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The Best of Colorado Springs

Program Number: 17740RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/19/2014 - 7/24/2014;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Price starting at: $1,249.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Signature Cities Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    

Nestled in the shadow of 14,110-foot Pikes Peak sits an American city rich in Old West history and geological magnificence. Join local experts and historians in Colorado Springs as they spin the tale of this city’s past from ancient times to our own. Visit significant sites like the Broadmoor Hotel, Glen Erie Castle and U.S. Air Force Academy, and learn about geologic history at a true natural wonder, the Garden of the Gods.


• With local experts take the historic Cog Railway to the summit of 14,110-foot Pikes Peak and experience the view that inspired “America the Beautiful.”
• Journey through the amazing, 1,200-foot-deep Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River, then cross over the gorge on the world’s highest suspension bridge.
• Delight in the preserved Victorian architecture of the historic mining town of Cripple Creek and descend into a working gold mine for a firsthand look at how a miner’s work is done.

Activity Particulars

Elevations 6,000-14,110 feet. Climbing steps on and off motor coaches, train; walking up to two mile on field trips over stairs, rough paths, open country.

Coordinated by Mountains and Plains Institute.

Colorado Springs

At an elevation of 6,035 feet, Colorado Springs is situated near the base of one of the most famous American peaks, Pikes Peak, on the east side of the Rocky Mountains. The second largest city in the state boasts many scenic, cultural and recreational opportunities.

Full-service hotel.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport
  Colorado Springs, CO 5 nights
 Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Find everything you need to be your best at Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport. Appreciate the comfortable adjustable beds, refrigerators, microwaves and premium bathroom amenities in your room. Sit at your work desk in your ergonomic chair and utilize the complimentary WiFi. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you’ll have the extras you want without having to pay extra for them. We’ll take care of the details for you. Begin the day with a cup of coffee freshly brewed in your room. Enjoy a cooked-to-order breakfast before you leave for a day exploring the many attractions around Colorado Springs, Colorado. Work out in our modern fitness center, or relax in our indoor heated pool and whirlpool. Print a report or rent AV equipment for your meeting in our 24-hour business center. Visit the Pavilion Pantry® to pick up a beverage, a snack or items you left at home. In your room, unwind as you watch a favorite movie on your 32-inch HDTV or snuggle up with a good book. Sink into your adjustable bed and remember you can count on us to make tomorrow another successful day.
  Contact info: 2035 Aerotech Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80916 USA
phone: 719-622-0300
  Room amenities: Hotel Beds offer the latest technology and conveniences to help you make the most of your stay. Rooms feature complimentary wired and wireless high-speed internet access, 2 dual line speaker phones with data port and voicemail, 32 inch HDTV with pay movies, video games and HBO, large work desk with ergonomic chair, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, hair dryer, iron and ironing board. All beds feature upscale linens with European style duvets.
  Facility amenities: Complimentary Airport Shuttle to and from Colorado Springs Airport. 24 hr Pavilion Pantry Market Automated Teller (ATM) Baggage Storage Beverage Area, Complimentary Coin Laundry Elevators Gift Shop Laundry/Valet Service Lounge Luggage Hold Multi-Lingual Staff On-Site Convenience Store Room Service Safety Deposit Box Fitness Room Pool and Hottub
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call Hotel Directly for Rates Reservations must be made with Hotel
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call Hotel Directly for Rates Reservations must be made with Hotel
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check-in by 3-4 pm. Welcome orientation 4:30 pm followed by dinner and introductory lecture. You will be staying at Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast. Room check-out is 10:00 am. You will be staying at Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Acknowledgement of Risk-Liability Waiver Form to be mailed to the Mountains and Plains Office
  Parking availability:
Parking available during program without charge
To Start of Program
  Location:  Colorado Springs, CO
  Nearest highway: I25, US24
  Nearest airport:  Colorado Springs
  From End of Program
  Location: Colorado Springs, CO
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Colorado Springs Airport Hilton Garden Inn


From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport
phone: 719-622-0300
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


No charge
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


10 minutes 




3 miles


The hotel offers a courtesy bus but reservations must be made with the hotel desk in advance. 719-622-0300

Driving Directions
  Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport - I 25 North and South From South of Colorado Springs directions or Colorado Springs Airport - Take I-25 north or south to exit 139 - ''Limon/Airport US 24 East'' go east to Powers Blvd (4.5 miles), turn right, proceed South to Astrozon, turn right, then right onto Aerotech Blvd. Hilton Garden Inn, 2035 Aerotech Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80916, From Denver International Airport - Take Pena south to I-70 west, take I225 south to I-25 south, exit 139, then see above directions From Denver all directions- Take I 25 south to exit 139, then see above directions
Elevation Note: 6,000 to 14,110 ft. during walking tours and Cog train trip up Pikes Peak

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Hotel Check-in 3 to 4 pm - Welcome Orientation and dinner at 4:30 pm.
(Saturday, July 19)
 Arrive To: Individuals can check in to the hotel after 3:00 PM. A Welcome reception and Dinner will be at 4:30 pm, please meet in the hotel lobby. At this meeting, you will receive the daily schedule for the moving program and meet your guides and instructors.
 Dinner: Dinner tonight will be a catered buffet in our hotel.
 Evening: Participant Introductions and introductory lecture. Colorado Springs history stretches back many hundreds of years. The area’s first inhabitants were the Ute, Cheyenne, Arapaho and other tribes who gathered at the base of Pikes Peak, near its abundant springs and in what is now called Garden of the Gods Park. During the 1700s both French and Spanish flags flew over the region. But with the Louisiana Purchase more Anglo-American explorers and settlers began to venture west. In November 1806, American explorer Zebulon Pike traveled through the area and is credited for “discovering” Pikes Peak. He and his group attempted to reach the summit, but they were neither dressed nor equipped to climb the mountain that ultimately came to bear his name. In 1859, Colorado Springs history is marked with the founding of Colorado City which became the first settlement in the Pikes Peak region. It was the territorial capitol for a short period and served as a supply camp for miners traveling to the mining camps west of Denver. General William Jackson Palmer, a Civil War hero from Pennsylvania, ushered in a new era in Colorado Springs history in 1869. During his first visit to the area, he fell in love with its “most enticing scenery.” He predicted that there would soon be a great resort town at the base of Pikes Peak. One year later, he founded the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and purchased land to create Colorado Springs along its route. In 1871, the Victorian spa resort town Palmer envisioned became a reality.
Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Air Force Academy and City Tour
(Sunday, July 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel featuring hot and cold items. Following Breakfast,depart on our day long City Tour with a Local Historian. Sites to be visited include the Air Force Academy, Broadmoor Hotel, Olympic Training Center, Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs.
 Morning: The United States Air Force Academy was established April 1, 1954, the culmination of an idea that had been years in the making. Airpower leaders, long before the Air Force was a separate service, had argued that they needed a school, dedicated to war in the air, at which to train the country's future Airmen. After September 1947, when the Air Force was established as a separate service, this idea finally had the legitimacy of the new service behind it. The current Campus was dedicated August 29, 1958. The current enrollment is 4,000 cadets with women first enrolling in June of 1976. The Academy celebrated it's 50th Anniversary in 2004. We travel on to the US Olympic Training Center Colorado Springs, home to training athletes and coaches as they prepare for the next Olympic Games. The facility is the former home of ENT Air Force Base and the headquarters of the North American Defense Command, officially became USOC administrative headquarters in July 1978. The Training Center is able to provide housing, dining, recreational facilities and other services for up to 557 coaches and athletes at one time on the complex.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local "creekside" restaurant in Manitou Springs. “Manitou”, a Native American word for “spirit”, describes this beautiful mountain community. Eleven naturally carbonated mineral spring fountains, located throughout this Historic town, run free for all who wish to enjoy the healing benefits. The Ute, Cheyenne and other Native Americans considered this area sacred for the healing springs and clean mountain air. Following the founding of Colorado Springs, Manitou became a popular tourist health resort. By the 1890's, the resort boasted of seven grand hotels, including the Cliff House, Barker House, and the Grandview, which still stand today. Smaller hotels, boarding houses and summer rental cottages were also available for the thousands of visitors who came each season.
 Afternoon: Free time in Manitou Springs to explore the village. Continue field trip to the Broadmoor and other attractions. In the 1890s, gold was discovered on the western slope of Pikes Peak, one of the richest gold strikes in American history. Almost overnight, the Cripple Creek Mining District grew from an isolated cattle pasture to the home of more than 50,000 people. As a result, by the turn of the 19th century, Colorado Springs was called "the city of millionaires." One of these millionaires was Spencer Penrose, who made his first fortune in Cripple Creek. He used his vast resources to build the Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain Highways and to establish the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Will Rogers Shrine and The Broadmoor Hotel. He and his wife, Julie, created the El Pomar Foundation, which still supports many worthy causes in the Pikes Peak region and across Colorado.
 Dinner: We have a treat in store for us tonight. We will be visiting the beautiful Glen Eyrie Castle, one of the most stunning properties in Colorado Springs. Glen Eyrie is a 67-room English Tudor-style castle built by Civil War General William Jackson Palmer, the founder of Colorado Springs. We will top the evening off with dinner in the music room. The estate's name refers to the eagle's nest that overlooks the canyon of which the name "Queen" was the nickname of General Palmer's wife.
 Evening: Free to relax after a busy day!
Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Royal Gorge and Riverwalk in Pueblo
(Monday, July 21)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel featuring hot and cold items. After breakfast we depart for Canon City and the Royal Gorge historic railway and bridge.
 Morning: We ride the Royal Gorge Train. Climb aboard Colorado's most scenic train for a journey through the spectacular Royal Gorge. Since 1879, these tracks have followed the winding, tumbling Arkansas River deep within the soaring, 1,000-foot granite cliffs of Colorado's Royal Gorge. In the late 1870s miners descended on the upper Arkansas valley of Colorado in search of carbonate ores rich in lead and silver. The feverish mining activity in what would become the Leadville district attracted the attention of the Denver & Rio Grande and the Santa Fe railroads, each already having tracks in the Arkansas valley. The Santa Fe was at Pueblo, and the D&RG near Canon City some 35 miles west. Leadville was over 100 miles away. For two railroads to occupy a river valley ordinarily was not a problem, but west of Canon City was an incredible obstacle - an obstacle that would result in a war between the railroads in the race to the new bonanza ultimately won after two years by the Rio Grande Railroad. Look for the engineering marvel, the "hanging bridge" at a point where the gorge narrows to 30 feet. Here the railroad had to be suspended over the river along the north side of the gorge as shear rock walls go right down into the river on both sides. C. Shallor Smith, a Kansas engineer, designed a 175-ft plate girder suspended on one side by "A" frame girders spanning the river and anchored to the rock walls. The bridge cost $11,759 in 1879, a princely sum in those days. Although it has been strengthened over the years, this unique structure has served on a main rail line for over 118 years.
 Lunch: On the return trip, the train will stop under the Royal Gorge Bridge and then return to Canon City. We board our coach for a drive to Pueblo and the Arkansas Riverwalk where we will enjoy lunch in a restaurant overlooking the Riverwalk.
 Afternoon: After lunch we board a comfortable boat and take a narrated tour of the Riverwalk from the Canal itself. The Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo (HARP) is a 32 acre urban waterfront experience open to the public daily. The Riverwalk returned the river to its historic location in the heart of downtown Pueblo, after being diverted in the 1920s due to a devastating flood that destroyed much of Pueblo The Arkansas River has been the lifeblood of Pueblo for over 300 years. Native Americans followed the river for hunting and trapping. Early settlers came as sheepherders and cattlemen. Agriculture blossomed in Pueblo’s warmer climate and the steel industry used the bountiful water resources to build a massive manufacturing center. Four nations have claimed ownership over the Arkansas River at the current location of the Riverwalk; Mexico, Spain, France and the Republic of Texas.
 Dinner: Dinner tonight will be at a local restaurant with several menu choices.
 Evening: Free for reflection and relaxation
Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Mining Heritage and Cripple Creek
(Tuesday, July 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel featuring hot and cold items. After breakfast we depart for our all day tour to the historic mining towns Cripple Creek and Victor.
 Morning: Today we experience the “Old West” as it was for hard rock gold miners of “The World’s Greatest Gold Camp”, Cripple Creek, Colorado. In the late 1800s, thousands of fortune-seekers made their way to Pikes Peak for the country’s last great gold rush. We begin our day descending underground as you partake in the only 1,000 foot vertical shaft gold mine tour in the USA, the Molly Kathleen Mine. At an elevation of 9,494 feet and just below tree line, for many years, Cripple Creek's high valley was considered no more important than a cattle pasture. Many prospectors avoided the area after the misnamed Mount Pisgah hoax, a mini gold rush caused by salting (adding gold to worthless rock). On October 20, 1890, however, Robert Miller "Bob" Womack discovered a rich ore and the last great Colorado gold rush began. Thousands of prospectors flocked to the region, and before long W. S. Stratton located the famous Independence lode, one of the largest gold strikes in history. In three years, the population increased from 500 to 10,000 by 1893. Though $500,000,000 worth of gold ore was dug from Cripple Creek, Womack himself would die, penniless, on August 10, 1909.
 Lunch: We dine for lunch in a local Cripple Creek restaurant with several menu choices.
 Afternoon: After lunch and time to explore the Cripple Creek Heritage Museum and the town's Victorian architecture.
 Dinner: Tonight we explore downtown Colorado Springs. You will have free time to browse and have dinner on your own at one of the local restaurants.
 Evening: Free for reflection and relaxation
Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods, plus Glen Eyrie
(Wednesday, July 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel featuring hot and cold items. After breakfast we take the Cog Railway to Pikes Peak Summit. “America’s Mountain” at over 14,100 feet elevation. Standing at the summit inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write her famous poem, “America the Beautiful”. Drive through the Garden of the Gods where we will have lunch and see the vivid movie on the creation of the Rockies. We conclude with a special guided tour of Glen Eyrie home of Civil War hero and founder of Colorado Springs, General Wm. Palmer.
 Morning: Conventional railroads use the friction of wheels upon the rails, called "adhesion", to provide locomotive power. The Pikes Peak Cog, or rack, railroad uses a gear, "cog wheel", meshing into a special rack rail (mounted in the middle between the outer rails) to climb much steeper grades up to 25% than those possible with a standard adhesion railroad. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway's history began with one of the tourists who visited the Pikes Peak region in the late-1880's, Zalmon Simmons, inventor and founder of the Simmons Beautyrest Mattress Company. Mr. Simmons rode to the summit of Pike's Peak on a mule, partly to enjoy the view and partly to check upon one of his inventions: an insulator for the telegraph wires which ran to the Army Signal Station on the summit. The arduous, two day trip on a mule was the only way to reach the top in those days. Mr. Simmons was awed by the scenery but determined that the views should be experienced in a more civilized and comfortable manner. He was relaxing in one of Manitou Springs' mineral baths after his return, when the owner of his Hotel mentioned the idea of a railway to the top. Mr. Simmons agreed with the concept and set about providing the capital needed to fund such a venture. On the afternoon of June 30th, 1891, the first passenger train, carrying a church choir from Denver, made it to the summit.
 Lunch: After our thrilling railway ride up Pikes Peak, we eat lunch at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center.
 Afternoon: We travel through the Garden of the Gods and it's magnificent red sandstone setting. It was named in August of 1859 when two surveyors started out from Denver City to begin a townsite, soon to be called Colorado City. While exploring nearby locations, they came upon a beautiful area of sandstone formations. M. S. Beach, who related this incident, suggested that it would be a "capital place for a beer garden" when the country grew up. His companion, Rufus Cable, a "young and poetic man", exclaimed, "Beer Garden! Why it is a fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it the Garden of the Gods." It has been so called ever since.
 Dinner: Our dinner tonight is catered at our hotel.
 Evening: Free for farewells and packing
Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn Colorado Springs Airport
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Program ends after Breakfast, Independent Departures and Check-out by 10 am.
(Thursday, July 24)
 Depart From: Independent departures after breakfast; hotel check-out 10 am.
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet in hotel featuring hot and cold items.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

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