After attending a wonderful wedding weekend in Denver, my wife Fern and I extended our trip with a one hour drive to Colorado Springs, Colorado. We were rewarded by our initial excursion to Colorado Springs with stunning panoramic scenery throughout our two day stay.

Our highlights:

Garden of the Gods Park: The rustic beauty of this free city park at the base of Pikes Peak rivals views of national parks.  We drove by towering red rock sandstone formations and walked on one of many easy paved trails.  From the terrace of the visitor center, we had a majestic view of Pikes Peak and the surrounding rugged mountains.  Thanks to erosion there are numerous rock formations that are easily identified by what they look like to the naked eye (such as the two kissing camels) and fun to photograph (like the huge balanced rock that sits on a much smaller rock).

Seven Falls: A majestic series of seven distinct falls cascade down a very steep canyon.  The experience begins as a free shuttle took us from the Broadmoor part way up the canyon.  Beyond the entrance gate, we then walked up a gradually ascending trail through the canyon.  Large red rock formations were on one side of the trail and the cascading streams from the falls meandered along the other side.  To achieve a spectacular view of the top of the falls, we climbed a 224 step stairway alongside the upper portion of the falls.  Seven falls is justifiably promoted as Colorado’s grandest mile.

The Broadmoor: This is an amazing grand historic hotel resort which reminded us of elegant European palaces like Versailles, with its picturesque manicured gardens, beautiful water features between the buildings and extensive artwork of the west.  With a spectacular mountain backdrop, the hotel property just exudes luxury.  We enjoyed an excellent and reasonably priced multi-course dinner in the Italian Restaurant (Ristorante del Lago), one of ten restaurants on the property.  As we strolled around the hotel, we viewed various displays from its past, including a picture gallery of famous hotel guests,  menus from years past and miscellaneous hotel-related items dating back almost 100 years.

Our lodging:

Cheyenne Mountain Resort: Although not as grand as the Broadmoor, we were extremely satisfied with our stay.  The resort property is expansive and includes a lovely golf course, a lake with a sandy beach, an outdoor pool with a hot tub, a spa, tennis courts, restaurants and a superb fitness center.  Guest rooms and the restaurants have wonderful mountain views.

A final note:

Homeless in the Springs: We were surprised by the number of homeless living just a few miles away from the luxurious resorts. At a quick stop at a fast food restaurant, the manager informed us that he intentionally kept the restaurant cold so that homeless would not stay inside for long.  Certainly this experience caused us to wonder at the stark contrast of the life styles of the Colorado Springs homeless population in contrast to the tourists enjoying the high end amenities nearby.

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