Are Trekking Poles Worth It?

Are trekking poles worth it? As a hiking guide, I’m asked this question hundreds of times every single season I’m in the backcountry. It could be guests asking me before a trip if they should have hiking poles or strangers I meet on the trail who see that I’m a guide and want my opinion on the matter. But no matter the circumstances of the question or who is asking it, there is rarely a straightforward yes or no answer. There are several distinct pros and cons worth discussing to help you decide if trekking poles are worth it.

Therefore, let’s take a moment to go over these pros and cons to see where hiking poles shine on the trail and where they might be a hindrance, and I’ll finish with my own recommendation on the issue. Then, you should have all the information you need to decide if a new pair of hiking poles will make an appearance on your next hike, be it a guided hike in Colorado Springs or on your own.

Trekking Pole Benefits

Increased Stability

Trekking poles dramatically increase your overall stability on the trail. Uneven terrain, fatigue, and sneaky tree roots can all play a role in compromising your stability and cause you to lose your balance or even take a tumble while hiking. Trekking poles, however, can dramatically improve your overall stability by increasing the number of contact points you have on the ground from two – just your feet – to four. You can also use those two additional contact points to test water/snow depth, untrustworthy-looking rocks, or mud you might encounter on the trail. In fact, trekking poles are one of our “must-have” recommendations on our list of tips for hiking in muddy terrain.

By doubling your contact with the ground, hiking poles make it much easier to avoid losing your balance, and to recover more quickly if you do.

Support

In addition to upping your stability on the trail, trekking poles also offer the crucial benefit of providing support for your knees and hips. When used properly, they can transfer some of the burden of hiking to your arms and shoulders – allowing you to hike harder and farther without letting achy knees hold you back.

The benefit is especially pronounced when going downhill. The jarring impact of hiking down a steep trail – especially with a fully loaded backpack – can trash your knees in no time. But distributing part of that load to your arms can make a world of difference in your hiking experience. Let’s take a closer look at how your arms can suddenly play a larger role in your hiking.

Photo by Nilotpal Kalita on Unsplash

Let Your Arms Do Some Work

Your legs are working endlessly as you hike, but having your trekking polls in hand allows you to push down on the ground with your arms to propel yourself forward or upward (or lessen the impact of going downward). Therefore, you’re suddenly able to use your arm muscles to improve your forward movement and shepherd in the support we discussed earlier by taking some pressure off your knees and hips.

While your arms can absorb and mitigate that shock of going downhill – thus saving your knees – they can also fully join the hiking effort when going uphill. In this case, using trekking poles and your arms to push down on the ground will help you get a small but noticeable amount of power pushing you upward. Over the long run, during a strenuous or prolonged climb, this assistance can play a prominent role in your hiking endurance. You’ll also get an arm workout during what is predominantly a leg-only activity.

Trekking Pole Downsides

Now that we’ve covered the benefits, we must balance that information by including a few drawbacks that influence the question: are trekking poles worth it?

Additional Weight and Bulk

A common downside to trekking poles is that they add more bulk and yet another piece of gear to your hiking equipment. Hiking is already a gear-heavy enterprise, and adding even more to the mix can be hard to justify. Specifically, trekking poles need to be stashed in or on your pack when you’re not using them. In this scenario, they’re simply more weight you’re toting around and taking up valuable space in your pack.

Next, wielding trekking poles effectively has a learning curve, and they may feel like a handful when you first start using them. Let’s take a look at this drawback next.

They Can Be a Handful

For many hikers, the thought of no longer having your hands free and available for drinking, bracing on rocks, or adjusting your pack is borderline repulsive. Suddenly acclimating to having your hands engaged during your entire activity can feel strange and alien – and many people avoid using trekking poles for this reason.

This downside becomes especially pronounced on narrow or overgrown trails.

Increased Snag Risk

Using poles for balance and support on the trail may work like a charm on open terrain, but it can become a different story in overgrown areas. Thick shrubbery, bushes, and narrow trails are all a recipe for snagged trekking poles, which can quickly turn them into a hindrance. Very rocky terrain also holds the same dangers. Here, gaps between boulders or smaller rocks are the perfect trekking pole traps.

In all these cases, a snagged trekking pole can be anything from a minor annoyance to a more severe obstacle that upsets your balance.

As with many of our trekking pole downsides, this issue can be mitigated with experience and practice. But once again, that learning curve comes into play, and many hikers decide that trekking poles are not worth this effort.

My Recommendation

After years of working as a hiking and backpacking guide and seeing the full range of hikers, from trekking pole lovers to ardent refusers, I’ve developed the opinion that just about everyone can benefit from a hiking pole or two in most situations.

For the longest time, I was also highly skeptical of trekking poles even when I was carrying ridiculous pack loads as a guide. But a season in the famously rugged White Mountains of New Hampshire shattered that prejudice, and I now fully appreciate that the benefits of trekking poles far outweigh the downsides for the vast majority of circumstances. I now tell my guests, and about everyone who asks, that you can’t go wrong with at least one trekking pole.

A single pole bridges the divide between pros and cons where you still benefit from increased stability and support while mitigating the downsides by still having one hand free and not trying to learn how to wield two new hiking instruments at the same time. Once you’re comfortable with just one trekking pole, perhaps that’s the perfect balance for you or perhaps you’ll take the next step and use a pair. My recommendation here grows dramatically if you tend to suffer from sore knees or poor balance with hiking – you’ll be amazed by the added support! So, for many folks on the fence about trekking poles – just try one.

That said, there are certain situations where trekking poles may not be worth it. Bushwacking – hiking in dense vegetation off-trail – is a perfect example where hiking poles have the potential the get snagged and become a hindrance. Or if you’re a super lightweight hiker and can’t justify adding additional weight to your gear list.

Final Thoughts

So in the end, think about where you’re hiking and if trekking poles have a chance of making that hike easier. If the answer is yes, then I wholeheartedly recommend that you take the plunge and give them a try. If you’re hesitant, then just try a single pole to test the waters and find out if trekking poles are worth it to you. All you need to do now is find a trail, and our favorite hikes near Colorado Springs are a great place to start.

Happy hiking!

Where to See Wildflowers in Colorado Springs

Surrounding the cities of the Colorado foothills are mountain vistas erupting from long stretches of prairie. The sight in itself is astonishing, but it gets even better in the spring. When wildflowers come out to bloom and show their colors after a long winter tucked away, the mountains light up with a vibrance unseen since the year prior. 

Of course, it’s one of the best times of the year to get outside. This list of wildflower hikes in Colorado Springs is a start towards a longer journey of finding every last petal of every last flower and taking in its beauty. And the best part is that you don’t have to look far when seeking out where to see wildflowers in Colorado Springs. With a camera and identification book in hand, it’s time to set out on the trails and see what’s out there.

Garden of the Gods Park

Come springtime, Garden of the Gods has shoots of color popping up in every direction you look. It’s one of the best places to go throughout the entire year, so of course, it makes the list of where to see wildflowers in Colorado Springs. 

This region is perfect for day hiking in Colorado. There are guided walks throughout the day, and you can book hiking tours that will allow you to get a full experience and understanding of flora and fauna along the way. 

The Palmer, Buckskin-Charley, Niobrara, and Bretag Trail loop is an easy four-mile loop throughout the park where you can tour several of the park’s most outstanding features. If you want to get out for some outstanding sights but only have a couple of hours, this is one of the best picks.

Indian paintbrush covers the landscape here along with multiple varieties of wildflowers – such as Colorado blue columbine and bluebells – making it a diverse color scape that can impress anyone who passes through.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Located right on the limits of Colorado Springs, Red Rock Canyon Open Space offers another quick getaway to see some of the most spectacular wildflowers the area has to offer. It’s an easy place to get to and has miles of trails to offer. 

Any combination of the various trails can make a great loop to explore and see a variety of different sights like beautiful rock faces to climb and open fields that just recently lost their snow. You may spot some Arrowleaf balsamroot or Rocky Mountain bee plant amongst the Indian paintbrush and other delicate flowers.

Photo by Kevin Bree on Unsplash

North Cheyenne Cañon Park

Here’s another gem that sits so close to the city but makes you feel like you’ve driven hours to find wilderness. The North Cheyenne Cañon Park is a short ten-minute drive from the heart of Colorado Springs and has wildflowers aplenty to offer anyone who comes looking. 

This park is full of granite cliffs and waterfalls, providing a luscious environment for flowers to grow and thrive. The park is 1,000-feet deep in the granite canyon, following the creek the entire way. The water draws an array of birds and wildlife that makes this park unique. 

The Daniels Pass Trail system is a newer part of the park where you can go deep into the woods and find flowers that have stayed hidden for many years without trails to blaze the way. The Mount Muscoco and the Mount Cutler trails are also great options for getting a higher vantage point and seeing the landscape from a new perspective.

Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak may define the area surrounding Colorado Springs. It was what gold miners looked to when they first made their way west, and today it’s one of the most popular 14ers climbed in the state. Pikes Peak is an easy way to get up high and see wildflowers for miles on end as well as right in front of you on the trail. 

The Elk Park trail will take you along open meadows and a beautiful creek that provides an ample environment for wildflowers of all different types. As you move up the mountain, the flora changes with elevation, which can give you the chance to see an even wider variety of flowers on a single trail. 

Here you’ll find Columbia monkshood, Indian paintbrush, orange Agoseris, mountain bluebells, arctic yellow violet, darkthroat shooting star, and the list goes on. Be sure to bring a wildflower identification guide in order to find as many as possible because this is the spot to tick off a lot of boxes in the hunt to discover them all. 

This is likely the only trail where you’ll find a good amount of snow alongside the wildflowers. It can provide a stark contrast that is unlike many other regions in the area and draws visitors from all around.

Photo by Alexis Gethin on Unsplash

Ute Valley Park

Mere minutes north of downtown Colorado Springs is Ute Valley Park. This hidden gem is surrounded by humanity but can still make you feel as if you’ve left the city. All along the trails of this 538-acre park, you can find a blast of color from the many wildflowers in the area. 

Within the park, you’ll likely see some Mariposa lily blooms, prickly pear cacti, and faerie trumpets that are common in the area. While this park might not offer massive mountains to climb, it’s a fantastic representation of what the area is truly like – all within the city limits.

Best Spring Activities in Colorado Springs

In the Spring, the entire state begins to thaw, which opens up a wide variety of new activities. As things start to warm up and life begins to thrive in the new weather, more and more people travel to the area as spring is undoubtedly the best time to visit Colorado Springs

The spring brings out all of the best in the city as wildflowers start to pop up, the trails dry out, and everyone is enjoying the longer daylight hours. This is a time to get outside and see everything that the area has to offer, so we have brought together some of the best spring activities in Colorado Springs for everyone to enjoy this region as much as we do. 

Wildflower Hunting

Springtime means flowers, and when talking about Colorado Springs, it means many things. This is one of the best things to do in Colorado Springs throughout the year, and the season is upon us! The snow has disappeared and made room for all new life to pop up and dazzle us with its colorful displays. 

Many of the best hikes in Colorado Springs will be covered in wildflowers during this season. Hiking along Pike’s Peak will provide an overview of the area that will let you absorb all of the colors at once. Adding a wildflower identification book to the experience is a great way to learn more about the area and become more engaged during a hike. 

Garden of the Gods

Whenever anyone talks about hiking in the area, it’s guaranteed that Garden of the Gods will come up. This is what the region is best known for, and rightfully so. This Natural Monument is a stunning display of the local geology and is full of trails to guide your experience through the area. 

In the springtime, the red rock stands in front of mountains that are still holding on to the last remnants of winter, making the red pop out even more than it does in the summer. 

guided hike through the Garden of the Gods is one of the best ways to learn about the region’s incredible geological formation and natural features while getting to explore as much as possible. 

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Feeding giraffes isn’t necessarily one of the first things that come to mind when looking at activities in Colorado Springs, but the area offers this unique experience. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is tucked into the side of a mountain overlooking Colorado Springs. There’s an impressive array of different animals that inhabit the zoo, such as Amur leopards, Australian Parakeets, and giraffes. 

After visiting with all the wildlife, you can jump on the Mountaineer Sky Ride that will take you up high to show off the beautiful region in all of its color and glory of spring. 

Photo by Kevin Bree on Unsplash

Colorado Springs Food Tour

While a food tour is one of the best things to do year-round, we love it as an option for things to do in Colorado Springs in the springtime. The city is full of fantastic food and drink locations worth visiting. On a local food tour, you can get a little bit of everything before heading home and letting your belt loose. 

Sprng weather makes for the perfect experience outdoors. You can easily walk around downtown from restaurant to restaurant without sweating heavily or shivering your way down the road. It’s an excellent time to stroll around and digest the most recent meal!

Climb a Fourteener

A Colorado classic for the most adventurous of visitors is to go and climb a fourteener. The term ‘fourteener’ refers to a mountain with an elevation above 14,000 feet. Some of these are challenging hike that requires an early rise and challenging climbs, but Pikes Peak is the easiest, most family-friendly, and closest to Colorado Springs. 

You can hop in the car and be near the summit of Pikes Peak in a matter of hours, but you can also camp along the road at designated campgrounds to make a weekend trip out of the climb.

While the trail is much easier than others, it’s still necessary to make sure you are well-prepared for the hike. Afternoon storms can start in the spring, and you’ll want to make sure you are off the trail in time before the weather rolls in. 

Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is one of the favorite sports for all Colorado locals. If you’re new to the sport, a guided rock climbing tour is the perfect introduction to both the area and the sport. In the spring, the rock is dry, and the colder temperatures provide the ideal climbing climate. 

If you’re an established climber that climbs more than they eat, check out Garden of the Gods, Cheyenne Canyon, and Red Rock Canyon. They’re all in the vicinity and have some world-class climbing that is less frequented than other spots in Colorado. 

Glen Eyrie Castle

Finally, the springtime has everyone feeling on top of the world, so you may as well feel like a king or queen in the Glen Eyrie Castle. The original founding father of Colorado Springs, General William Jackson Palmer, built this massive castle for his wife, but it is now open for tours. 

This Victorian Castle sits on over 700 acres of pristine Colorado land. Several different events are created to provide various unique experiences to the guests. There’s something for everyone at the castle, from tea tours to writing workshops. 

How Early Should I Book My Summer Tours?

Snow is still falling around us, and multiple layers are required to step out the door, but yet, summer is still sneaking up quicker than we can imagine. Thoughts of booking summer outdoor tours in Colorado Springs may seem like dreams of a time unknown rather than something that needs to happen now. 

It’s an easy mistake to make. Putting off booking tours because it doesn’t seem likely that people will make their plans so far in advance is something that only needs to be experienced once to never do again.

Summer in Colorado is one of the most luxurious times and places anyone can find on the entire planet. Tourist season skyrockets, so booking tours needs to happen as soon as possible. 

When to Visit Colorado Springs

Every city has its attractions. Colorado Springs has many things to do, whether in the height of summer or the midst of a long winter. It all depends on the types of activities you like to do. 

The spring and fall offer cooler weather with fewer crowds, while the winter brings about some of the best snowsport terrain. The summer is different, though. Families have lived for the summer.

Remember getting out of school and knowing that you’re on summer break? Name another feeling that comes close to the exhilaration kids feel on the final school bell. It’s hard to match. 

For most, it’s safe to say that summer is a time for going out and being active. We’ve spent our winter hibernating, or at least skiing for a few hours and hustling back in to escape the cold. When the temperature starts to rise and the day gets long, there’s more reason to get out and stay out. 

Summer is the peak of the tourist season for Colorado Springs. People can find activities in every corner of the city and move out of the city limits to find more. Due to the huge level of demand, booking tours early on, maybe as soon as you finish reading this, is important to finding the best outdoor tours in Colorado Springs. 

Sunshine and more sunshine

When kids get out of school and families can take the time to vacation, everyone is out and about. It’s the summer, so people naturally want to find the sunshine and feel the warmth on their skin as they hike out and find gorgeous backdrops for family photos. 

Colorado averages 300 days of sunshine per year. Put that up against almost anywhere else in the United States, and you’ll be glad you’ve chosen Colorado. Temperatures hover between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, making it the ultimate climate for summer travel. 

The only part of the summers in the mountains that needs special attention is the near-daily mountain storm. Up high in the peaks, there’s a large possibility for afternoon storms that roll in and are gone before you can even process the fact that it just rained. With the right amount of planning, you can arrange your day to avoid the high peaks in the afternoon. 

What to do in the Summer in Colorado Springs

With the summer comes a plethora of options, especially for outdoor tours. Colorado Springs is surrounded by natural beauty. One of the best activities to explore the area is getting out and hiking in any local park. Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak will be more crowded in the summer, but they’re spectacular places to visit. 

Summer outdoor tours in Colorado Springs can take you to more isolated places. Local guides know the places to go that are still magnificent but don’t draw as much of a crowd. These guides are one of the few places to get information that can’t be found with a quick Google search. 

Book a tour ahead of time and lock a place in with mountain biking or guided zipline tours to expand upon what the typical family vacation may encompass. Trying something new is always a safe bet in the summer, and it can be reassuring to have a guided tour helping you explore that new activity. 

It’s safe to say that there’s something for everyone to do in the summertime in Colorado Springs. If you’re looking for something outdoorsy and adventurous, there are almost too many options to choose from. Those who feel more drawn to a foodie or city-based adventure will find that the town itself has a ton of local restaurants and shops that are full of energy throughout the summer months.

The summer is full of different festivals like the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Manitou Springs Wine Festival, the Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival, Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo, and the El Paso County Fair. These events are perfect for planning your summer vacation around. Once you’re tired enough from hiking to the summit of Pikes Peak, you can sit back and watch cars do it instead. 

Photo by Ian Baldwin on Unsplash

When to Book Summer Tours

The best time to get a summer reservation with the best outdoor tours in Colorado Springs is now. Spots fill up quickly, and planning the perfect vacation requires a lot of time spent thinking ahead. 

Last-minute bookings with us are difficult to snag. Typically, bookings are completely filled up from Easter all the way until Thanksgiving. With Easter just around the corner, we wanted to remind you to book your tours today and start looking forward to soaking in that Colorado summer sun!

Does Broadmoor Outfitters Run Tours in the Winter?

Colorado is a haven for year-round adventure, but which tour companies run tours through the winter? Is skiing the only option?

Once the snow hits the slopes, it seems like most of the tourism follows suit. The thing is, while the mountains fill up with snow, Colorado Springs actually sees very little snow until the springtime. While the weather can often change and fluctuate, Broadmoor Outfitters aims to run tours all year long. 

So, don’t worry, Broadmoor Outfitters runs tours through the winter season, weather permitting. Read on as we answer some of our most common questions about winter tours in Colorado Springs.

What is winter like in Colorado Springs?

Colorado Spring is well-known for its mild weather during other seasons, and winter is no different. Temperatures are known to range from 17-61 degrees Fahrenheit. The average winter temperature is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so add a little sun and some quality clothing layers, and you’re set! With the lack of moisture in the air, sunny daytime temperatures feel much warmer in the sun, making outdoor recreation not only doable but rather enjoyable. 

Sure, it can get chilly some days, but that’s where planning ahead and preparation come into play. When you are booking outdoor tours during the winter, knowing how to layer properly and spending time looking at the weather forecast will help you prepare. 

Heading into the Pikes Peak area is a really popular choice, and it can be done in the winter. Be aware that going up to Pikes Peak will be much colder than in the city of Colorado Springs. The average high temperature during the winter on Pikes Peak is around 10 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Which tour is the best during the winter?

Although winter is relatively mild in Colorado Springs, we do not run all of our tour options in the winter months. Things like stand-up paddleboarding aren’t very popular when it is 30 degrees outside! 

Many guests enjoy our guided hiking tours during the winter months. When hiking in a new area, especially as a novice hiker, going along with a guide can ease some of the anxieties and help you feel more prepared and comfortable for the journey. 

We run more than our guided hiking tours in the winter, but this is a top choice among Colorado Springs’ visitors. 

Tours up to see Pikes Peak are also feasible in the winter months. Much like other mountain attractions that are open year-round, closures may occur due to weather conditions. 

Why would a tour be canceled?

Other than a cancellation on your end, the main reason a tour is canceled during the winter is due to inclement weather. It is relatively rare that weather gets in our way, but we take precautions when necessary. 

In most cases, tours can be rescheduled, and if we need to cancel due to weather, you will work directly with our team to find a solution that works for you. 


If you have a question about booking a winter tour or you want help choosing the best winter tour in Colorado Springs, contact us directly at +1-719-471-6168 or reserve your tour online.

Best Winter Activities for Families in Colorado Springs

Colorado becomes such a hotspot in the wintertime, and people flock towards the cities as their home base. Colorado Springs is one of the best locations for any family to choose as the spot to come for a winter vacation. It has each and every type of attraction, from underground tours to mountaintops that bring you into the deepest snow. No matter what you choose to do, you won’t come up short of options when figuring out what to do in the winter in Colorado Springs. 

The list we’ve come up with only grazes the surface of winter activities in Colorado Springs. A family could spend the entire winter tucked away in the city and still have places to go and see by the time the thaw comes.

Here’s a list to get your family started. Think of it as a launching point and winter fun as your destination. 

Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash

Best Winter Activities for Families in Colorado Springs

Snowshoeing

One of the most classic winter activities that come along with deep snow is snowshoeing. It’s a traditional mode of travel that goes back thousands of years, but technology has come a long way. 

Today, lightweight snowshoes and designated trails make snowshoeing a fun activity rather than an arduous task to get from one place to another. This can fill an entire day with the family and have even the most energetic kids completely wiped out by the end. 

There are plenty of places to visit in Colorado Springs if you’re looking for prime snowshoeing trails. Mueller State Park has a ton of trails that will take hours to fully cover, Horsethief Park will take you around the Pancake Rocks, and the Barr Trail can take you up Pike’s Peak. These are just a few of the trails found within a short distance from the city. 

Ice Skating

No cheesy Christmas movie is complete without the happy couple skating around the ice rink in the local city park. While you may not be filming a cheesy movie, the same goes for a winter family vacation. 

Ice skating is so much fun for beginners and experts alike. Colorado Springs is home to a variety of indoor and outdoor rinks for the public to try out. Monument Ice Rinks, Sertich Ice Center, and Honnen Ice Center are just a few places to visit. 

Within minutes of getting on the ice, the entire family will be slipping and sliding around, which guarantees to put smiles on everyone’s faces. It can be a humbling experience, but ice skating is a great workout and a ton of fun once you get the hang of it. 

Manitou Springs Hot Springs

It’s an easily agreed-upon fact that hot tubs are one of the best parts of the winter. Finding natural hot springs that allow for a chlorine-free experience increases the value ten-fold. Finding natural hot springs isn’t always easy, and you often have to work for the reward. 

Manitou Springs is located just west of Colorado Springs and is filled with various springs to soak in. This small town makes finding hot springs a simple task and getting in them an even easier one. 

This could be done with the family if the kids are a little wiped out already. It’s the kind of space to take a deep breath and let it out slowly, not a water park to splash around in. Get the family to unwind at the end of the day, or get the body loosened at the beginning.

Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge

The Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge used to be the highest suspension bridge in the world until a bridge in China surpassed it. Today, it is still the tallest bridge in the United States and ranks highly on the list of highest bridges worldwide. Needless to say, if heights are not your thing, maybe stay on land. 

Just a short walk across the bridge is even to take in the dramatic views you can get in the wintertime. It can be astonishing to see the way the snow makes its way down the gorge and to feel so small standing above it. 

The park home to the bridge is also home to ziplines, a sky coaster, bungee jumping, and the newest via ferrata. For those unfamiliar with via ferratas, it’s essentially clipping into metal wires, scaling cliff sides, and looking down at the abyss. Maybe it would be best suited for the family that classifies themselves as highly adventurous. 

Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center

The winter is the best time to visit the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. The center is dedicated to the rescue of wolves, as well as educating the public. The wolves that call this center home are the most active in the winter, which is why we highly recommend putting it on your winter bucket list. 

The Wolf and Wildlife Center is also home to four different foxes. This is an excellent opportunity to throw a bit of education into the mix of other fun on vacation. 

Cave of the Winds Mountain Park

The final destination on our list may be more unexpected in the winter. Why? Because it is completely without snow. That’s what may make it one of the best winter activities in Colorado Springs.

Cave of the Winds Mountain Park is located a short drive west of Colorado Springs in the Pikes Peak region. This complex of intricate caves isn’t just a great relief from the snowy wonderland above ground. It’s full of fascinating geology. The tour takes you through 15 different rooms and on over a half-mile of trails. 

Cave of the Winds also has Christmas Underground, a Christmas celebration full of songs and stories to bring the holiday cheer below ground. It is the perfect thing to do with your family to get that brief escape from the snow without being tucked away in a hotel room. 

Best Time of Year to Visit Colorado Springs

As tourism across Colorado continues to rise, Colorado Springs has become a popular destination during all seasons of the year. However, like any tourist destination, there are peak seasons, shoulder seasons, and off-seasons. 

Are you trying to avoid crowds?

Do you like to whitewater raft?

Are you thinking more of a foodie city tour?

The best time to visit often revolves around the type of activities you like to do, when you have time, and your personal preferences. To match your travel needs, find out when the peak tourist season is as well as our favorite time of the year.

What is the peak tourist season in Colorado Springs?

Like many areas of the United States, summer tends to be the peak tourist season. The reason summer is peak tourist season is because that’s when children are off of school and families can vacation together. There also happens to be some pretty stellar weather for outdoor activities.

Although summer is a beautiful time of the year, summer in Colorado Springs is hot and dry. The average temperatures range from 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is warm but not too hot to stop outdoor activities. In this region of Colorado, summer is also a popular time for festivals and special events, drawing in even more visitors and providing more options for activities.

When visiting at the peak of the summer tourist season, remember that we have afternoon thunderstorms in the mountains. So, hiking in the mountains can be cut short without proper planning. If you’re new to hiking in Colorado, the safest option is to book a hiking tour with experienced guides and locals that can keep tabs on essential things like weather for you. 

If you’re not a fan of crowds, it is a safe bet to steer clear of visiting during the summer months. Overcrowding at popular destinations like Pikes Peak or Garden of the Gods is expected in the summertime, so if you are seeking solitude, try a different time of the year. 

Best time of year to visit Colorado Springs

In our opinion, the best times of the year to visit Colorado Springs are March to May and September to October. The Spring and the Fall still see a decent number of visitors but won’t be as crowded as Summer. 

The temperatures tend to be colder in both shoulder seasons, but they are still quite comfortable for outdoor activities. Visiting Colorado Springs in the shoulder seasons also means fewer crowds and potentially lower prices on lodging and tours. 

Spring in Colorado Springs

Visiting in the Spring is a great option, especially if you are looking for outdoor activities to do. The temperatures range from 45-65 degrees Fahrenheit most days, which is excellent for those that want cool hiking temperatures. 

Another popular attraction during the Spring is the whitewater. With the mountain snow melting, the water rises and quickens in rivers and streams around the area. The higher water levels mean an increase in the opportunity for kayaking and rafting. 

Fall in Colorado Springs

Fall in Colorado Springs has begun to grow in popularity with tourists as many visitors enjoy the fall colors in the mountains. The Fall colors bring in a lot of day-trippers and weekenders, but as the temperatures begin to drop, so do the number of visitors. 

The average temperature in the Fall ranges from 45-70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is decent weather for hiking well through the first weeks of October. One of the best ways to see the Fall colors is to join one of our zip line tours. You’ll get a unique view of the foliage and get the best overlook in the area. 

If a zip line isn’t your scene, the views are still breathtaking when taking a trip up Pikes Peak by car, hiking, or choosing a Cog tour

Photo by Matt Noble on Unsplash

The offseason

While we enjoy the Spring and the Fall for outdoor activities, do not discount Winter vacations in Colorado Springs! Winter in this part of Colorado is not too cold. The average temperatures sit around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When it does snow, the snow tends to melt quickly as well. 

The only catch with visiting in the winter is that some of the hotels and other tourist attractions are closed. So, if you plan to visit in the winter, check-in in advance and book ahead of time to make sure that you can find a hotel during your stay. Plus, the hotels that remain open tend to have much better prices than any other time of the year. 

With more affordable prices in the winter, it is one of the best times to stay at the Broadmoor Hotel. If you love the holidays, you’ll enjoy the city, and the Broadmoor decorated for the season’s festivities. A winter vacation in Colorado Springs is ideal for those that like quiet winter hikes, snowshoeing, and cozy activities like cooking classes, fine arts, and food tours. 

Although it doesn’t tend to be a primary winter sports destination, it is still close enough to take a trip up the pass to ski or snowboard in Vail, Keystone, or Breckenridge. 

How to Layer for Fall Hiking in Colorado

If you are a big hiker or nature enthusiast, you know that fall is arguably the best season for hiking. The energizing nip of crisp air on your face, the colorful foliage as nature buckles down for winter – personally, it’s my favorite time of year. If you are hoping to enjoy fall hiking here in Colorado, you certainly need to know how to layer for hiking. These tips on proper layering techniques will help ensure you are prepared for the weather you might encounter on a fall hike in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

The Principles of Layering for Colorado’s Fall Weather

The first thing to know is that the term ‘layering’ doesn’t mean just wearing more and more clothes. In order to brave the elements and stay comfortable and safe, you need to wear the proper clothes in the proper order. First, the base layer serves to keep you dry when you sweat. Next, the middle layer is insulating to help retain body heat in Colorado’s colder weather. Finally, the outer layer protects against the harsher conditions you may experience on a fall hike.

We’ll start at the base layer and work our way out, so you understand what fabrics are best for each layer. We’ll also learn how to layer for the specifics of fall weather in Colorado and the hikes you are planning. As you likely know, fall in Colorado can range from warm to very cold. The weather can change quickly, and conditions can worsen with no warning. Especially if you are hiking to a higher elevation, say summiting one of the state’s many fourteeners, you will find temperatures and precipitation requiring a much different outfit than what you had on in the parking lot. It’s important to dress and pack well, as you will learn.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The Wicking Base Layer 

You can think of the base layer as the clothing that touches your skin. This is more than just a t-shirt and shorts or a long-sleeved shirt and long underwear. Remember that the base layer also includes underwear (boxers, briefs, bras, and more) and socks.

The main goal of the base layer is to wick away moisture and keep your skin dry. As you know, sweat cools you down, stealing your body heat much faster than a cold breeze. In the hot summer, you may not mind a cotton shirt absorbing and holding your sweat. In the fall and winter, though, cotton is at the top of the “Absolutely Not” list. Seriously, it’s one of the most important hiking safety tips of all time.

Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

The Best Base Layer Materials

The best synthetic fabrics for base layers are polyester and nylon. You likely have these in your closet as your running or exercise clothes. You can go by personal preference, as long as it is ‘moisture-wicking,’ ‘dry-fit,’ or the like. Again, make sure your bras and boxers meet these criteria, too. A great natural fabric, especially for socks, is wool, as it wicks moisture and provides great heat retention. Wool is good for clothing, too, if you are in colder temperatures or hiking Colorado’s many mountains. It will keep you warm without being too heavy, but it also is more expensive than synthetic fabrics.

There are a few different options in terms of the weights of base layers, and you can decide based on the time of year and anticipated weather. No matter what you choose, your base layer should always be moisture-wicking. This layer should also fit snugly against your skin. You don’t want gaps between your skin and the material as it won’t be able to wick sweat away as effectively. A tight but comfortable base layer will keep your skin dry, which in turn will keep you warm and prevent skin irritation, like chafing and blisters.

Base Layering Tips for Colorado’s Fall Weather

Base layers are organized by weight; lightweight or ultra-lightweight for hotter weather and midweight or heavyweight for the colder months. This might mean shorts and a t-shirt in early fall when Colorado temperatures are in the 50s or 60s, and long johns and long-sleeved shirts in late fall when it’ll be in the 30s and 40s on average. Because the weather can change quickly here, especially in the mountains, I prefer to keep my base layer light and carry a heavier middle layer in my day pack.

Remember, the goal of this layer is moisture-wicking, where warmth is the job of the middle layer. That’s why lighter base layers make sense in Colorado’s fall conditions. You can always add more clothes later if the temperature drops up the mountain. The one exception to this is socks. My feet always run cold, so I highly recommend a thick wool sock for fall hikes, ones that cover your ankles! As long as your hiking boots are breathable, your feet will be happily dry and warm.

The Insulating Middle Layer

Next up, it is the job of the middle layer to retain body heat and keep you warm in colder temperatures. Where base layers tend to be stretchy and thin, you’ll recognize your middle layer pieces by their soft and puffy qualities. When shopping, you may see middle layer options listed as ‘soft shells.’ Depending on the weather, you can choose a lighter or heavier option, so it’s a good idea to have multiple middle layer pieces if you are planning on frequent fall hikes in Colorado. 

Photo by lucas Favre on Unsplash

Middle Layer Options for Fall in Colorado

For lighter wear, you might go with a microfleece pullover or hoodie. Fleece is nice because it dries quickly and stays warm. It is also breathable so that you won’t overheat. This is a great option for the early fall in Colorado. However, if it’s windy, you will definitely need an outer shell, or you’ll find the breathability a weakness.

For the colder days, a down jacket is the best middle layer. I am partial to synthetic down, both for the animals and the water resistance. Down insulated jackets don’t hold up well when wet, but they compress better than synthetic down if you need to save space in your pack. If a softshell is all you plan on wearing, I’d recommend one with a hood, so your neck stays warm. In this case, though, you will definitely need to pack a waterproof outer shell, as the fall in Colorado sees rain or snow regularly.

The Defending Outer Layer

Once you’ve got the dry and warm inner layers set, the last part of knowing how to layer for hiking is protecting against the elements. Fall in Colorado can be all over the map in terms of weather conditions, and this outer shell is key for making sure the wind, rain, and snow don’t penetrate and leave you cold and miserable.

Photo by Daniel Lincoln on Unsplash

The Best Outer Layers for Colorado’s Fall Season

For both jackets and pants, you will want waterproof outerwear. Trust me when I say that “water-resistant” is not good enough! If you get caught in a downpour, a water-resistant layer is going to soak and leave you shivering. Also, be sure it has a hood. Rain dripping down your neck and back is truly an uncomfortable and dangerous way to spend a hike.

In addition to water- and wind-proof material, your outer layer should also be breathable. These pieces are more expensive, but if you plan on exploring Colorado’s fall hikes, this feature is a must. Breathable jackets, ones with zippers in the armpits and such, are key for longer hikes because they keep you dry while you work hard. If the inner layers are wicking away moisture, but your outer layer isn’t breathable, the moisture will condense against it and soak your middle layer. You need breathability to allow fresh air to move through and clear out the humidity. 

One final feature of a good outer layer is durability. Since this layer has to brave the elements, you want something that will stand up to a bit of a beating, especially for pants that you’ll sit on, trek through the brush, and more. If your outer layer gets torn, you’ll have leaks when it rains. And with the expensive nature of these clothes, you want to make sure to buy something that is a good investment.

Packing for a Fall Hike in the Rockies

Now that you know the options for layering clothes, let’s talk about how to pack for day hiking in Colorado. Seasoned hikers are always carrying day packs, and it’s not just for the granola bars. 

When you start at the trailhead, you might be in your base layer and outer shell. Mid-fall in Colorado is comfortable, and you might reason that it’ll only be a few hours. But as you hike up the mountain, the weather changes. It will get colder and windier the higher you go, with less protection from surrounding trees. You may even get an unexpected shower or snow flurry. 

Before you leave, always check the weather to know what to expect. Then, pack that insulating middle layer anyway. A light fleece or down jacket won’t take up much room or add much weight, and you will be glad you have it when you need it. Wearing appropriate clothing and knowing how to layer for hiking will keep you comfortable and protected during your hike so you can enjoy mother nature, no matter what weather she brings.

What is Geocaching and Where Can I Do It?

Treasure maps and long-form expeditions to find a secret stash of goods are no longer just for youth ages 3 to 10. Geocaching can be seen as a “grown-up” version of a treasure hunt, and it will take you places you may have never been before.

Not only is it a great form of exercise and exploration, but it also reignites the kid inside of you. Today that may be precisely what we all need.

What is Geocaching?

Yes, a treasure map and exploration sounds great, but that doesn’t tell us exactly what geocaching is. It doesn’t involve digging in random spots to find a buried chest or a compass that points to your one true desire, but rather it gives you a goal to seek out, without compromising the natural integrity of the world around it. Done correctly, it can be enjoyed by hundreds for years on end without making much of an impact at all.

Geocaching is a simple concept made possible and accessible by the technology we all carry around in our pockets. With the Geocaching app, you can find hidden caches just about anywhere around the world, as there are now over 3 million recorded caches worldwide. The sport has become much more popular as a way to get outside and add a bit of flair to your regular daily walk. 

To start, download the Geocaching app, or find a local website that directs you to sites near you. Next, you need to prepare yourself for a long hike that could end up being a long day in the woods. Some geocaches are hidden in downtown, urban areas, while many of them live in more natural environments. You should pack for the unexpected, as geocaching can quickly turn into a true adventure. 

Once you’re out on the trail, you need to channel your powers of observation to spot the camouflaged spot where the geocache lives. Once you find the cache, sign the logbook and add your touch to the cache. Geocaches are most often based on the principle of “take something out, leave something of your own.” 

Getting Started Geocaching

To start, we recommend simply using your smartphone and the Geocaching app. You can buy a GPS unit that will often have geocaching features, but it isn’t fully necessary. Family-friendly geocaching tours are a great way to get started and stoke the entire family for future geocaching adventures. Geocaching for kids builds a sense of adventure and can help to develop helpful skills like navigation. 

Once you have your guidance tech figured out, you can decide on a cache to hunt down from the comfort of your couch. One of the best parts of Geocaching is that you can plan trips around the entire world from a single spot. There are limitless options of where to start as more and more caches are being put out there every day. 

Now that you have a target in mind, you can put in some more prep work. This will not only include packing your backpack for a day hike, but it will also be planning your route to get to the cache. The app will show you where the cache is, but it doesn’t offer you the best route. This means you’ll need to pay attention to the landscape and study how to get to this spot. 

Many caches will not be right off a trail. You’ll need to head off into the forest to find caches that aren’t as commonly found. Remember to take the proper precautions and stay within your experience level. 

Once you’ve found the cache, there are a couple of pieces of etiquette that you need to keep in mind:

  • Grab the cache and examine its contents away from where you found it. Spending too much time where you found it can leave traces that make it too easy for others to discover it, thus removing a lot of the fun. 
  • Sign the logbook and leave a quick note if you want!
  • Take an object (if you want to) only if you are prepared to leave something of equal or greater value. This allows the cache to continue giving to future explorers. 
  • Seal the cache tightly and place it back exactly where you found it so it can wait for the next adventurer to stumble onto it. 
Geocaching with Broadmoor Outfitters in Colorado Springs
A young woman finding a geocache in Colorado Springs

Where can I Geocache in Colorado?

190 countries across the world have geocaches, and over 3 million caches spread out amongst them. Over 22,000 of these caches are located in the state of Colorado. With that many caches out there for you, it makes geocaching a popular sport that can be enjoyed for years without repetition. 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has an extensive list of where you can find caches in the state parks. They encourage visitors to come and explore the area to find the caches and ask that explorers use Leave No Trace methods to leave everything in pristine condition. 

Parks and Wildlife points out that there are potentially hundreds of more caches that have not been documented with them. Colorado Springs alone has thousands of caches on record. These hunts take you up and down the trails and mountains surrounding the beautiful city and have some of the oldest caches in the state. 

So to answer the question more directly, you can Geocache just about anywhere in Colorado. This is a state that is based on exploration and outdoor adventure. When you start Geocaching and eventually catch the bug, you can expand the sport and bring it to even more distant and remote places throughout the state. The explorations and possibilities are endless. 

Are Ziplines Safe for Kids?

Soaring through the air at top speeds connected to a thin wire and a harness brings worry to any parent. It seems unnatural, but as ziplines continue to become more popular, we must ask the question:

Are ziplines safe for kids? 

We understand your concerns. Ziplines are popping up all across the United States, and with them, there are the typical injuries that follow. This doesn’t immediately tell us that ziplines are unsafe, though. It gives us the ability to have the insight to find the right ziplines for kids.

Every company follows similar, but often different, rules and regulations for ziplines. This means becoming familiar with the guidelines you’ll want to look out for when choosing a place to zipline. To help you do that, we’ll break down ziplines and talk about how they work and their history.

Image by Dragan Tomić from Pixabay

A Brief History of the Zipline

Ziplines were first used to move goods across huge expanses of open air. They originated in mountain communities where moving food or supplies over a river took ages without any form of help. Stringing up a line meant an easy delivery across even the most treacherous terrain. Soon, humans also used the lines rather than face the dangerous swim ahead of them. 

Since their first uses, ziplines have come a long way. One of the largest regulators of zipline codes is the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT). The ACCT certifies challenge courses and ziplines across the world with a strict code of safety regulations. 

Even with these regulations available worldwide, there are shoddy designs and backdoor businesses that you need to look out for as a parent. Zipline systems have moved from a slow crawl across a ravine to a high-speed flight across tremendous gaps in jungles. With the increased risk, there needs to be an increase in safety measures. Luckily, plenty of people are working to fill in the safety gaps and instill a culture of safety. 

Zipline Safety

According to the ACCT, the chances of a zipline breaking are one in a billion. With the proper construction, equipment, and training, a zipline course for kids will be one of the safer activities out there. There is an inherent risk in any adrenaline-seeking activity, but following the proper guidelines can ease the worried mind of parents. 

The ACCT has been taking on the most problematic part of ziplines: the lack of consistent guidelines.

The American National Standards Institute accredited ACCT’s zipline standards, moving the push for consistent regulations forward. While it is often an issue handled on a state-to-state basis, looking for a zipline built by and running on these standards is a great and easy place to start. 

Of course, the safety of sending yourself careening over a large valley at 45 miles per hour is still something to question. No matter the regulations, it can be nerve-racking. With these kinds of activities, we are fighting our human instinct to protect ourselves. To overcome that fear and self-protection, learning about the systems is the best possible way forward. 

Construction and Inspection

The ACCT accredits certain vendors to go out and build challenge courses and ziplines for any company. These vendors are certified to construct courses on-site and often are in charge of training the on-site staff. This is one of the largest factors that anyone concerned about the safety of a course should consider before strapping in and jumping blindly. 

Experiential Systems is another nationwide inspector of ziplines. Any safe zipline course Colorado has to offer will be looked at by the state-based inspection service. They also provide training for instructors that will further ensure the safety of any participant on a zipline. 

Before you send your child off any zipline course, ask for proof of who constructed the zipline and inspected it most recently. These inspections need to be done consistently. Ziplines are most often outdoors, which exposes them to the weather that can slowly decrease safety levels. When an inspection is done, any problem found must be fixed before the operation can resume. 

Image by patrick gantz from Pixabay

Safety Equipment

Just like riding a bike, there are easy ways to avoid most injuries that can occur while on a zipline. While most organizations will provide the proper safety equipment. Familiarize yourself with what is considered the “right” safety equipment. 

The two most essential pieces of gear on a zipline course will be your harness and your helmet. There is also the trolley and tether connected via carabiners, but most of these are in place and much less susceptible to human error. 

Most harnesses are capable of holding over 2000 pounds of weight. At Broadmoor, the weight limit is 250 pounds (with a minimum weight of 90 pounds), so there is nothing to worry about if you are wearing a harness correctly. Listen to the instructors and ensure that all of the harness straps are tightened down.

Nowadays, it’s not a bad idea to wear a helmet to the grocery store. So, naturally, you will wear a helmet while flying through the air at 45 mph. These courses are built inside of the trees where branches will grow in the way of the zipline or can fall from above you. A helmet is the best way to protect yourself. Make sure your child is wearing a helmet. Maybe not at the grocery store, but most definitely on a zipline. 

Training

The final, and arguably the most important, standard to examine when looking for a good zipline course for kids is the training every instructor has received. You can easily get this information by asking the company or camp your kid will be ziplining with. 

There are a couple of different levels of certification that you can be aware of. The ACCT does a great job of offering these trainings and training other companies in instructor training. Your guides should at the very least have a Level I or Level II Practitioner Certification. You can also keep your eye out for a Certified Challenge Course Manager or any Professional Ropes Course Association certifications. These expand beyond just a zipline but often include that Level I or II Practitioner Certification. 

So, are Ziplines Safe? 

Well, “safe” is a problematic guarantee when looking at activities with any inherent risk involved.

Can this, or really anything, be 100% safe? No.

Can we, and do we, consider every professional piece of advice there is to keep our participants as safe as possible? Yes. 


Ensure you are choosing a zipline tour that has followed proper regulations and guidelines. The strict certifications and procedures that are the industry best are the safest place to start, which is precisely what we do here at Broadmoor.