In uncertain times, making plans for long-distance vacation travel can be risky. However, staying close to home this year is no reason to let the summertime blues take hold. After all, one of the top tourist destinations in the country just happens to be your own backyard. Why not reacquaint yourself with the Pikes Peak region this summer and discover why millions of visitors can’t wait to spend precious vacation time in the place you call home? 

One of the top reasons to visit the Pikes Peak region is to explore the Rocky Mountains via an extensive, well-maintained trail system. From paved urban routes that crisscross the city, to challenging hikes that will take you to the top of our famous 14er and regional namesake, Pikes Peak, there is literally a trail for everyone. Local nonprofit Visit Colorado Springs cautions hikers that some of the more popular trailheads can become quite crowded. You can find a handy list of trails less traveled at trailsandopenspaces.org.

If you prefer your adventures to have more adrenaline, outdoor adventure company Adventures Out West has exactly what you’re looking for. Tour the mountains in one of their custom jeeps driven by fun, friendly and knowledgeable guides. Or, check out their exhilarating zipline tours which are set up entirely on natural terrain. For a more relaxing experience, the outfitter also offers Segway tours of Garden of the Gods, complete with a lesson and led by a tour guide. Each tour is scheduled to maximize social distancing and allow for sanitization between groups.

When you’re done traipsing about the mountains, you can rest and recover with a hot meal and a cold beverage. Restaurants in the Pikes Peak region are open for business — with a few changes: Outdoor seating options have been expanded and indoor capacity has been reduced. Visit Colorado Springs recommends that you call ahead and make reservations, as tables are in high demand. Takeout, curbside and delivery options are still available for customers who aren’t comfortable dining in. 

As they welcome customers back, local businesses and attractions have also made changes to their operations in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and El Paso County Public Health safety guidelines. In addition to practicing social distancing and limiting capacity, local establishments have implemented enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures such as disinfection of shared objects, frequent wipe-downs of communal spaces and increased contactless options. Employees are provided with masks and gloves and screened before each shift through health-related questions and temperature checks. 

While local businesses do their part to enhance safety, you can also do your part whenever you are out. Visit Colorado Springs has compiled some simple tips for safe outings. First, spread out. Maintain a distance of at least six feet from anyone not in your group. Second, mask up. While none of the counties in the Pikes Peak region require masks, many businesses do. It’s a good idea to have one with you at all times. Third, leave no trace — multiplied. In addition to packing out trash and pet waste, try to minimize the number of items that you touch, especially items with high usage such as gas pumps, handrails or countertops. Wash or sanitize your hands often, too. Fourth, stay home when you’re sick. Those gorgeous mountains have towered over the Pikes Peak region for millions of years. They will still be there when you’re feeling better. Last, do your research before you go. Guidelines change constantly and vary by city and county. You can get daily updates from Visit Colorado Springs at visitcos.com.

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