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Manitou Springs, Colorado

Manitou Springs, ColoradoManitou Springs is a resort city in Colorado just west of Colorado Springs. It is known for its mineral springs and mountain landscapes, dominated by Pikes Peak.

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings are a group of reassembled ancient cliff structures. Hundreds of steps lead up a steep slope on the Manitou Incline Trail. Manitou Avenue is home to art galleries and specialty boutiques.

Explore the authentic ancient cliff-dweller structures, investigate the Pueblo-style buildings and traditional clay oven, and examine the pottery, tools, and weapons used by these ancient and mysterious peoples.

Open since 1907, the Manitou Cliff Dwellings have preserved these historic artifacts for all to enjoy for generations to come.

The Manitou Incline is one of the most popular hiking trails in Colorado. The Incline is steep. It gains over 2,000 feet of elevation in less than one mile.

The base of the Incline is located in Manitou Springs near the base of the Barr Trail and across the street from the Cog Railroad.

Manitou Springs is a home rule municipality located at the foot of Pikes Peak in western El Paso County in Colorado.

The town was founded because of its natural mineral springs. The downtown area continues to be of interest to travelers, particularly in the summer, with many shops and restaurants, as well as a creekside city park.

Manitou Springs, ColoradoThe main road through the center of town was one of the direct paths to the base of Pikes Peak. Barr Trail, which winds its way up to Pikes Peak, is accessible from inside Manitou Springs.

General William Jackson Palmer and Dr. William Abraham Bell founded Manitou Springs in 1872, intending that the town become a "scenic health resort".

Bell's home, Briarhurst Manor, is open to the public as a fine dining restaurant, which is listed on the National Register of Historic places.

Manitou Springs has been the quintessential tourist town since the 1870s, when visitors discovered the healing waters tht the Ute Indians had been drinking for years. Many of the town's mineral springs still function today and the water is free.

In 1980, the Manitou Springs Historic District was formed by the Historic Preservation Committee to manage development, renovation and preservation within the town.

It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and has become one of the country's largest National Historic Districts.

In June of 2012, the entire city was evacuated due to what as called the Waldo Canyon fire. Parts of western Colorado Springs were also evacuated.

Manitou Springs did not suffer any fire damage - the city was under evacuation orders from only 1:30 a.m. on Monday until 8 p.m. that same day. There was no fire damage visible from Manitou Springs itself, and all businesses reopened.

Manitou Springs, ColoradoOn the afternoon of August 9, 2013, the city was inundated by a flash flood known as the Waldo Canyon flood entering the northern edges of the city via roadways and natural channels as it descended from the flooded-out US Highway 24.

Traffic was stopped in both directions as the highway barriers formed a river washing several occupied cars down a runoff ditch.

The strong current made a path down Manitou Avenue from Cavern Gulch, as well as Canon Avenue, meandering turbulently through streets, homes, businesses, and spillways, damaging 20 homes - 8 of them significantly.

The flood water threatened buildings and parking lots along Fountain Creek, and closed a portion of Manitou Avenue, which reopened later that same evening.

Situated directly along U.S. Route 24 just west of Old Colorado City and Cave of the Winds, the town is bordered by Mt. Manitou to the west, Red Mountain to the south, and Englemann Canyon, south and west.

It is near Garden of the Gods, with the same red stone as Red Mountain, and is at the base of Pikes Peak. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city occupies a total area of 3.2 square miles or 8.2 square kilometers.

Manitou Springs has a humid continental climate, categorized by four distinct seasons. Summertime is hot, and wintertime is cool, sometimes cold. Spring and fall are generally very pleasant.

Attractions in the vicinity of Manitou Springs are Cave of the Winds - cave complex with tours given daily.

Manitou Springs, ColoradoDiscovered in 1881, Cave of the Winds has been a must-see Colorado Springs attraction for travelers for more than a century. It is one of the premiere show caves in the United States – and, at 7,000 feet, it is also one of the highest!

The Iron Springs Chateau Melodrama Dinner Theater, located on Ruxton Avenue - a dinner theatre for families and adults.

It is an established tourist attraction and historic landmark located at the base of Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs. They produce family oriented, audience participatory melodramas & variety shows.

At any one of these shows, you will boo your Villain, cheer your Hero and OOOOHHHH and AAAAHHHWWW your lovely Heroine.

Dinner reservations are available at 6:00, 6:15, and 6:30 for a three-course meal with your choice of entree. The theater doors open at 7:30 pm and the show starts at 8 pm.

Manitou Cliff Dwellings area full-size replica of Anasazi Indian cliff dwellings, as well as a museum. The cliff dwellings were built in the early 1900s, using materials from ruined cliff dwellings in the Four Corners area.

Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway which travels from Manitou Springs to the top of Pikes Peak.

Manitou Springs Food Tour

Rainbow Falls (also known as Graffiti Falls) is a waterfall on Fountain Creek where there is a large amount of colorful graffiti painted on the canyon walls and bridge overpass.

Manitou Springs, ColoradoThe Springsabout Walking Tours, a tour of nine of the Manitou Mineral Springs sites offered by the Mineral Springs Foundation.

https://manitousprings.org/events/event-calendar/ People can also take their own tour of the springs by visiting The Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau to pick up a free mineral springs brochure, content chart and a sampling cup.

Parks, from east to west along Manitou Avenue, include Schryver Park, Memorial Park, Mansions Park, and Soda Springs Park. Fields Community Park is located on El Paso Boulevard. Seven Minute Gazebo is located behind Mansions and Memorial Parks.

There are a total of eight springs throughout Manitou, each with their own mineral properties.

Manitou Incline, a former incline railway bed that rises over 2,000 feet above Manitou Springs is a popular hiking and fitness activity.

Seven Bridges Trail is a popular moderately-difficult 5.78 mile out and back hiking-only trail located in North Cheyenne Cañon.

The trail follows a mountain stream and is one of the few cool hikes in the summer, even at mid-day. Best to hike March through November, or when the snowpack is low. Dogs on a leash are okay. Call 1-719-685-5089 for more info about this hike.

Trailhead Directions from Manitou Springs: Take Hwy 24 east. Turn right on 21st St. 21st St. will change to Cresta Rd.

Go about 3 miles, turn right Cheyenne Blvd. Go 2.75 miles to the intersection of N. Cheyenne Canon Rd. and S. Cheyenne Canon Rd.

At the Starsmore Discovery Center take the right fork in the road onto N. Cheyenne Canon Rd. Travel approximately 3.0 miles up the winding canyon road, passing Helen Hunt Falls and ending at the parking lot where High Dr. and Lower Gold Camp Rd. begin.

Manitou Springs, ColoradoHike Summary: From the parking lot, hike west past large metal gate blocking the trail.

The first part of the trail follows a former narrow gauge railroad bed used to haul gold ore from Cripple Creek to Colorado Springs for processing.

At the first bend in the trail look for the Trail 622 marker on the right (near where the creek crosses the railroad bed) and take that path into the trees. This is the beginning of the Seven Bridges Trail.

It is not labeled, but there is a sign marking distances. Bridge 1 comes very early in the trail and is quickly followed by bridge 2.

The bridges are in great shape and the trail is well maintained, so overall. it is a great way to spend an afternoon.

The creek constantly cascades down the valley through the rugged terrain and flows much stronger in the spring than in the fall.

The trail is fairly well shaded by the trees the entire way. The hike has a constant and gentle gain that makes it great for a 2 to 3-hour trip.

Seven Bridges Trail ends in Jones park where you can take a variety of other trails if you wish to do more hiking.

Manitou Springs, ColoradoThe Manitou Cliff Dwellings are a 40 room site that was originally located near McElmo Canyon, which is in the southwest corner of Colorado near Mesa Verde and Dolores.

The process of relocating these cliff dwellings began in 1904 and was completed in 1907 when the preserve was opened to the public.

Virginia McClurg, the original founder of the Colorado Cliff Dwellers Association, hired William Crosby and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings Ruins Company to begin this process.

They wanted to preserve and protect the Ancestral Puebloan architecture from looters and relic pot-hunters.

Their company spent many months mapping out the dwellings in and around Mesa Verde and McElmo Canyon.

Prior to the 1906 Antiquities Act, the Federal Government did not get involved in protecting these historic sites and Virginia McClurg wanted to change this.

She and Crosby’s company therefore began a preservation project and acquired the rights to move a portion of the dwellings from the McElmo Canyon area to Phantom Canyon, later to be renamed Cliff Canyon, here in Manitou Springs.

Over a several year period, the stones were collected, packaged, and finally moved by oxen to Dolores, Colorado.

There, they were loaded and shipped by railroad to Colorado Springs, and finally brought to Cliff Canyon by horse and wagon.

Manitou Springs, ColoradoCrosby's crew then faithfully reassembled the dwellings in dimension and appearance to those in the four corners region, except they used a concrete mortar in 1907 as opposed to the adobe mud/clay mortar the cliff dwellers used.

This preservation process allows individuals to walk inside and tour through our dwellings. The Manitou Cliff Dwellings is a preserve of these ancient dwellings, here to protect them for future generations to visit.

The creation of the Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum and Preserve was the vision of Virginia McClurg and Harold Ashenhurst.

It was undertaken to create a museum that preserves and protects the fine stonework architecture of the cliff dwellers, which at that time, were unprotected from vandals and artifact hunters.

The impact of these careless people threatened to wipe out the great architectural achievements of the Ancestral Puebloans.

In 1907, the preserve was acknowledged by Dr. E. L. Hewett, Director of American Archaeology and father of the Antiquities Act, for its detail of workmanship and educational function.

The three story pueblo structure demonstrates the architecture of the Taos Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. These Pueblo Indians are descendants of the Cliff Dwelling Indians belonging to the Ancestral Puebloans cultural line.

This pueblo building was erected at the turn of the century and home to a Native American family of dancers who entertained the tourists for several generations.

This Native American family lived in the pueblo as late as 1984. Over the years, the pueblo was expanded into museums of pottery and artifacts.

Manitou Springs, ColoradoIt has since been expanded to include the souvenir shop that offers Native Made pottery, jewelry, and artifacts, as well as Colorado and US made gifts.

Historic Manitou Springs has historic designation for good reason. Blessed with a dozen mineral springs, scores of local artists, its invigorating dry air, cerulean blue skies, and a great location as a gateway to both Pikes Peak, and to Colorado's most popular free park, Garden of the Gods-Manitou.

Garden of the Gods-Manitou has been a beloved tourist destination ever since the 1870s, especially during the summer months.

Back then, and up through the 1930s, it was primarily an upscale summer spa town, a mecca for East Coasters and British visitors suffering from respiratory illnesses like tuberculosis.

With the growth of neighboring Colorado Springs just four miles to the east, plus the development of great ski areas just two hours to the west, and with the retail development, which has brought with it the following amenities that draws visitors to Manitou Springs year-round: Bed and Breakfasts, Restaurants, Galleries, Motels and Brew Pubs.

Many find the winter climate a particularly welcoming surprise. Although close to ski country, Manitou gets very little snow - far less, even, than Colorado Springs. And except for occasional arctic blasts, it enjoys many winter days of light sweater weather.

So hikers can still hike, runners can still run, golfers can still golf, and skiers - well, they can drive to Breckenridge or Monarch in the morning, ski all day, and still get back to Manitou in time for dinner.

Manitou Springs, ColoradoOver the last several years the downtown corridor has gotten a dramatic face-lift. It's now an even better place to stroll and shop, as well as a photographer's delight.

Manitou's magnificent weather allows many events like the Carnivale and the Fruitcake Toss, that give fun-loving Manitou its reputation for being one of a kind.


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