50 Days, 50 Ways Challenge to Explore Colorado Springs

Ready to kick 2020 out the door? Here’s how to do it with style and sanity. Whether you’re new to town or a native, this bucket list will lead you to new, socially distanced discoveries and family-friendly activities in Colorado Springs.

The temperatures are getting cooler, but there are still plenty of ways to nurture your physical and mental well-being here in Colorado Springs and El Paso County. There is adventure all around us! With 50 days until 2021, how many of these activities can you complete before the New Year? All of them? Game on!
  1. Walk or run around Prospect Lake (1.24 miles). Mix up your cardio workout by trying the new fitness stations located around the lake.
  2. Drive (or hike!) to the summit of Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain. Bundle up!
  3. Do a yoga pose in front of Balanced Rock in Garden of the Gods Park.
  4. Learn about our region’s local history by visiting the Pioneers Museum. Reservations are required, but admission is FREE!
  5. Go ice skating – either outdoors at Skate in the Park in Acacia Park or during a public skating session at Sertich Ice Center. Reservations required.
  6. Hike to the top of Helen Hunt Falls in North Cheyenne Cañon Park.
  7. Take a selfie with the snowman in Acacia Park.
  8. Explore the trails in Red Rock Canyon Open Space and discover the old quarry there.
  9. Shoot hoops in a neighborhood park.
  10. Take a creek-side nature walk in Sondermann Park where you can learn more about the Fountain Creek watershed.

    Ice skaters in Acacia Park, Colorado Springs
    Ice skaters in Acacia Park. Photo courtesy of City of Colorado Springs.
  11. Challenge yourself to complete the Manitou Incline. Or, start training to make it to the top by tackling the bottom portion before connecting to the new Northern Incline Return Trail. You can make a reservation here!
  12. Ride your bike or walk/jog along the Cottonwood Creek Trail, which now provides a connection from Powers Boulevard to downtown Colorado Springs.
  13. Grab a family member and play pickleball at Venezia or Monument Valley Park.
  14. Use the new self-cleaning bathroom at Bancroft Park in Old Colorado City.
  15. Ride your bike on the trails in Bluestem Prairie Open Space. The southeastern open space offers beautiful views and a scenic water ride along Big Johnson Reservoir.
  16. Look for wildlife in Ute Valley Park. This open space is home to mule deer, cottontail rabbits, Cooper’s hawks, Black-capped chickadees, and much more! Remember to stay on the trail.
  17. Drive or ride your bike to the overlook in Palmer Park and capture a landscape photo of our city’s incredible western backdrop.
  18. Get involved in your park system by joining a friends group that volunteers time and resources for cleanups and trail restoration work. Or learn more about and consider joining a local park and recreation advocacy group – there are dozens in the Pikes Peak region!
  19. Take a walk around Quail Lake (1 mile).
  20. Check out the dirt bike track or skate park at Goose Gossage Park, located off of Mark Dabling Boulevard. For a kid-friendly dirt bike option, try the El Pomar Youth Bike Park adjacent to the Hillside Community Center.
  21. Explore the expansive trail system in North Cheyenne Cañon Park. There are trails available for hikers of all abilities.
  22. Feel the wind under your feet by swinging in your neighborhood park. Swing sets aren’t just for kids!
  23. Did you plant a tree this year? If yes, add it to the COS 150: Tree Challenge. If not, start making plans to plant one in 2021. To celebrate the city’s 150th sesquicentennial anniversary, there’s a citywide goal to plant 18,071 new trees in Colorado Springs by the end of 2021!
  24. Play nine holes (or 18!) at the Patty Jewett or Valley Hi municipal golf courses. Online reservations required. No reservation needed for the driving range.
  25. Visit the barnyard animals at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site.
  26. Have a picnic lunch at the newly remodeled Leon Young Pavilion, which is named after Colorado Springs’ first black mayor.
  27. Give disc golf a try! Colorado Springs has three courses to choose from at Cottonwood Creek Park, Rampart Park, and the Aviary Disc Golf Course.
  28. Fly a kite in your neighborhood park.
  29. Visit the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center to learn more about the famous red rock formations. All purchases made in the visitor center benefit the park!
  30. Dance to live music in Bancroft Park during its weekly Social Distance Sundays Pop-Up concert series. The last one of the year is scheduled for Dec. 20.
  31. Enjoy an afternoon of rock climbing at Red Rock Canyon Open Space. A free permit is required.
  32. We are fortunate to have such an extensive trail network! Discover a trail you’ve never experienced. Find our trail guides here. And our friends at the Trails and Open Space Coalition have a page full of recommendations.
  33. Get ready for next year’s sesquicentennial celebration by learning more about our City’s history. Check out our sesquicentennial reading list.
  34. Discover the prehistoric history of Colorado Springs and the groundbreaking 2019 discovery of fossils in Corral Bluffs Open Space by watching this documentary.
  35. Enjoy a peaceful stroll or bike ride through the Evergreen or Fairview cemeteries, where you can find the grave sites of many fascinating figures who were instrumental in establishing the history of Colorado City, founded in 1859 as a supply town for gold prospectors.

    Kids on playground at Patty Jewett Junction, Colorado Springs
    Kids on playground at Patty Jewett Junction. Photo courtesy of City of Colorado Springs.
  36. Explore the ancient sandstone formations in the Austin Bluffs Open Space, most famously Pulpit Rock.
  37. Spot a peregrine falcon in Blodgett Open Space. Once placed on the endangered species list, these majestic birds fly freely in this open space.
  38. Take your sled to Bear Creek Regional Park and catch a ride down some of the county’s best sledding hills.
  39. Take in the incredible views of Garden of the Gods Park and Pikes Peak during a walk or bike ride on the recently improved Palmer-Mesa Trail.
  40. Visit the city’s newest play area, Patty Jewett Junction, which opened earlier this year. The colorful neighborhood space pays homage to Patty Jewett’s love of roses and the area’s railroad history.
  41. Did you know many of our city’s trails are horse friendly? Find a local riding stable and giddy up!
  42. Watch the sunset from High Point in Garden of the Gods Park.
  43. Explore 9 miles of new trails by foot, by bike or on horseback at the recently-opened Pineries Open Space in Black Forest.
  44. Enjoy a sunny afternoon of fishing at Prospect or Quail lakes. A valid fishing license is required for everyone 16 and older and can be purchased at any sporting goods store.
  45. Bundle up, pack some breakfast and take in the county’s most colorful sunrise at the Paint Mines in Calhan. Remember to leave your pets at home and please don’t climb on the rock formations.
  46. Enjoy a pond-side picnic at Nancy Lewis Park. While we know it’s tempting, don’t share your lunch with the ducks. For some post-picnic fun, head to the bocci ball court!
  47. Build a snowman with your family at Fox Run Regional Park.
  48. Become an Ultra Steward by learning more about and always practicing the Leave No Trace seven principles! How low-impact can you go?
  49. Become a birder. How many birds can you spot from your doorstep? From your favorite park? Use this Colorado Birding Checklist to keep track!
  50. Research “forest bathing” and take a stroll through a park or open space close to your home. Leave your phone behind and reflect on what sights, smells, and sounds you noticed during your walk

Where will you start?

Read More

Microadventures: Backyard Discoveries

47 Ways to Play on Pikes Peak

Read More