Best Of » Recreation

Work that Body

Best New Sports Team - Editorial pick - Pikes Peak Derby Dames - RICK GORHAM
  • Rick Gorham
  • Best New Sports Team Editorial pick Pikes Peak Derby Dames

Best Playground

Editorial pick
America the Beautiful Park Fantasy Playground

126 Cimino Drive

City Parks and Recreation, 385-5940,

Beware, Colorado Springs, there is an invasion occurring! Five Quirks currently are calling the Fantasy Playground at America the Beautiful Park home. According to legend (and the sign posted), these multi-colored critters arrived at the playground west of downtown thanks to the guidance of local elementary school children. It's no wonder Quirks chose to make this playground their home, as its bevy of enticing, whimsical structures could inspire the most straight-laced to dive into imaginative play. Leave your grade school playground expectations behind and head down to America the Beautiful Park. -- SJG

Best Yoga by Candlelight - Editorial pick - We Be Yoga
  • Best Yoga by Candlelight Editorial pick We Be Yoga

Best Workout with a Smile and a Song

Editorial pick

Brazilian Capoeira

3228 N. Nevada Ave. , 633-6371

Part of the problem with going to the gym is that it can be a miserable experience. It makes people feel lonely, being surrounded by metal and doing repetitive motions all by themselves. Luckily, pumping iron isn't the only option for staying fit. Brazilian Capoeira, which fuses fun and martial arts, takes the pain out of the workout. The students (beginning as early as age 4) are singing, clapping, playing instruments, encouraging other capoeiristas and getting a killer, full-body workout. Sure beats lugging a Nalgene bottle and a towel from the ab press to the squat rack. -- SG

Best Urban Hike

Editorial pick


Colorado Avenue, downtown to Manitou Springs

Colorado Springs boasts a plethora of mountain, canyon and prairie hikes, but sometimes a tromp through the city streets hits the spot. The best 7.4-mile urban ramble starts downtown at the intersection of Nevada and Colorado avenues. Head west on Colorado, through the city's patch of high rises and under I-25, and check out the great view of Pikes Peak. Things quickly become interesting on the shady sidewalks lining the avenue through west side. Pass tattoo parlors, quirky consignment stores and neighborhood bars while making your way through Old Colorado City. The truly ambitious can follow the sidewalk to its conclusion at the Vienna Station hot dog stand, the perfect place to stop for a Chicago-style snack before heading back. -- DW

Best Workout Deal

Editorial pick

Pilates Reformer class at the Garden Ranch YMCA

2380 Montebello Drive, 593-9622

The cost of a Y membership, $42 per month, is about the same as one private-studio hour on the Pilates Reformer, the machine with springs and bars and a sliding carriage that transforms your body into a lean, mean machine. So let's do the math: One hour per week on the Reformer at the Y = a little more than $10. One hour per week on the Reformer at a private studio? About four times that. And with the Y membership, you get unlimited access to the gym, the weight room and the workout machines, and a shower. Have you been reformed? -- KCE

Palmer Park is a great escape within the city. - COLLAN FITZPATRICK
  • Collan Fitzpatrick
  • Palmer Park is a great escape within the city.

Best Park Within City Limits

Readers poll winner

Palmer Park

3650 Maizeland Road

City Parks and Recreation, 385-5940

One of the best things Gen. William Palmer did after founding Colorado Springs was set aside this 730-acre sandstone cliff-and-forest oasis northeast of downtown. With more than 25 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding, an awesome overlook of the city, mountains and prairie picnic grounds, a botanical reserve and horse stables, Palmer claims the crown among urban parks. It's easy to get to from downtown, especially via the back entrance and trailhead at Paseo and North Chelton roads. The perfect place for an urban escape. -- DW

Best Playground - Editorial pick - America the Beautiful Park Fantasy Playground - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Best Playground Editorial pick America the Beautiful Park Fantasy Playground

Best Hiking Trail

Readers poll winner

Waldo Canyon

Highway 24, two miles west of Manitou Springs, 636-1602 (Forest Service ranger station)

The 6.8-mile loop winds past sunny alpine meadows and through a cool forest canopy that opens up to commanding mountain and city views. It's no wonder that Waldo Canyon consistently ranks as one of the region's most popular spots for both rambling and running. The trailhead (at around 7,000 feet elevation) begins at a well-marked parking lot two miles west of Manitou Springs. The trail branches into a loop 1.5 miles ahead, ascending to a height of about 8,000 feet before wrapping back. Waldo Canyon's trail avoided much damage in last month's forest fire and can be hiked through late fall. -- DW

Best Nature Walk for Kids

Readers poll winner

Bear Creek Nature Center

245 Bear Creek Road, 520-6387

The miles of mild, well-groomed wide trails that wind through Bear Creek Regional Park easily could make a kid a hiker for life. Easy treks are lined with native plants like scrub oak and yucca, grasses and seasonal wildflowers. Lucky hikers can see mule deer, black bears, hawks and peregrine falcons. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in one of the many covered gazebos (but don't feed the bears or other animals, please) and wear the kids out at the playgrounds before heading home for an early bedtime. -- CSB


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