Exciting springtime activities around Colorado Springs

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- With spring right around the corner and spring-like weather getting a jump start this year, it’s time to start taking advantage of the sunshine. Whether you are a ski bum who is disappointed to see winter coming to an end or an indoor-type of person, most can agree that the Colorado sunshine is worth soaking up now and then.

Colorado Springs is great city to experience a variety of activities for all interests.

For those who enjoy exercise, there are ample hiking, running and biking trails to enjoy. A few of my favorites are Red Rock Canyon Open Space, Ute Valley Park, North Cheyenne Cañon Park and the Santa Fe Trail. All of these parks are dog-friendly and offer trails at a variety of skill levels. Red Rock Canyon also offers two off-leash dog trails.

The Santa Fe Trail is accessible from the U.S. Air Force Academy and it’s a perfect six mile trip from the north gate parking lot to Baptist Road and back. Before setting out for a hike or bike ride, it’s always a good idea to look at the park map and plan out your route and don’t forget the H2O.

Another excellent springtime activity is horseback riding at the US Air Force Academy. The Academy Equestrian Center offers hourly or daily rentals at an affordable rate. Trail riders will have the opportunity to explore the 1000 acres of trails on base or the nearby Pike National Forest. The Equestrian Center staff will choose your horse according to riding ability, so everyone, from beginner to experienced, will have a fun experience!

Colorado Springs is celebrating Earth Day on April 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center. There will be parking at Rock Ledge Ranch and a shuttle to the festivities every 15 minutes. The free event is full of family fun, to include the Air Force Academy Falconer’s, American Indian Dancers, Chemical Magic Show, nature walks and much more. This event is a great way to experience Garden of the Gods Park while supporting Earth Day.

Fishing is another great way to find joy in the transition from winter to spring. Crystal Creek Reservoir in the Pikes Peak Recreation area and Monument Lake are both excellent fishing areas for everyone. Whether you are on your first fishing adventure or an experienced fisherman, you are bound to have a wonderful time enjoying the peaceful outdoors. Don’t forget to purchase a Fishing License from Colorado Fish and Wildlife before heading out.

Those of us who have the privilege of working up at Cheyenne Mountain AFS get to enjoy plenty of wildlife this time of year. Every day we slalom around scores of deer and turkeys as we travel NORAD Rd and see the occasional bobcat or bear. Colorado Springs is a great place to be in every season, but springtime is especially enjoyable as the winter weather starts to taper off. No matter what activity you choose to do this spring, you are sure to have a fantastic and memorable time.