For information on the city’s parks and programs, contact the Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Department (tel. 719/385-5940; www.springsgov.com). Most of the state and federal agencies concerned with outdoor recreation are headquartered in Denver. There are branch offices in Colorado Springs for Colorado State Parks, 2128 N. Weber St. (tel. 719/471-0900; www.parks.state.co.us); the Colorado Division of Wildlife, 4255 Sinton Rd. (tel. 719/227-5200; www.wildlife.state.co.us); and the U.S. Forest Service, Pikes Peak Ranger District of the Pike National Forest, 601 S. Weber St. (tel. 719/636-1602).
You can get hunting and fishing licenses at many sporting-goods stores, as well as at the Colorado Division of Wildlife office listed above.
Aerial Sports -- The Black Forest Soaring Society, 24566 David C. Johnson Loop, Elbert, CO 80106 (tel. 303/648-3623; www.soarbfss.org), some 50 miles northeast of Colorado Springs, offers glider rides, rentals, and instruction. Rides start at about $100 for a 15-minute ride; rentals (to those with gliding licenses) and instruction are also available. Advance reservations are required.
The area’s commercial ballooning companies include High but Dry Balloons, 4164 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., #146, Colorado Springs, CO 80918 (tel. 719/260-0011; www.highbutdryballoons.com), for tours, champagne flights, and weddings. Sunrise flights are scheduled daily year-round, weather permitting. Cost depends on the number of passengers, locations, and type of flight, but start at about $200 per person. Generally, flights last 2 or 3 hours, with a minimum of 1 hour. On Labor Day weekends since 1977, the Colorado Springs Balloon Classic (tel. 719/471-4833; www.balloonclassic.com) sees over 100 hot-air balloons launched from the city’s Memorial Park. Admission is free.
Ballooning -- The area’s commercial ballooning companies include High but Dry Balloons ([tel] 719/260-0011; www.highbutdryballoons.com), for tours, champagne flights, and weddings. Sunrise flights are scheduled daily year-round, weather permitting. Cost depends on the number of passengers, locations, and type of flight, but start at about $200 per person. Generally, flights last 2 or 3 hours, with a minimum of 1 hour. On Labor Day weekends since 1977, the Colorado Springs Balloon Classic ([tel] 719/471-4833; www.balloonclassic.com) sees over 100 hot-air balloons launched from the city’s Memorial Park. Admission is free.
Bicycling -- Aside from the 4.3-mile loop trail around Monument Valley Park, there are numerous other urban trails for bikers. You can get information at the city’s Visitor Information Center. For rentals ($30 per day), contact Colorado Springs West Bikes, 2403 W. Colorado Ave. (tel. 719/633-5565).
Fishing -- Most serious Colorado Springs anglers drive south 40 miles to the Arkansas River or west to the Rocky Mountain streams and lakes, such as those found in Eleven Mile State Park and Spinney Mountain State Park on the South Platte River west of Florissant. Bass, catfish, walleye pike, and panfish are found in the streams of eastern Colorado; trout is the preferred sport fish of the mountain regions.
Angler’s Covey, 295 S. 21st St. (tel. 800/75-FISHN [753-4746] or 719/471-2984; www.anglerscovey.com), is a specialty fly-fishing shop and a good source of general fishing information for southern Colorado. It offers guided half- and full-day trips ($295 for one person for a full day, or $350 for two; half-days are also available), as well as state fishing licenses, rentals, flies, tackle, and clinics.
Golf -- Public courses include the Patty Jewett Golf Course, 900 E. Española St. (tel. 719/385-6950); and Valley Hi Golf Course, 610 S. Chelton Rd. (tel. 719/385-6917; www.valleyhigolfcourse.com). Nonresident greens fees range from $28 to $30 for 18 holes (not including a cart). Pine Creek Golf Club, 9850 Divot Trail (tel. 719/594-9999; www.pinecreekgc.com), is another public course, with greens fees of $34 to $54 for 18 holes.
The finest golf courses in the Colorado Springs area are private. Guests of the Broadmoor hotel can play the 54-hole Broadmoor Golf Club (tel. 719/577-5790), and guests at Cheyenne Mountain Resort can play its resident Pete Dye course (tel. 719/538-4000).
Hiking -- Opportunities abound in municipal parks and Pike National Forest, which borders Colorado Springs to the west. The U.S. Forest Service district office can provide maps and general information (see address and phone number above).
Especially popular are the 7.5-mile Waldo Canyon Trail, with its trail head just east of Cascade Avenue off U.S. 24; the 6-mile Mount Manitou Trail, starting in Ruxton Canyon above the hydroelectric plant; and the 12-mile Barr Trail to the summit of Pikes Peak. (The latter's first stretch, the Manitou Incline, gains about 2,100 ft. over the first mile.) There are 13 miles of trails in the new Red Rock Canyon Open Space, just south of U.S. 24 and west of Manitou Springs. Mueller State Park (tel. 719/687-2366), 3 1/2 miles south of Divide en route to Cripple Creek, has 50 miles of trails.
Horseback Riding -- You'll find good opportunities at city parks, including Garden of the Gods, North Cheyenne Cañon Park, and Palmer Park, plus Mueller State Park. The Academy Riding Stables, 4 El Paso Blvd., near the Garden of the Gods (tel. 888/700-0410 or 719/633-5667; www.academyridingstables.com), offers guided trail rides for children and adults by reservation ($49 for 1 hr.).
Ice-Skating -- The Mark “Pa” Sertich Ice Center at Memorial Park (tel. 719/385-5983) is open daily and offers prearranged instruction and rentals. (Admission is $5.25–$6.25; skate rentals are $3.) The U.S. Olympic Complex operates the Colorado Springs World Arena Ice Hall, 3185 Venetucci Blvd. (tel. 719/477-2150; www.worldarena.com), with public sessions daily. Admission is $2 to $4; skate rentals are $2. If you have hockey equipment, you can join a pickup game ($7); call for times. To get there, take I-25, exit 138, go west on Circle Drive to Venetucci Boulevard, and go south to the arena.
Mountain Biking -- There are abundant mountain-biking opportunities in the Colorado Springs area; contact the U.S. Forest Service for details (see address and phone number in the introduction to the section). From May to early October, Challenge Unlimited, 204 S. 24th St. (tel. 800/798-5954 or 719/633-6399; www.bikithikit.com), hosts fully equipped, guided rides for every level of experience. Your guide on the 19-mile ride down the Pikes Peak Highway, from the summit at 14,110 feet to the tollgate at 7,000 feet, presents an interpretation of the nature, history, and beauty of the mountain. Participants must be at least 10 years old; advance reservations are recommended. Rates are $45 to $135 per person. For rentals ($40 per day), contact Colorado Springs West Bikes, 2403 W. Colorado Ave. (tel. 719/633-5565).
River Rafting -- Colorado Springs is 40 miles from the Arkansas River near Cañon City. Several licensed white-water outfitters tackle the Royal Gorge. Echo Canyon River Expeditions, 45000 U.S. 50 W., Cañon City, CO 81212 (tel. 800/755-3246 or 719/275-3154; www.raftecho.com), offers half-day to 3-day trips on “mild to wild” stretches of river. The company uses state-of-the-art equipment, including self-bailing rafts. Costs range from $49 (half-day, adult) to $899 for a 6-day expedition. Arkansas River Tours, P.O. Box 337, Cotopaxi, CO 81223 (tel. 800/321-4352 or 719/942-4362; www.arkansasrivertours.com), offers white-water trips of lengths from a quarter of a day to a full day for $32 to $110, and 3-day trips for $259 to $395.
Skiing & Snowboarding -- The closest downhill slopes are at Monarch Mountain (tel. 888/996-7669 or 719/530-5000; www.skimonarch.com), about 120 miles southwest near Salida off U.S. 50. The 800-acre resort is friendly and a good place for beginners, but it has enough steep runs -- and good enough snow, some of the best in the state -- to make it fun for everybody. The 63 trails break down 14% beginner, 28% intermediate, and 58% advanced/expert. Lift tickets cost $54 for adults; children 6 and under and seniors 69 and over ski free.
Swimming & Tennis -- Many city parks have pool or lake swimming, for which they charge a small fee, and free tennis courts, although budget cuts in 2010 took their toll and shuttered several facilities. Contact the Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Department (tel. 719/385-5940) for current locations and hours.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.