Rustic Lodge with Mountain Views and Local Artwork
In 2008, professional photographer Gary Oakley built a hotel that reflected his love for art and nature. He took an original lodge building—designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright—and added glass wall murals, his own photos of horses, and a handcrafted wedding gazebo made from beetle kill logs. Gorgeous natural scenery surrounds Oakley's Sundance Mountain Lodge, nestled just a 15-minute drive north of Colorado Springs in the front range of the Colorado Rockies, where you’ll find red-rock waterfalls and streams.
Guest rooms at the Sundance Mountain Lodge reflect the rugged landscape with log furnishings and nature photographs. All accommodations feature private balconies and recycled carpeting, just one of the property’s many environmental initiatives.
The onsite Oakley's Cafe & Bistro hosts happy hours, karaoke, and live music. On one side of the dining room, lantern lights and a chalkboard menu create romantic vibe. On the other, a retro lounge with crushed-velvet curtains, white leather love seats, and zebra-print rugs recalls a vintage speakeasy. Oakley's Cafe & Bistro does not open till 3 p.m. and is closed on Sundays.
Pikes Peak Country: Rocky Mountains, Hiking Trails, and Wildlife
Central Colorado’s first settlers had originally set out to find fortune through California’s gold rush, but they stopped in the lush meadowlands of Monument and made it their home. They weren’t the only ones inspired by the area’s natural beauty—Pikes Peak's rocky summit, which looms 14,115 feet over the region, once provoked songwriter Katharine Lee Bates to pen the lyrics to "America the Beautiful."
For a close-up look at the cliffs, hop onto one of Pikes Peak Cog Railway's red train cars, which crawl up the mountains and pass wildlife and crashing waterfalls. The area's diverse geography also lends itself to outdoor recreation, from hiking on the pine-fringed trails of the Garden of the Gods to hot air balloon rides.