Filed under: Activities & Attractions, Campgrounds & RV Parks, Family Camping, Kid-Friendly Trips, Nature & Wildlife, Outdoor Recreation & Hiking, State & National Parks
Our Camping Season Begins at Cheyenne Mountain State Park
We just returned our first trip of the season. I’m happy to report that a good time was had by all and everyone is home safe and sound.
This yearly Memorial Day trek has become somewhat of a tradition. And over the years, we’ve learned a thing or two to help us make our maiden voyage a more enjoyable one.
First, we try not to stray too far from home. After a whole winter off, we never know what might be in need of tweaking or repair. And since the weather is still a bit unpredictable at this time of year, we also steer clear of very high elevations.
One last prerequisite of ours is to avoid major holiday traffic jams. That’s why many of the mountain towns that require a trip up I-70 are out of the question. Sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on an 8% grade is never a great idea – especially with our monster of a trailer in tow.
So this year, we settled on a trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado. A mere 1 ½ hour trip from our house it offers a great place for our first trip. It’s not too high up, doesn’t have major traffic issues and is jammed packed with fun things to do.
We camped at Cheyenne Mountain State Park during our stay. Colorado’s newest state park campground, it offers what few other can – full hookups at almost every site.
The location can’t be beat either. It sits at the base of Cheyenne Mountain and NORAD and opens up onto the prairie to the east. The views are breathtaking and each campsite is spacious and clean. We also like the fact that it’s close to town. What’s more, this Colorado state park is home to a great variety of wildlife and a large web of well-groomed trails to hike.
The main reason we chose Colorado Springs is the variety of activities available. With many of these free or reasonably priced, we actually had a hard time planning our itinerary. Some of the choices included the Air Force Academy, Cave of the Winds, Seven Falls, Garden of the Gods and Pike’s Peak, just to name a few. After much debate, we decided on the following.
At the request of the kids (even our teenager), we decided on a visit to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. It’s a family favorite and happens to have a one-of-a-kind giraffe exhibit. Here you can get up close and personal with these amazing creatures, petting or even feeding them if you’d like. This zoo, built into the mountain side is beautiful and the panoramic view of the plains from atop the grizzly exhibit is second to none.
We also went into the mountains to visit the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Here we took a short hike where we saw huge petrified redwood stumps and lots of fossils. We also took a road less traveled, driving up Cheyenne Canyon and spent some time taking in the spectacular scenery and wading in a clear mountain stream.
This trip was a true success and definitely whet our appetite for more. Our next stop? Arches National Park. I’ll let you know how it goes.