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Colorado: Rocky Mountain High

Experience the heights of Olympians and follow the trails of Gold Rush treasure seekers. This trip will show you a side of Colorado that remains as beautiful as it is wild.

Drive 202 miles, 3 hours, 11 minutes

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

1. Colorado Springs

Starting Point

Colorado Springs is composed of artists, historians, high-flying military personnel and Olympians who call this individualistic western city “home.” Learn what it takes to fly with the best at the U.S. Air Force Academy and find out what’s required for cadets to earn their wings. Don’t miss the all-faith Cadet Chapel, designed with 17 awe-inspiring spires that soar into the sky. Come back down to earth at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, where aspiring champions hone their skills in state-of-the-art facilities. Take the 45-minute tour of the complex, which includes the Olympic Visitor Center.


Garden Of the Gods RV Resort
Colorado Springs, CO
(800) 248-9451

2 . Cripple Creek

44.9 miles, 1 hour

Relive the Gold Rush era in Cripple Creek, home to one of the largest gold strikes in U.S. history. Here, you’ll discover how 8,000 miners extracted more than 22 million ounces of gold from 500 mines to produce 30 regional millionaires. Descend 1,000 feet below ground for a first-hand look at the Mollie Kathleen Mine. Discover mining machines and equipment used during the Rush at Victor’s Gold Camp Ag and Mining Museum, then it’s all aboard the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad for a trip through historic mining country.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

3. Nathrop

79.8 miles, 1 hour, 35 minutes

Nathrop serves as a tranquil basecamp for a slew of outdoors adventures. To the west, several historic structures preserve the history of St. Elmo, one of Colorado’s most intriguing ghost towns. In its Gold Rush heyday, this area boasted 150 mines. Stop in the St. Elmo General Store for everything from antiques to yard art. After a busy day of hiking or off-roading, soak in the soothing Mount Princeton Hot Springs, where therapeutic waters bubble out of the ground at 135 degrees. At the nearby town of Salida, Captain Zipline offers high-flying aerial adventures for every member of the family.

4. Cañon City

77.3 miles, 1 hour, 26 minutes

Cañon City offers turn-of-the-century architecture and a comfortable Western atmosphere. Here, you can pull up your cowboy boots and mosey downtown for a walking tour featuring 40 turn-of-the-century historical buildings. Visit the Museum of Colorado Prisons for a look back at 140 years of prison life. Check out working and living conditions, isolation cells and the hangman’s noose, then learn about the infamous prisoners who were held here. Take a nighttime ghost tour to learn about the city’s legendary past and find out who haunts the historic Hotel St. Cloud. For a more “spiritual” experience, check out ghost tours at the Abbey, a former monastery.