If you are planning a visit to the famous Pikes Peak, nearby Colorado Springs and 65 miles south of Denver, there is a good chance that you will begin your trip in Manitou Springs.
Manitou Springs was established in 1871, and got its name from the spirit mentioned in the Song of Hiawatha by Longfellow. The Native Americans belonging to the Ute tribes had long lived in the area that is today Western Colorado and knew well the miraculous properties of the effervescent mineral springs flowing at the base of Pikes Peak. They believed that the bubbles from the water represent the breath of the Great Spirit Manitou, and therefore the area was sacred for them. The bubbles are actually formed when the water coming from the huge subterranean aquifers underneath Pikes Peak passes through layers of lime and loads with carbon dioxide and many other beneficial minerals. The result is a sparkling mineral water that is renowned for its therapeutic properties.
The quality of the springs, the beauty of the natural setting and the dry climate, benefic for those who suffer from respiratory diseases have prompted a group of entrepreneurs to build the town, trying to emulate the model of the spas from the Old Continent. Soon the news about the healing waters from Manitou Springs spread across the nation. At the height of its glory, the town was known as Saratoga of the West, and thousands of people traveled to the town to enjoy the beneficial effect of the mineral waters.
Today, Manitou Springs is still an attractive destination for tourists and nature lovers. The town has preserved many of its original buildings, which makes a walk down its main street equivalent to a visit to a museum. Many people come to Manitou Springs in circuits that include Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods. The town has attractions of its own, like the Cliff Dwelling Museums, where tourists can experience the life inside the ancient homes of the Pueblo people or the Miramont Castle, a century old private home, which dazzles with its eclectic architecture.
The crystalline springs that helped build the town are still the main attraction of the city, though. Those who believe in their healing power come from long distances to spend time in Manitou Springs, and take tours that include all the seven springs. Each spring has its own flavor, given by the minerals they pass through, and they are captured in charming fountains, which are placed all over the town.
Manitou Springs is the perfect place for those who want to relax in a peaceful setting, and enjoy the strong mountain air, as well as the sprinkling water of the springs.