"Crystal Park" Top 5 Page for this destination Manitou Springs by leafmcgowan

Manitou Springs Travel Guide: 82 reviews and 152 photos

Crystal Park

"Where the Mountains meet the sky" or a.k.a. "the gem of the Rockies". Is a area and settlement nestled Pike's Peak, Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, and Broadmoor Hotel. It is a settlement of over 2,000 privately owned acres of forest / mountain land. It's named after the numerous quartz crystals and gemstones that litter its slopes. It was first discovered by the Ute Indians, then explored by English explorers, mined by gold prospectors, settled by rugged pioneers, charted by Ulysses S. Grant and General William J. Palmer, rooted by the logging community, and toured by millions of Americans as the "first scenic motor roadway ever built in the West" and deemed the Crookedest Road in North America by Robert L. Ripley. Today it is a private housing community. It was originally called Crystal Park for its abundance of smokey quartz, quartz, topaz, amazonite, and other gemstones. The Crystal Park area was purchased by Carl H. Rucker in 1951 for $75,000 with the intent to develope a winter sports facility and housing complex. He died in 1965 and never became part of that vision. A relatively flat and wooded terrace consisting of over 2,000 acres of wooded faerieland at an elevation of over 9,000 feet above sea level, Crystal Park is located on the eastern flanks of Pikes Peak (14,110 feet) just 2 miles above Manitou Springs and 6 miles west of Colorado Springs. It lies below the steep masses of Cameron Cone, Mount Aurthur, and Mount Garfield. The area possesses a mild climate, warm days, cool nights, low humidity, with a median temperature range of 28.8 F in January and a high of 71.2 F in July. The long twisting road is one of its most popular highlights next to the crystals. The toll road was completed in 1910 - starting at 6100 feet and ending at 9,000 feet near the lake, and once possessed a flowing spring in the middle of the journey up the mountain. The road had turntables to manually rotate the cars to change direction as the road was too narrow to make switchbacks. The toll road ended in the 1940s, but even so, still remains as one of the best well-maintained roads in the area. While the roads painfully scarred the mountain, and have been heavily criticized because of this. Atop the road is a natural basin that forms a pristine mountain lake. Several streams converge into the lake keeping it flowing and abundant with trout. The area is speckled with fascinating rock formations which are amongst the best highlights of the area. Some very well known formations are Pavilion, Derby, Tank, Sentinel, Devil's Slide, Devil's Kitchen, Gog and Magog, Sunrise, Snow Plow, Peanut, and Froggy Rocks. My short overnight visit to Crystal Park was phenomenal and awe-inspiring. An amazing place I hope to explore further in the future. Thank you Trisha for the discovery! A great article on the area is "First Order Changes in a Local Mountain Environment: Crystal Park, Colorado (1963-1997)" by Rebekah K. Nix (Nov. 15, 1997). Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

Manitou Springs, Colorado

A beautiful and charming little resort town of approximately 4,980 citizens (census 2000), nestled at the base of Pikes Peak, just 15 minutes west of Colorado Springs, Colorado is Manitou Springs that is approximately 3 miles square. The town is a big part of "Colorado Springs" and both towns are referred to as "The Springs" by its inhabitants. Manitou is named after the enchanting naturally carbonated springs that well up from one of several fountains throughout the town, most of which have drinking fountains for the public to fill up their water bottles in, each with a distinct flavor and effect. The area historically was an attractant as a spa and healing resort for those suffering from tuberculosis as the healthy fresh mountain air, bubbling springs, and healing minerals were believed to be quite a successful cure for individual ailments. It became such a hotspot that the inhabiting Ute Indians were pushed out by the white settlers and vacation resorts, cabins, cottages, and even a castle was built to take advantage of the Springs. The Utes were believed to curse the area so that no 'white' business would ever succeed. In the 1970's, Woodland Park that is located up Ute Pass approximately 19 miles west, built a sewage treatment plant on top of the fault line which made most of the Springs undrinkable during most of the 1980's until corrected by the 1990's. The area is quite a tourist resort and attraction for the area for antique stores, metaphysics, Christianity, Pike's Peak Railway, Briarhurst Manor, The Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Cave of the Winds, the North Pole, Iron Springs Chateau & Melodrama, and Miramount Castle. In addition, Manitou is known for fabulously crazy festivals such as the Emma Crawford Coffin Races, Cake Tosses, Wine Festivals, Carnival, Gumbo cook-offs, and many other events. An amazing must see hotspot. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

  • Last visit to Manitou Springs: May 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (6)

Comments (2)

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo
    Feb 24, 2010 at 3:39 AM

    Looks like my kind of town. Love the Rockies, and any town that has "racey" coffins is OK in my book! Hope your birthday is full of friends and laughter.

  • Small_World's Profile Photo
    Jun 28, 2006 at 6:40 PM

    I'm heading out to Colorado in a couple of weeks...thanks for the great tips.

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