We took the world highest Cog railway and were surprised to sit in "our" old Gornergrat cog railway in Zermatt. Don't forget to make reservation at least 1 day ahead. The $ 26.-- are well worth the price. You will enjoy wonderful 360° panoramic views at the 14'110 foot summit.
Even on a sunny day it can get cold up there especially if the wind blows hard. When we were there in June we had only about 28 degrees F and this was rather too cold to stay outside in shorts!
Manitou Cliff Dwellings is a wonderful place to experience the architecture of the ancient Anasazi. It is a rather small place so half a day is enough time to see it.
It's open year round, June, July + August 9 am to 8 pm, May and September 9 am to 6 pm, October - April 9 am to 5 pm.
A large cave with many stalagmites and stalactites can be seen on a guided tour for $ 15.-- which lasts about 3/4 of an hour. We haven't had to wait for a long time but may be in high season the queue will be long.
The caves are open year round, summer 9 am to 9 pm, winter 10 am to 5 pm.
The cliff dwellings at Manitou Springs have long been a favored destination for tourists. They are in a very accessible location, so close to Colorado Springs, and easily visited with little climbing or effort involved. So - if your goal is an introduction to the life of the Anasazi (The Ancient Ones) and other lost cliff dwelling tribes, this is a good place to start. This is especially true if you're traveling with children and don't want to get far off the tourist track to see a cliff dwelling.
However, if you have seen sites such as Mesa Verde National Park or Bandolier, you will be a little disappointed. Manitou Cliff Dwellings shows poorly disguised signs of recent renovation, lots of sidewalks for the tourists, and is very commercialized.
For further photos, see my travelogues for the cliff dwellings.
You get the best views from Eagle's Nest, after climbing 185 steps. Okay there is also an elevator....
The falls are pretty small but nice to look at.
You can also walk up 224 steps along the falls (and there is no elevator). To hike to the midnight fall will take you another 20 min. This hike leads through a wonderful forest where you can hear and observe many birds.
Seven Falls is open year round.
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
Manitou, Colorado - At the Foot of Pikes Peak
A private sector owned cliff dwellings and museum preserved under a red sandstone overhang, is an authentic Anasazi cliff dwelling that was built over 700 years ago. (1200 BC - AD 1300) Next to the dwellings is a 3-story Pueblo that houses the museum and gift shop. A bit commercialized, as one would expect by a private sector owned site, but it houses lots of history, artifacts, and ruins. Very informative. Some Indian tribal descendants periodical come to do Indian Dances as they performed this date I visited - very empowering and entertaining. (even though its touristy) I give this site a 4 stars out of 5 for a "tourist" stop, if rated with state and federal parks, it would be a 3 star.
This is one of the spectacular festivals that makes Manitou Springs sorta-unique especially as a place where people can be strange, different, and freakish. It definitely rhymes in with the "Keep Manitou Weird" campaign that's been going around for a few years. Of course, Colorado has at least two of these wacky Coffin Races, the other being the "Frozen Dead Guy Days" in Nederlands, Colorado. Every October, on Manitou Avenue, in the town's National Historic District, thousands gather to watch push-cart coffins be raced down the avenue in honor and memory of the late Emma Crawford. Emma Crawford moved to Manitou Springs as did many to partake of the healing mineral springs that were a known cure for tuberculosis that she was suffering from. However, the summer of 1890 she died just as she was about to marry an engineer named Mr. Hildebrand of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. She wanted to be buried atop Red Mountain, and even though the city did not approve it, Mr. Hildebrand and eleven other men carried her coffin to the top of the Red Mountain and laid her to rest there at the 7200 foot Summit. 1929 storms eroded the granite holding her coffin and her remains were washed down the side of Red Mountain. Some say her coffin went racing down the roads. She was reburied in the Manitou Springs Cemetery in an unmarked grave. An official grave was dedicated to her in 2004. Coffin Races were established in her honor to keep her story alive. At 12 o'clock, someone is dressed up as Emma to judge the races. Everyone dresses up ghoulishly, festivities take place all over town, and thousands gather to watch the races. Teams push-carting their coffin hosting a "Emma" within race up and down Manitou Ave. Parading of costumes and coffins, The Hearse Con from Denver come down and do a Hearse parade as well. So too come the Ghostbusters. It's a great affair and a fabulous time! Arrive early to grant parking. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
Ever want to gasp for air, become exhausted with little effort? No? Then don't go to Pikes Peak. It's one of only two mountains in the U.S. over 14,000 feet (2600 meters) that have 'easy' ways to the top. You can drive (toll road) - about 1-1 1/2 hours; you can take the cogwheel train - about 1 hr 15 min; or you can walk 16 hours. Regardless, you'll literally have your breath taken away. We took the train (see my Cog Rail tip).
Located atop a ridge, the Cave of the Winds is a nice place to visit. You'll climb nearly 500 feet (180 meters), by car to reach the modern entrance. The trails are well managed and easy to walk. There's just over 200 steps (up and down) inside the cave. Hand rails help and when we went (summer) it was all dry.
There were several kids on the tour (i'd say the youngest was 3, not counting the baby being carried.) They had a great time. Their dad kept them towards the back, so they could look at things closer as they went. The previous tour was mostly teens and pre-teens. The guide was still in shock from the energy of that group. it was a great tour.
Be sure to visit the Cliff dwellings and tour the museum. Take time to read the info on the self guided tour sheet that is given to you as you enter the gate. Allow about 2-3 hours for this activity. This is a great treat for children as well as adults.
I recommend not to be afraid and try water from mineral springs located in the downtown of Manitou Springs. Springs were restored after the Mineral Springs Foundation was organized in 1987 and safe to drink.
Unfortunately now people don’t know much about the healing effect of mineral waters, so when they see me drinking from the spring and even bottling the water they grow with a surprise. But let me tell you this: in Ukraine, where I was born, we have the same resort in Carpathian Mountains and people pay to drink mineral water, or pay for bottled water. In Manitou Springs I can get it for free, and I rarely loose such opportunity. This is what I advise you to do.
Stratton spring on the picture is my favorite, I think, because of the girl sculpture but not the quality of spring’s water.
Take a picture in old time photography style. They shop has photos examples in its windows, so you may see how other people look like, then pick up the costume you want, and look like you were born in 1800s.
We didn’t go to tearoom, however, I heard some good overviews about it. Possibly, it is really worth to try. Refer to Castle’s web site where you can find tearoom’s menu and price list.
11 am to 4 pm, Tue – Sat, closed Sunday and Monday.
Former Miramont Castle’s basement now is occupied by The International Museum of Miniatures. It is more as a collection of small toys for children designed in different styles of different times, countries and families. There miniatures that show Taiwan, Japan, Spain, France, England. Also there are many miniatures about day-to-day life of people.
If you look at the picture, you will see the inside of a house. Imagine, the lady doll is like a half of my finger, and my fingers are not so large.
Priest’s mother, Marie Francolon had three rooms for herself in the Castle: dressing room, bathroom, and bedroom. In her bedroom there is a picture on the wall with the bed that she brought from France when she came. It belonged to Empress Josephine.