The Colorado Springs Convention and Visitor's Bureau has an incredible resource on their website that allows all of us to see how many tourism dollars are entering our economy. You see, we've done this "fire" thing before and the speed in which we've rebuild that area of town will only be streamlined after our recent bouts of disaster. Last year, we were scrambling to take in residents, especially with a large majority of the city evacuated. This year, however, even though the fire was much larger, did more damage to homes and displaced more people, we have two more things we didn't last year; experience and a stronger community.
Nobody wanted to repeat last year's fires. Our tourism industry and residents took month's to rebuild. Our friends at the Flying W Ranch are still unable to reopen.
We've learned many, many lessons in the past year. How to deal with insurance companies, where to get help, and how to get back to life as normal. Even the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, effected by the Royal Gorge Fire, is optimistic about repoening quickly as the bridge was untouched.
While we may experience natural adversity, know that we've done this before and each lesson we learn pushes our community closer together. There's not a place in the world with people that care for each other as much as we do. Places like Wildfire Tees, the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, Colorado Springs Together, the Salvation Army, Red Cross and many more organizations are here to simply help our residents. Imagine what that means for guests.
You see the main thing we all want after a disaster is to just get back to "normal", whatever that is. Some may want to build a new house, other's may just buy a new one. Some may just want to make sure their vacation is relaxing or full of adventure. Some may just want to go camping, be in the mountains and fish days at a time.
For us at Pikes Peak Country Attractions, "normal" is what we do best, with a twist. Our "normal" has always been a draw for the world to see. Normal is feeding giraffes at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Normal is heading up Pikes Peak by hiking, biking, cog train or car. Heck, even normal to us is watching race cars scream up that mountain in under 10 minutes. Crazy, yes. Normal, absolutly.
So while many of our residents fight day-in and day-out to get back their sense of normal, be assured that out attractions are far more normal than last year. Except, now for one thing--they need you're support too. Tourism provides 14,000+ jobs to our area and over $295 Million in revenue to help pay for city services, like police, fire and other first responders. They're more prepared, having spent more money to entertain you and ready to show you a good time.
So if your vacation includes Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region, keep them. We've even set up special places for you to find wildfire information.
It's still an awesome time and one your family won't want to miss!
IMPORTANT: We just found out that Pikes Peak - America's Mountain's North Slope Recreation Area and Fishing will NOT open on May 1st. The reservoirs are still iced over.
The City of Colorado Springs, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department will continue to monitor the situation and open as soon as possible. If there are questions please contact Park and Rec at 719-385-6507.
Please check out the information below for activities you can partake in when the recreation area does open.
While the Pikes Peak highway and The Cog Railway are open to the public year-round, weather permitting, the real excitement is when the mountain opens up for recreation activities. You know, fishing, boating, camping and more! It also starts the season for all kinds of events on the mountain. The Pikes Peak Ascent & Marathon, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and others bring hundreds to thousands of people from all over the world to our beautiful region. Get ready because the recreation area opens May 1st and is open through October.
There are several lakes on the north facing slope of Pikes Peak that allow for recreation enthusiasts to partake in boating, kayaking, canoeing and more. The most popular are Crystal Reservoir, North Catamount and South Catamount Lakes. The only way to access the reservoirs is via the Pikes Peak highway, which requires paid access at the toll gate.
Fishing is also a popular pastime on the peak. You can fish on the bank of any of the reservoirs or in a non-motorized boat, such as a row boat, canoe or belly boat. Motorized boating is not allowed on any of the reservoirs. To fish, you must have a valid Colorado fishing license for those ages 16 and up. For more information on where to obtain a license, contact the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
Another popular way to see Pikes Peak is by Bike. Challenge Unlimited Pikes Peak Bike Tours allows several packages for your entire family or office to come ride from the summit to the bottom of the mountain. They provide breakfast, lunch, and new this year are zip line tours in Manitou Springs, Colorado.
Are you in to hiking 14ers? There are actually several trails on Pikes Peak for hiking. The most popular being Barr Trail. The trailhead is located near the Cog Railway Depot in Manitou Springs. The trail is 12.6 miles long and has an elevation change of 7,510 feet. For a list of additional trails, CLICK HERE.
Experience the beauty of Pikes Peak this summer by going beyond the highway. Fishing, boating, hiking… There’s something for everyone on Pikes Peak!