The Ute Pass Colorado and Woodland Park areas are often overlooked by residents of the Pikes Peak region when it comes to looking for things to do or places to eat. This happens because they are such popular tourist destinations. This is a big mistake, it’s because they are such an attraction for tourists that makes them perfect for locals, traffic aside.
Both of areas a short drive from Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas. Once there, it’s like you are in a completely different environment. Yes, maybe it is a little too much of that old-time, fairy tale mountain town feel but isn’t that why many of us initially moved here?
Outside – The choice had to be America’s Mountain, Pikes Peak. This is the main attraction for many that visit our area and it’s just as much fun for locals. The Pikes Peak Highway is a 19-mile (31 km) toll road that runs from Cascade, Colorado to the summit of Pikes Peak. Once at the summit, you are rewarded by some of the most spectacular views anywhere! At the time of this writing, the famous summit house is currently under reconstruction, so you won’t be able to try their famous donuts, at least until the new summit house reopens.
Food – Further up Ute Pass into the storybook town of Green Mountain Falls is the classic breakfast restaurant “The Pantry.” This place started as a Bakery back in the early 1950s. The Pantry added indoor dining in the 1970s and finally added their incredible creekside patio in 2005. The menu offers serious breakfast eats including cinnamon roll french toast, Biscuits & Gravy, Pantry Style as well as classics like build your own omelets and pancakes.
Locals tend to ignore The Pantry because it’s such a popular tourist destination but this is a big mistake. The food is excellent and the atmosphere is pure Colorado. You owe it to yourself to go to The Pantry.
Pets – The idyllic Gazebo Lake in the heart of Green Mountain Falls is a fun place to take the dog for a walk, just make sure to keep them on the leash and bring your plastic baggies, you really don’t want to mess with this picturesque location. The lake features a trail around the lake that has a small wedding gazebo on an island in the lake. The white gazebo is connected to Green Mountain’s park by a lovely bridge. There are also a number of additional trails to hike with your pets close by like the Thomas Trail or the Crystal Trail. No matter where you end up, you’ll want to start at the lake.
Drinks – The Blue Moose Tavern is our choice for drinks. This Green Mountain Falls bar is just fun. With a good menu including pizza, sandwiches, munchies, salads, and a few entrees. They have a good selection of beers and cocktails. This is a great place to catch a football game in the fall or hang out near the old stone fireplace in the winter and catch some hockey.
The big deal here is live music and an awesome outside bar overlooking the gazebo lake in the center of Green Mountain Falls.
Family – Kids will love The North Pole and Santa’s workshop. The village has been located on the side of Pikes Peak since 1956 and still maintains much of the charm from that time period. The village offers visitors a wide range of themed rides, Santa’s house as well as souvenir and gift shops including the Christmas Shop and The Toy Shop. If you’re looking for something fun to do with young kids, this place is a lot of fun.
The Ute Pass area offers a lot of options when it comes to fun. The area is a short drive from Colorado Springs and one you’ll be glad you made.