City Escape: Colorado Springs, CO

Text: Tim Kessel • Photography: Tim Kessel

This scenic loop west of Colorado Springs includes some great small towns and miles of tree-lined splendor. Some iconic mountains and rock formations are mixed in for good measure. The ride is best made from late spring through early fall. Rocky Mountain weather is, to say the least, variable, so you should pack the full range of gear.

Length

Approximately 140 miles

Meet-up Spot

Over Easy, 28 S Tejon St, Colorado Springs, CO 

Lunch Stop

Whitewater Bar & Grill has good food and a pleasant outdoor eating area that makes it a great stop for motorcyclists. Find it at 45045 Hwy 50 West, Cañon City, CO, (719) 269-1009.

Scenery

When you think Colorado, you probably think evergreen forests and snowcapped mountains. On this route, you get that and much more. Grasslands, rock formations, lakes, and streams are all on the map. An added bonus is that the impressive Pikes Peak towers in the distance for much of the ride. 

Traffic 

Traffic is generally moderate. Around Colorado Springs and its attractions, the traffic can be heavy. The farther south and west you go, the lighter it is. 

Difficulty

Wildlife is a major factor, and constant vigilance is in order. In many places, narrow roads full of corners add to the fun and the difficulty. 

Road Conditions

This escape consists of a wide variety of tarmac types and conditions. The variability of the asphalt colors and textures, especially on High Park Road, can be challenging. While potholes and cracks are not a constant issue, they are present. The road is in good condition in other parts. 

Points of Interest

  1. Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Many people think this is just a great campground. However, it is perfect for a stop-in. It has a network of interconnected trails that offer panoramic views. The range of wildlife that can be encountered is also remarkable. cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/cheyennemountain
  2. Skyline Drive. This short, one-way road is a must-ride for motorcyclists. It is reminiscent of the famed Hogsback in southern Utah, as it follows the ridge of a mountain for much of its length. The views are awe-inspiring, so take it slow and enjoy them. The road was originally built by inmates in the early 1900s. www.royalgorgetravel.com/skyline-drive
  3. Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. The Royal Gorge is a majestic and intriguing canyon, and the bridge that spans it is an amazing feat of engineering. This short excursion off the route is a highlight. The extremely narrow and deep canyon was cut by the Arkansas River and has a depth of 1,250 feet. www.royalgorgebridge.com
  4. Cripple Creek. This remote, historic mining town conjures visions of Old West gambling, gunfights, and the golden hopes of grizzled miners. Don’t expect a lazy little ghost town. Cripple Creek is a bustling tourist destination. You can get your fill of casino gaming, ghost tours, mining relics, and historic architecture. www.visitcripplecreek.com
  5. Mueller State Park. The park’s 5,000 acres offer up fantastic rock formations, abundant wildlife, and lush forests. It sits in the shadow of Pikes Peak and features superb hikes of various lengths and difficulty levels. cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/mueller