Saddle Up for a Western Tour of the Pikes Peak Region - Visit Colorado Springs Blog

Saddle Up for a Western Tour of the Pikes Peak Region

Strap on your boots for a Western adventure that will transport you back to centuries past

From gold mining and American Indian tribes to cowboy potlucks, historic trains and trolleys, the Pikes Peak region is rich in Western history. The region’s Wild West roots have been preserved through its attractions, artifacts and museums.

Get Out and Explore

Looking for hands-on Western adventures? These attractions and historic sites bring you authentic experiences and activities the whole family can enjoy.

Enjoy dinner and a chuckwagon show at the newly reopened Flying W Ranch.

Destroyed by the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012, the Flying W Ranch now rides again. Beginning as a mountain cattle ranch in 1947, it’s a living symbol of Western heritage. Chow down on a three-course BBQ feast and sing along with the Flying W Wranglers.

  • Accessibility note: ADA-compliant facility but the area is not paved. Expect gravel parking lot and walkways.

Hop aboard the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Route Railroad.

Experience scenic wonders on a century-old locomotive that transports you back to the gold mining days of the region.

  • Accessibility note: Perfect for a variety of riders with accommodations for wheelchair accessibility. Call ahead to let the staff know.

Head inside the Manitou Cliff Dwellings.

Discover the architecture of the ancient Ancestral Puebloans. The structures date back more than 700 years and were relocated in the early 1900s and transformed into the museum.

  • Accessibility note: The entrance to the cliff dwellings is wheelchair accessible by ramp from the parking lot. From that point, the entire front of the dwellings can be seen. Because of the slope of the dwellings, the steps and narrow passages inside, the dwellings themselves are not accessible to wheelchairs. Limited access to restrooms, museum and gift shop. Those in wheelchairs receive free admission.

Take a Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Tour.

Not for the claustrophobic. Descend 1,000 feet underground and experience the only vertical shaft gold mine tour. You’ll ride in an underground tram air locomotive while experiencing the sights and sounds of mining.

  • Accessibility note: Less than a quarter mile of flat and level walking required.

Experience the evolving history of Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site.

The ranch’s story begins with the American Indians. The site provided the Ute a base camp, with the Ute Trail passing through Garden of the Gods and the Ranch site. You’ll learn more about the different living history sites at Rock Ledge Ranch while experiencing the daily lives of the people who lived, worked, hunted, herded and raised families on this land.

  • Accessibility note: There are many structures, paths and entrances that are more than a century old and built before the adoption of current accessibility standards. While some areas don’t fully comply with ADA standards, the ranch strives to make the museum as universally accessible as possible.

Go on an interpretive hike at Vindicator Valley Trail in Victor.

This wide, gravel loop with a small climb will give you views of the Sangre de Cristo mountains while providing you with history of the mines and people who lived there. You’ll encounter several old mines along the way.

  • Accessibility note: The trail is two miles in length and composed of gravel with a steady but mild climb.

Brush Up on Your History

Interested in checking out artifacts, reading about pioneers and speaking with historians? After visiting these museums, you’ll basically have a history degree!

Cripple Creek Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum

Relive the outlaw days of the Wild West, dating back to the late 1800s. The jail was never short of occupants, holding local burglars, robbers, highwaymen and other minor criminals. In its original incarnation, it was also used to hold more serious offenders, including Robert Curry (aka Bob Lee), a member of the Wild Bunch gang.

  • Accessibility note: Limited accessibility with stairs out front to the entrance and stairs inside to get to some of the cells.

Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

Take a guided or self-guided, educational tour and learn what led to migration to and settlement in the Pikes Peak region.

  • Accessibility note: All exhibits are wheelchair accessible.

Ghost Town Museum

Check out the preserved town complete with authentic artifacts rescued from the region. The museum was created in 1954 to preserve a piece of Colorado’s Wild West heritage.

  • Accessibility note: Full accessibility with ramps, please note that boardwalks are bumpy.

Pikes Peak Trolley Museum

Founded in 1982, the Pikes Peak Trolley Museum preserves the history and artifacts of the Pikes Peak region’s street railways. Check out vintage trolleys from the early 1900s, as well as the 1888 Rock Island Railroad Roundhouse.

  • Accessibility note: Mostly accessible, some areas of gravel and grass in the outdoor areas.

Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy

The museum educates the public about the history of rodeo and impact on Western American culture, including recognition to rodeo notables of the past and present. Learn about the cowboys and cowgirls of years past.

  • Accessibility note: The facility and exhibits are ADA accessible.

Western Museum of Mining & Industry

Open since 1970, the WMMI is committed to preserving and interpreting the rich mining history of Colorado and the American West. Explore a walk-through mine shaft, 1895 steam engine and more machines and artifacts from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

  • Accessibility note: The museum is accessible for the most part, but one section, the mine replica, is doable but may be awkward for those in a wheelchair. Handicap-accessible parking is available. Service animals are allowed with appropriate documentation.