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Manitou Springs - Colorado

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Manitou Springs - Under Pike's Peak

This longtime resort town is located just west of the larger city of Colorado Springs. The springs referred to in both place names are actually in Manitou Springs, at the foot of Pike's Peak. The area has been an attraction for visitors since the day Zebulon Pike spotted his namesake peak in 1806.

The real boom happened in 1859 when gold was discovered in Central City (to the north) and the hot springs here generated a spa resort, bringing America's wealthy to "take the waters.". There are 26 springs which still bubble and feed pools. The town has a National Historic District and a collection of antique and curio stores, hotels and restaurants.

Pike's Peak

Most of the excitement in Manitou Springs is based on Pike's Peak tourism. The Manitou and Pike's Peak Cog Railway takes you to the Pike's Peak summit. (el. 14,110 feet). Originally powered by steam engines from its founding on 1891, the railroad now operates with diesel power It offers a painless way to get to the top of Pike's Peak and trains leave regularly from the depot on Ruxton Avenue. Passing through aspen groves at the lower levels, the train passes the timberline with wonderful views of the valley below as the cars complete their climb up the slope. The round trip takes just over three hours. The train runs from mid May through October.

The other way to get to the top of Pike's Peak is by the Pike's Peak Highway, a 38 mile round trip which climbs nearly 7,000 feet and offers spectacular views of the Continental Divide and the surrounding countryside. The first seven miles of the road are paved. Opened in 1916, the toll road is open from May through October and is reached by taking Highway 24 northwest from Manitou Springs. Drivers should be reminded that this road is steep and engines can overheat. The road is patrolled in case help is required. There is a restaurant as well as a gift shop at the summit.

Other Things to See & Do

The Public Swimming Pool is an indoor pool which is open year-round at 202 Manitou Ave.

The old Manitou Spa is a bed and breakfast hotel with a spa program. A popular attraction in Manitou Springs, the Miramont Castle is a wild, eccentric, rambling structure built by Father Jean Baptiste Francolon for his mother in 1895. It was later a sanitarium and also an apartment complex. Its architecture is varied to say the least, ranging from Byzantine to Victorian, and in the 46 rooms are displays of everything under the sun. The castle is now on the National Register of Historic Places and has been a museum since the late 1970s. Admission is charged.

Where to Stay -- Hotel Guide

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