Colorado Resort Adventure Guide

South Central Region
Manitou Springs, CO

by Tom Stockman
Welcome to Manitou Springs, Colorado.

Historic Manitou Springs is nestled against the foot of Pike's Peak, in the foothills of Colorado's Rocky Mountains. It was the first resort destination town for tourism in Colorado.

Rich in history, Manitou Springs is one of the West's largest historic districts, showcasing the Victorian days of the Old West.

The area of Manitou Springs has many naturally carbonated mineral springs, and was a sacred place to many Native Americans. Before development by white man who bottled the water as a health tonic, rumblings could be heard deep in the ground as the gases and soda water boiled up from the depths. The Indian tribes of yester-year found the waters a perfect tonic for many health conditions, especially digestive problems caused by their poor diet.

The Victorian influence on Manitou Springs shows in the 7 Minute Gazebo.

Reports of the healing qualities of the waters reached many back east, and early developers General William J. Palmer (founder of Colorado Springs) and Dr. William A. Bell had visions of resorts, hotels, and tourists, and created Colorado's first resort destination.

General Palmer named it "Manitou Springs" after an Indian figure in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "Hiawatha".

Manitou Springs shares the rich tourism heritage of nearby Colorado Springs. Many of the original springs still flow with the waters the town is named for, and available for the public to sample the naturally carbonated mineral water. Seven different springs in the heart of Manitou Springs are open, and available for the public to sample the famous waters.

Today, the downtown district of Manitou Springs is crowded with specialty shops, craftsmen, artists, jewelry silversmiths, restaurants, hotels & motels, galleries, bed and breakfasts, green parks, melodrama and dinner theatre, an old-fashioned arcade strip, and numerous nearby activities & attractions.

Fall colors grace Manitou Springs along the downtown strip.

Local and nearby attractions include:
- Garden Of The Gods
- Pikes Peak Cog Railway
- Cave Of The Winds
- free Concert In The Park program
- Pikes Peak Highway
- Manitou Cliff Dwellings & Museum
- Seven Falls
- Garden Of The Gods Trading Post
- Miramont Castle
- Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
- Will Rogers Shrine Of The Sun
- Van Briggle Pottery

Manitou Springs also has a flavor of the U.S.'s more recent past, with many historic motels reminiscent of the earlier days of American automobile tourism of the 50's and 60's. And a downtown arcade & outdoor shopping area.

A visit has something for everyone. Quick access to the spectacular attractions of the Pikes Peak region, natural wonders and beauty, shopping, dining, the arts, and of course its famous mineral waters. Its reputation as a premier tourist destination is well-deserved, and Manitou Springs deserves to be on anyone's vacation list.

  • Directions: From I-25 in Colorado Springs, take US-24 (exit 141) west 4 miles to the Manitou Ave
    (Manitou Springs) exit, and go west on Manitou Ave.

Photos by Tom Stockman, used by permission.

Back to Attractions List
Browse Previous Page or Next Page