Geographic’s list of International Waterfalls.

Park at The Broadmoor’s east parking lot and take one of the free wheelchair-accessible shuttles to and from the gate at Seven Falls.

Known as “The Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado,” this natural wonder consists of a series of seven cascading waterfalls set at the end of a narrow red-rock canyon at the foot of Cheyenne Mountain. In the winter, these falls may be frozen but still incredibly beautiful.

  • To get to the falls, climb the challenging 224 steps to the hiking trails and the 181-foot plunging waterfall. Those with mobility issues can take the built-into-the-mountain elevator to the viewing area.
  • Visit the waterfalls at night at 5:30 when more than 100,000 lights illuminate the path leading to the Falls.
  • Depending on the weather, take a hike in the winter on one of two hiking trails to cater to different skill levels. Bring layers of clothes and sturdy shoes.
  • Seven Falls is open year-round, with winter hours abbreviated to Friday through Sunday.
Royal Gorge Bridge is the highest suspension bridge in America, suspended high above the Arkansas River.
Located in the Pikes Peak region, the Royal Gorge Bridge is the highest suspension bridge in America, suspended high above the Arkansas River. Photo credit: Royal Gorge Bridge

Royal Gorge Bridge and Park

As part of the Pikes Peak region, add a road trip to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park in nearby Canon City, less than an hour’s drive away. Known as the “Grand Canyon of the Arkansas,” it’s a mini-theme park with rides and attractions.

Stretching 1,270 feet in length and 18 feet wide, the Royal Gorge Bridge is the highest suspension bridge in America. Suspended high above Colorado’s wild Arkansas River, the view is astounding – and a little bit scary. (So scary that Papa won’t walk on or across the bridge to the other side due to his height phobia.)

  • For a stunning view of the Royal Gorge and Arkansas River below, take the Aerial Gondola to the other side. Open year-round, weather permitting.
  • Visit from mid-November through New Year’s Eve to see the first-ever drive-thru Bridge of Lights.
  • There’s more fun for kids at Tommy Knocker Playland featuring ropes, slides, nets, tunnels and 20-foot towers. Open year-round, weather permitting.
  • Or for a true adrenalin rush, ride the Cloudscraper Zip Line back over the canyon from mid-March through the end of the year.

All Aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad

One of many not-to-miss things to do in Colorado Springs in the winter is to ride the Royal Gorge Route Railroad in Canon City. The train ride will take you underneath the Royal Gorge Bridge and besides the Arkansas River.

  • Kids of all ages love the train experience on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. My granddaughter loved hanging out with her new “best friend” outside in the open car and checking out the amazing views – especially with a light snow falling.
  • The holiday-themed Santa Express is a perfect winter attraction. My husband and I love the dinner train, especially when it’s a Murder Mystery theme.
Pikes Peak highway in Winter
On the way to the top, Pikes Peak highway features photo-worthy stops. Photo Credit: Pikes Peak Region Attractions

Pikes Peak

At 14,115 feet high, Pikes Peak, America’s Mountain, is open year-round. The surrounding mountain landscape is equally as spectacular in the winter.

  • Driving Pikes Peak highway offers frequent photo-worthy spots.
  • Enjoy a hike even in the winter, but wear a hat as the wind can be chilling.
  • Wildlife sightings also present great photo opportunities.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Don’t miss binging on the Rocky Mountain donuts at the summit while taking in the breathtaking views.

See Santa on the North Pole Pikes Peak train
Located on the way to Pikes Peak, kids will love a stop at the North Pole to see Santa. Photo credit: North Pole

North Pole Santa’s Workshop

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. Get ready to make your kid’s dreams come true with all the fun things to do at North Pole Santa’s Workshop.  This amusement park is located on U.S. Route 24, west of Colorado Springs at the entrance to the Pikes Peak Highway.

  • Enjoy more than two dozen rides. From infants to seniors, there’s a ride for everyone, including carousel, Christmas tree, boat ride, Ferris sheel, Granny Bug, motorcycles, Tilt-o-Whirl and more.
  • Take in a show with Elmer the Elf.
  • Sweet treats include ice cream and funnel cakes.
  • Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate.
  • Visit with Santa Claus.
The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Sit back and relax while riding The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway to the top. Photo credit: Pikes Peak Regions Attractions

The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Skip the drive and ride in comfort via The Broadmoor and Manitou Cog Railway. While Pikes Peak America’s Mountain is your ultimate destination, the 3.5 hour round-trip train ride gifts the traveler with eye-popping scenery along the way.

Downtown Colorado Springs

When the winter weather keeps you from outdoor adventures, start your visit in the downtown area, a perfect getaway when the winter weather doesn’t cooperate.

The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is located in the former courthouse, with a glimpse of a restored 1903 courtroom.  Browse a sampling of historic artifacts from the Pikes Peak area including guns, mining equipment and household items. Admission is free! Guided tours are available on Saturdays.

  • Another admission-free museum is the McAllister House Museum, built in 1873 and one of the Springs’ historic landmarks. Enjoy a first-hand look at life in a wealthy 19th-century household.
  • Continue your historic exploration a few blocks away with a visit to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.  Its 15 galleries showcase permanent Southwestern collections including one of my favorite artists, Georgia O’Keeffe, among others, as well as traveling exhibits. Museum admission is free.
  • The Colorado Springs Fine Art Center also includes an opportunity to add a night at the theater with ever-changing shows and events. Theater tickets vary in price.
  • East of downtown, stop at the U.S. Olympic Training Center to watch the athletes train. Hourly tours start with a film on Olympic history.
  • Winter sports are highlighted at the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame Museum, celebrating the history of ice skating.

More Fun Things to Do in Colorado Springs in the Winter

Go underground at Cave of the Winds Mountain Park. Featuring three unique cave tours, caves are the same temperature all year round.

  • Located nearby, tour the Manitou Cliff Dwellings with its replica Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and interpretive exhibit.
  • Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, a sanctuary for wolves and wolf-hybrids, offering educational tours.
  • Just west of Colorado Springs, take the family to Mueller State Park to enjoy multiple winter activities including cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, tubing and snowboarding. This is also a popular wildlife area, sightings include elk, mule deer and hawks. Before heading out, check for current snow conditions on their website.
  • One of the biggest attractions in Colorado Springs is the U.S. Air Force Academy, 12 miles north of downtown. Visitors can take self-guided tours starting at Visitor Center. The highlight is the Cadet Chapel. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you might even see cadets drilling or

What is the Winter Weather like in Colorado Springs?

You might be surprised that it’s not all freezing temps and snowstorms. Besides, winter doesn’t keep Coloradoans inside – it pushes them outside! We have a saying here in Colorado: “If you don’t like the weather, wait a day. Or a few hours.”

As a more-than-30-year resident, I’ve always said that our weather is bipolar. I experienced a blizzard on one day, and then the following day, 40-plus degree temperatures with mounds of melting snow.

And that’s true in Colorado Springs too.

The average snowfall is only 5.5 inches per month with average highs of 43 degrees Fahrenheit and lows at 22 degrees (in Celsius, that’s hihghs around 6 and lows around -5.5). During the winter months, I’ve personally experienced highs in the 60s in the Springs. With its abundance of sunshine, snow typically melts quickly.

SheBuysTravel Tip: When visiting Colorado Springs in the winter, the weather can turn on a dime, so layers and sunscreen (even in winter)  are essential. Take the worry out of your Rocky Mountain vacation with our Colorado packing list.

For more than 20 years, Denver-based freelance writer Diana Rowe has specialized in travel, family, and multigenerational family travel — and rightly so, with 10 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. She writes for multiple publications including and, and her own blogs: &
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