Monument, a town of about 6,500 residents in El Paso County, Colorado, has experienced double-digit population growth over the past few decades.
It is located along the Interstate 25 corridor between Denver in the north and Colorado Springs in the south, with expansive plains to the east and rich state and national parks, majestic mountains and world-class ski resorts to the west.
The town was founded in 1879 and then strategically located along the Rio Grande Railway.
Here are 15 fun, educational and exhilarating activities in and around the Colorado Monument.
1. Rim Rock Drive
For lovers of stunning scenery and a spectacular western skyline, there’s no better place than Rim Rock Drive.
Rim Rock Drive stretches over 20 miles through an impressively diverse natural environment. For first-time visitors to the Rocky Mountain State, this is often one of the most memorable experiences of their trip.
There are more than a dozen viewing areas along the way, ample parking, and there are several trails in the area for those interested in exploring on foot.
The roads are steep and narrow in some places, so it’s best to drive slowly and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists on the side of the road.
2. Hike to Monument Rock
Hiking is one of Colorado’s most popular outdoor recreation activities. While many visitors choose to explore the large park west of the monument, there are plenty of options for those who would rather stay closer to home.
Monument Town has over 30 miles of trails ranging from relatively flat and short to steep and unstable, so there’s something for just about everyone, regardless of age or fitness level.
The hike to Monument Rock has always been popular, mainly because it’s dog-friendly, conveniently located, and easy for children and those who are undersized.
3. Coffee Cup Cafe
The Coffee Cup Café is located on Monument Front Street and is open daily from 6am to 3pm. Besides serving a full range of coffees, teas and juices, they also offer a great selection of food.
Since The Coffee Cup Café opens at dawn, it’s a great first stop for those who wake up early to make the most of their limited vacation, and their favorite breakfasts include eggs benedict, burritos, French toast , and yogurt.
They also have several gluten free options for those with dietary restrictions at very reasonable prices.
4. Monument Ice Rink
The Monument Rink is actually two skating venues in one. While the facility often hosts youth and adult hockey leagues, it’s also open to figure and recreational skaters, and it’s also a popular venue for special events like birthday parties.
The rink has programs for children ages three and up, including basic ice skating and hockey lessons. For those who don’t want to risk their lives and limbs on slippery ice, hang out, watch a game, or just watch energetic kids having fun.
The Monument Rink is open year-round, and skates and other equipment can be rented on-site.
5. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, just west of the Teller County Monument, is one of the best-preserved fossil beds of plants and invertebrates in the region.
Prehistoric plant and animal remains are found in sedimentary rocks such as shale and sandstone. Although many similar specimens are often seen in museums, there is something unique about experiencing them in nature.
The park is open year-round, with slightly reduced opening hours in winter, and is only closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Other amenities include an indoor visitor center, outdoor interpretive areas, extensive hiking trails, and restrooms.
6. Back East Bar & Grill
Back East Bar & Grill is located on the Cipriani Loop of the monument. In addition to hearty traditional American fare, it’s also known for its all-around chill vibe that keeps many regulars coming back time and time again.
Ribs, pizza, burgers and BBQ are perennial favorites at Back East, and they also offer a variety of pastas, salads, appetizers and homemade soups like French Onion and New England Clam Chowder.
Back East prides itself on being a family-friendly restaurant, and although the bar area is often buzzing, previous guests have noticed that they don’t feel out of place to dine with their kids.
7. Pikes Peak Brewing Company
Despite its rugged rural nature, a large percentage of Colorado towns have at least one local brewing company, and Pikes Peak Brewing Company is a must-see for those who live in or pass by the monument.
They have a wide variety of beers, from fruit-infused IPAs to dark stouts, and unlike many bars that are too loud to converse, the atmosphere at Pikes Peak is generally cheerful and low-key.
Food trucks are resident in the parking lot, and the bar offers rotations and seasonal beers, so even the most discerning taste buds will always find something to tempt.
8. Castle Rock Outlets
The Castle Rock Outlets, located on Factory Shops Boulevard, have been ranked the number one outlet in the state for the past several years.
The outlet mall is owned by many internationally renowned retailers such as Ralph Lauren, Coach and The North Face. It’s the perfect attraction for those who need to escape the often harsh Colorado elements.
Outlet stores tend to be at the high end of the luxury and price range, but keep in mind they’re not traditional retail stores, so there’s usually a good deal for the patient savvy shopper.
9. Dirty Woman Creek Park
While its name might be a bit put off for those traveling with kids, Dirty Women’s Creek Park isn’t named that way, as it’s usually crowded with notorious women. Instead, it was named after a woman who lived in a dilapidated shack with farm animals decades ago.
Conveniently located just minutes from the city center, the park offers visitors a range of free entertainment options.
Park amenities include baseball and softball fields, horseshoe throwing pits, covered picnic areas with tables, built-in barbecue grills, and restrooms.
Dirty Woman Creek Park is open daily and has ample on-site parking.
10. Red Eagle Ridge Golf Course
At just under 7,000 yards, the Red Hawk Ridge Golf Course on Red Hawk Ridge Drive in Castle Rock is longer than most golf courses of its time.
Designed by a nationally renowned golf course designer, the course has been open to the public since 1999.
Known for its undulating fairways, scenic landscaping, and native trees and grasses, it has a variety of tee options for seniors, women, and children.
There are digital practice areas, a fully stocked pro shop and a grill restaurant for lunch and dinner.
11. Dream Theater
The Theater of Dreams, also located in nearby Castle Rock, is one of the premier magic show attractions in the country.
The center, which has been open for nearly two decades, was founded by a famous husband-and-wife team of magicians who have performed at luxury venues in Las Vegas and California.
The theater is relatively small and quaint, offering visitors an up-close and personal experience not possible at larger venues.
They are open year-round and performers include circus performers, comedians and mind readers. For those wishing to study the trade, the staff offers workshops for youth and adults.
12. Garden of the Gods
Located in Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods features hundreds of individual geological formations carved out of the rock by the forces of wind and water over eons and billions of years.
The park’s stunning formations include spiky spires, boulders, and narrow canyons, which are relatively easy to explore with a network of trails leading to each area.
The Garden of the Gods is free to visit. While it’s always majestic, previous guests have noticed that it’s especially true as the sun rises and sets, as light bounces off the rocks and creates an amazing contrast between shaded and illuminated areas.
13. United States Air Force Academy
A visit to the U.S. Air Force Academy outside Colorado Springs is another free activity that ranks high on many Colorado visitors’ itineraries.
It’s a good idea to stop by the Welcome Center first, as it’s designed to give guests an idea of the history and layout of the facility, as well as what to see and do.
If you plan to show yourself around the common areas of the academy, grab a map, listen carefully and regularly point your eyes to the sky for a variety of stylish military aircraft to be seen throughout the day.
14. North Cheyenne Canyon Park
North Cheyenne Cañon Park spans over 1,500 acres and at its heart is an impressive canyon that stretches nearly 1,000 feet into the red rock below.
Depending on the age and physical ability level of those you’re traveling with, you can see the park’s spectacular architecture from multiple viewpoints on the trails near the canyon.
Most guests stop at the Visitor and Nature Center near the park’s entrance before setting out to explore, as well as several waterfalls that are relatively easy to reach.
The park is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, with slightly reduced opening hours in the spring and fall.
15. Pike National Forest
Pike National Forest consists of more than one million acres west of the monument, along the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains.
Spanning a variety of natural landscapes and six counties, the forest offers a wealth of activities year-round, perfect for backpackers and all-around enthusiasts of the great outdoors.
Previous guests mentioned that while hiking along the forest trails, they saw an abundance of wildlife including foxes, elk and birds such as eagles, owls, hummingbirds and woodpeckers. Camping is also popular with those who prefer cool breezes and distant stars to moldy hotel rooms and continental breakfasts.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Monument, Colorado
Lowest Price Guarantee