The Cave of the Winds Mountain Park is one of the most captivating natural sights in all of Colorado Springs, and is one of the longest-running attractions in the area. No matter what time of year you are planning your visit, this makes for a great destination.

The Cave of the Winds gets its name from the native Jicarilla Apache people, who lived in the Pikes Peak region long ago and passed around legends of a cave that was home to the “Great Spirit of the Wind” In 1869, the signature limestone archway of the cave was discovered by settlers, and not long afterward in 1881, the cave was opened up for public exploration.

Today, the cave is open during two separate “seasons,” the peak season between Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend, and the offseason between September and May. Tours run longer during the peak season, but there may also be longer waits, especially during the summer. Don’t be surprised if summer travelers have to wait between buying their tickets and taking a tour of this popular attraction.

As far as tours, go, you have three different options, so everyone can have a chance to see the striking caverns and geological formations. The Discovery Tour is best-suited for families, and is a roughly 45-60 minute guided tour of the Cave of The Winds, which includes 15 rooms and an explanation of the cave’s geology and history from one of the guides. The Lantern Tour is a 90-minute experience that is a little more intensive, going into the unimproved Manitou Grand Caverns. Expect dark and narrow tunnels, uneven stairs, and muddy floors on your untamed adventure.

For those who really want a one-of-a-kind experience, the Caving 101 trek teaches some basics of spelunking in the unimproved caverns. Spend nearly a mile crawling and climbing while learning about the history of the cave during a 2-2.5 hour tour.

However, there are also plenty of activities for the whole family above the ground as well. Check out the Virtual Reality Theater, or seek out new thrills with rides like the Terror-Dactyl, which launches brave riders nearly 150 feet into a canyon at speeds of almost 100 miles an hour.

Other above-ground attractions include the Wind Walker Challenge Course as well as the Bat-A-Pult, a unique take on classic ziplining that actually pulls you back up to the top after you zipline to the bottom.

Next, the beauty of Garden of the Gods.

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