By Morgan Mitchell
Is there anything more beautiful than the mountains?
When I was growing up, we lived about forty-five minutes from the Gulf Shores beach. We had annual passes and would hang out there quite frequently; we’d splash around in the ocean, search for seashells along the shoreline, and bury ourselves in sand that we had molded to look like mermaids.
But there was always something about the mountains. As someone who grew up in the south surrounded by the complete opposite of those snow-capped peaks, I had always admired their beauty and dreamed of visiting them.
Recently, my brother moved across the United States to settle in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and I finally got the chance to see what I had been missing out on. The trip did not disappoint, and it’s even inspired me to share a list of five reasons why you should visit this city, too:
- Pikes Peak: Affectionately known as “America’s Mountain,” the summit of Pikes Peak reaches an elevation of 14,115 feet. Colorado is a beautiful state to begin with, but to see the view from such a vantage point is truly stunning. If there was ever a spot to simply sit and be in the moment, it is there – where the wind races through the air to welcome everyone that makes it to the top and where the view of the trees and the rolling hills stretches out for miles and miles. It is serene. It’s also, paradoxically, an absolutely chaotic playground for the adventurous soul, because there are places where the mountain is rocks and boulders and nothing else. Amidst the gazing and the lazing, rest assured that there’s plenty of time to have some fun, too, as you navigate over, through, and around the piles of rocks.
- Garden of the Gods: Aptly named, Garden of the Gods is a forest of sandstone rock formations that stretch three-hundred feet into the sky. I recommend visiting this tourist destination early in the morning when there are fewer people. But whenever you decide to go, I am sure you will be just as mesmerized by the dramatic geologic structures as I was.
- Dog-friendly: I have never seen somewhere that collectively loves dogs as much as Colorado Springs, and it’s one of my favorite things about this city. People bring their pets hiking with them, you can always find someone walking their dog when you’re driving around, and there’s a ton of dog parks where your furry friend can roam on or off-leash. In fact, there’s one location where the reservoir at the end of the hiking trail is strictly off-limits to humans, but dogs are more than welcome to go splash around with each other and have the time of their lives. When I visited my brother, sister-in-law, and their goldendoodle, we went to a dog park every day and it was just as much fun as all of our other outings since we got to hike and see the beautiful scenery while also booping puppy noses left and right.
- Hiking: For someone that is not usually an outdoorsy or active person, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed hiking through the various trails in Colorado Springs. Perhaps it’s because there’s always mountains and waterfalls to admire in the background, so the exercise doesn’t seem like work. Regardless of the reason, hiking quickly became one of my favorite parts of my visit to Colorado Springs.
- Rock climbing: If you’re looking for an adventurous excursion, rock climbing may be just what you need. I’ve only ever rock climbed indoors where there are holds that are artificially made and therefore evenly spaced out. Natural rock climbing was quite a change but so, so worth the extra effort. It’s certainly a full-body workout, but it’s incredibly rewarding to accomplish this challenging feat that seemed impossible at the beginning.
Edited by Jenna Fults