In east central Colorado, the mountainous El Paso County offers rock-inspired outdoor opportunities among other attractions.
In fact, its views of Pikes Peak and the Front Range are only some of my favorite features of the county.
It got its name from a Spanish word that means Ute Pass, which resides just a few miles north of Pikes Peak.
The mild climate of the county also serves as a bonus, making my visit to its cities more interesting and comfortable.
Its county seat, Colorado Springs, has a plethora of stops, including unique museums and top-notch theme parks with natural features.
This Texas of the Rockies is also the most populous county in Colorado.
If all these don't convince you that this county is worth exploring, then maybe you'll like knowing the best things to do in El Paso County, Colorado, for your trip.
Read on to know more about my adventures, so you can start your own, too.
Marvel at the Scenery at The Broadmoor Seven Falls
You are not experiencing El Paso County the right way without a stop at The Broadmoor Seven Falls.
This notable attraction is only one among many that I feel lucky to have visited and will visit again if given the chance.
This series of waterfalls has been a renowned attraction since the 1880s.
And for good reason, too!
I got to enjoy breathtaking views of the seven falls along a 0.8-mile road and up 224 steps.
The boxed canyon holding together all the waterfalls comes between the Pillars of Hercules—also another feature I enjoyed.
The rock formations are also remarkable in their own right.
The Broadmoor Seven Falls is in the city of Colorado Springs, specifically accessible via Lower Gold Camp Road.
Join a Public Show in the U.S. Air Force Academy Planetarium
One of El Paso County's notable structures is the U.S. Air Force Academy, a service academy for aspiring cadets wishing to join the AirForce.
It comes with open-to-the-public landmarks and buildings.
One of these is the U.S. Air Force Academy Planetarium.
This STEM-centered facility is one that remains unforgettable to me because of its IMAX technology and free public show viewings.
I enjoyed the surround-sound features and high-resolution projection; these made my deep dive into astronomy more exciting.
Seats are on a first-come-first-serve basis.
The facility also hosts group visits and school trips.
The U.S. Air Force Academy Planetarium sits along Cadet Drive.
Choose from a Variety of Beer at JAKs Brewing Company
For a more laid-back hang-out experience, nothing can go wrong with a stop by JAKs Brewing Company.
One of Peyton's points of pride, this local brewery considers itself a place full of aggressive beer choices.
I would have to agree.
On top of the delectable craft beer, the taproom also had a comfortable atmosphere, so I had no problems relaxing with my pint.
The Blonde Bombshell is my personal favorite, but the other ales up for selection are good, too.
The place is also pet-friendly, so if you're planning to visit, you can do so with your dog!
You can reach JAKs Brewing Company when you drive by Stapleton Drive.
Go on a Hike along the Regional Trail at Fountain Creek Regional Park
Up for a bit of hiking and traveling by foot?
I highly recommend Fountain Creek Regional Park.
This attraction comes in a 460-acre property and outstanding nature and manmade amenities.
Among the amenities I liked the most are the park's peaceful picnic areas and informative interpretive displays of the park's ponds and riparian habitats.
The nature center onsite is a good spot to know more about the wildlife present within the park.
Its regional trail follows Fountain Creek, which offered a refreshing hike for me when I tried it out.
Fountain Creek Regional Park sits along Duckwood Road.
Mainly residing within the Fountain community, the park serves to bridge Fountain and Colorado Springs.
Discover More about Bugs and Insects at May Natural History Museum
May Natural History Museum is exceptional in its own eclectic way.
Through the efforts of a man named John May, this museum came to be in 1947.
And it has come a long way in offering more than his father's exotic collection which started the whole museum.
With about 7,000 insects and bugs on display, I had fun learning about familiar tropical butterflies and even other species I do not know of until my visit.
I also felt chills down my spine browsing through deadly scorpions and their history.
I loved that every display is in an organized order, so I didn't struggle to find insects that I wanted to learn more about.
Outside, the largest structure of the beetle Dynastes Hercules offers an enthusiastic welcome.
Located along Rock Creek Canyon Road, May Natural History Museum is in the community of Rock Creek Park.
Cool Down by the Springs at Seven Minute Mineral Spring
This aesthetically-pleasing landmark comes with a fascinating history that I had a fun time learning.
With its rustic setting, this historic property was once a hit among the community in the 30s and 40s.
Though it had undergone various renovations and remodelings, its mineral spring remains functional today.
I also enjoyed its sculpture garden, which boasts a multitude of artworks and statues, as well as its amphitheater nearby.
There's a reason this spot is a crowning jewel of the municipality.
You can find Seven Minute Mineral Spring on Washington Avenue.
Check Out the Miniature Art Models at the Michael Garman Museum & Gallery
Its centerpiece, Magic Town, is a miniature replica of an urban neighborhood inspired by Garman's trips all over Buenos Aires and Francisco.
I could only gasp in surprise at the use of holograms and lighting to make the town move and portray real-life scenes.
The Cityscape was also an eye-opener to the beauty of life mostly unseen in large cities and metros.
Alongside the town, the gallery also has American hero figurines—all hand-sculpted!
There's more to see and admire, and admission costs less than you would expect!
The Michael Garman Museum & Gallery opens its doors for you on West Colorado Avenue.
Admire the Rock Formations at Garden of the Gods
This public park is notable for its sandstone rock formations and dramatic views of jutting landscapes all around.
At over 1,000 acres, you might think this park comes with a modest entrance fee.
But it's completely free, which came as a huge surprise to me, too!
I found it fun to traverse along the trails of the park on foot, but if you prefer to be more relaxed, there are segway and vehicle tours.
I also learned a lot of things at the Geo-Trekker Theatre of the park's Nature Center.
To complete my trip, I bought myself a cute souvenir from the gift shops, and I urge you to do the same.
I also encourage you to come by during winter; the snow-capped surroundings are beautiful all on their own.
Garden of the Gods is a staple along North 30th Street.
Spot Birds and Other Wildlife within the Beauty of Bluestem Prairie Open Space
Need somewhere quiet and tranquil but also vast and nature-focused?
Then, I recommend Bluestem Prairie Open Space.
This preserve in the suburb of Security-Widefield is about 650 acres large.
Mainly featuring prairie land, this park is home to several native vegetation and wildlife.
I liked the open space and stretching land of prairies ahead, and I even got to spot a few birds while on my hike.
I might have gotten lost a few times, but the view was worth it.
I don't mind getting lost again on my next visit to this spot.
Welcome your nature adventure to Bluestem Prairie Open Space on Goldfield Drive.
Dive Deep into History and Architecture at Miramont Castle Museum
As a fan of art and architecture, I was more than delighted to see these two come together in a historical backdrop at Miramont Castle Museum.
This rustic 1895 chateau stands in the midst of breathtaking vistas of the Rocky Mountains.
But what I liked most about the mansion is its fusion of architectural elements inside and outside.
Each of the four stories takes inspiration from famous designs of that time, including Romanesque, Byzantine, Moorish, and many more!
Stepping inside the place is like stepping back in time.
I also had a majestic time exploring the property's gardens out in the back.
Add this stop to your itinerary—you won’t regret it!
Miramont Castle Museum is on Capitol Hill Avenue in the municipality of Manitou Springs.
Reel in Native Fishes at Monument Lake
For a water-based adventure, try out Monument Lake.
Open year-round, this small lake has become one of my favorite spots in El Paso County.
I had fun venturing into the waters with a motorized boat.
If you're planning to ride a boat too, just take note that there are no ramps, so hand launching is the only course of action.
During my visit, many also tried out fishing.
Do you think this lake is good enough to be part of your itinerary?
Monument Lake is west of the town center in the beautiful community of Monument.
Take a Picture of the Colorful Nature Exhibits at Paint Mines Interpretive Park
Paint Mines Interpretive Park offers a colorful adventure in between open spaces in El Paso County.
It depicts clays of varying colors that the early settlers used to create paint.
With erosion and oxidation, the clay rocks have formed jagged features and exposed layers of jasper beneath.
This park also features uneven terrain that I surprisingly liked because of the contrast it offered to the otherworldly clays.
I also liked that there are interpretive displays and hiking trails that you can traverse for different perspectives on these rocks.
Paint Mines Interpretive Park is on Paint Mine Road.
This colorful landmark is in the town of Calhan.
Discover More about Military Heritage at the 4th Infantry Division Museum
The 4th Infantry Division Museum combines history and military heritage in one well-rounded center.
This museum offers the interesting past of the military division from the early year of 1917 up until the present.
I was able to meditate and self-reflect on the sacrifices made by some of our fallen soldiers, whose names are still up within the monuments of the museum.
The historical artifacts and military warfare models also added to the charm of this quaint center.
The staff was knowledgeable, and I found the tour interesting enough to want to visit again.
Find the 4th Infantry Division Museum on Nelson Boulevard in Fort Carson.
Learn about the History of Figure Skating at the World Figure Skating Museum & Hall of Fame
A different kind of historical excursion awaited me when I came by the World Figure Skating Museum & Hall of Fame.
But I was far from disappointed.
Though I'm not an avid fan of figure skating, I loved browsing through the exhibits of the museum.
I learned about the history of figure skating and was in awe at how far it had come from being one of the only women-dominated sports back in the 1920s.
Most importantly, I even got to learn a few scientific facts about the jumps and tricks most of these figure skaters do on ice.
The Hall of Fame, containing household names of the sport, was also a fancy treat.
In the city of Colorado Springs, the World Figure Skating Museum & Hall of Fame is situated on 1st Street.
Explore the Ancient Cliff Dwellings at Manitou Cliff Dwellings
Manitou Cliff Dwellings is a living representation of rich Native American history within El Paso County.
Located along Cliff Road, this historical landmark features replicas of cliff structures used by early dwellers.
I found it a unique experience to learn about the community's culture and legacy.
Alongside a timeline of the cliff-dwelling lifestyle of the settlers back in the day, the museum also offers artworks and other artifacts.
What made my journey through this museum more memorable was the view of mountains right outside the facility.
Manitou Cliff Dwellings is in Manitou Springs.
Sandstone formations, challenging nature trails, and historic buildings—these are what the El Paso County culture is all about.
And I feel lucky to have witnessed all these during my visit.
From the list above of the best things to do in El Paso County, Colorado, which is your favorite?
I hope you enjoy your travels!