Southwest Colorado Springs nestles at the base of the Rocky Mountains and is home to several treasured parks, hiking trails, and local businesses. It’s a beautiful area for a day-trip or a night out. If you haven’t spent much time exploring this section of the city, hopefully, this list will inspire you to check out a few of our favorite spots.
Outside — Starsmore Visitor and Nature Center is located at the entrance to Cheyenne Canõn Park, which offers 1,600 acres of dog-friendly hiking and biking trails. This beautiful stone building was originally home to the Starsmore family and was relocated to the park by the City of Colorado Springs in 1922. Stop here to get your map of the park and enjoy the views through the center’s bird-watching window.
Starsmore’s friendly and knowledgeable staff are available to answer questions every day from 9-5 during the summer months and 9-3 in the spring and fall. Starsmore also offers hands-on nature exhibits and a junior ranger program that includes age-appropriate activities for children from preschool through 6th grade, making it the perfect outdoor adventure for the whole family.
Food — As its name suggests, The Public House is a local pub and grill, located right off of Hwy 115 at the intersection of E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd. The Public House offers a selection of delicious burgers, sandwiches, and pizzas alongside their rotating specials, such as boneless pork chops and tender pot roast.
The Public House prides itself on using local ingredients, such as Aspen Ridge Angus Beef, and keeps a variety of local beers on tap. The food and friendly staff will make this one of your favorite weekend hangouts. Its laid-back atmosphere makes it a perfect place to meet for a beer or to watch the game. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates on weekly specials and events, such as trivia and karaoke!
Pets — Bear Creek Dog Park is the largest dog park in El Paso county with 25 acres of fully fenced-in property. The dog park encompasses a beautiful section of hills and trees at the foot of the mountains with ⅓ mile of Bear Creek running through the middle. There are several walking trails through the park, including a ¾ mile circumference loop.
The dog park was established in 1997, and the Friends of Bear Creek Dog Park have added a number of improvements since its initial opening, including a separate fenced-in area for small and senior dogs who may not be up for rough and tumble play. A few areas of the creek have been modified by volunteers to give dogs a place to play and wade into the water. They have also created an agility course with professional-grade equipment, and best of all, added a dog washing station so that you can rinse the mud off of your furry friend before heading home.
Drinks — Burrowing Owl takes its name from the small, social owls that inhabit the Colorado prairie. The owners of the Burrowing Owl designed it as a place to dialogue and build community. The bar offers an amazing selection of canned beers, ranging from sours and IPAs to stouts and ciders, and each can comes with a free Burrowing Owl koozie, so that you can take home some swag.
If beer isn’t your drink of choice, try one of their unique jarred cocktails, such as their Adult Chocolate Milk or the Red Bush with whiskey and rooibos tea. Their delicious bar bites are vegan and made from sustainably-sourced ingredients.
Family — Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was founded by Spenser Penrose in 1926 to house his collection of exotic animals. Today, over 575,000 yearly visitors come to enjoy the spectacular mountain views and see their favorite animals in beautifully-designed outdoor exhibits. You and your kids will love feeding North America’s largest giraffe herd and getting up close and personal with exotic Australian birds in the zoo’s Budgie Buddies free-flight aviary.
The zoo also hosts fun, seasonal activities for the whole family, such as Boo at the Zoo and their zoo lights experience. And, of course, if you’re visiting on the weekend, check out the Mountaineer Sky Ride, a chair-lift that will give you a bird’s-eye view of the zoo starting from the Giraffe Plaza. Make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, water, and snacks for your day at this high-altitude zoo.