When planning a religious group trip, there are many factors organizers need to consider. Arguably the most important element is the location. It’s essential to find a destination that not only boasts religious affiliations, but also offers visitors loads of engaging activities, affordable accommodations and ideal venues for groups to practice their faith. With outdoor excitement, spiritual and cultural attractions and unparalleled natural beauty, Colorado Springs has everything religious tour planners could want for a faith-based retreat.
In Colorado Springs, religious groups can connect with each other and their faith in so many ways—from physical adventures to historical journeys. There’s no end to what groups will discover, the bonds they’ll create, and the memories they’ll take home.
Colorado Springs has a strong spiritual community, and many religious organizations are based in the city. Founded in 1977 by Dr. James Dobson, Focus on the Family is a nonprofit, multimedia ministry dedicated to helping families thrive. Religious groups can visit the Welcome Center and take a self-guided tour of the facility to learn more about Focus on the Family and its mission. Guided tours of the ministry are available Monday through Friday for interested groups. Young visitors will get a kick out of Kid’s Korner, a large play area that features a three-story corkscrew slide. Children can be a radio star as they record their own voices for an Adventures in Odyssey episode for KYDS Radio and celebrate with a tasty treat from Whit’s End, a turn-of-the-century soda fountain inspired by the radio series. Be sure to stop into the Focus on the Family bookstore, offering hundreds of faith-based publications, souvenirs, and more.
Another major religious organization in Colorado Springs is Compassion International, a child-advocacy ministry that helps children living in extreme poverty all around the world. Groups can tour the headquarters (held Monday through Friday), and get a glimpse of what a child development center looks like in the countries where Compassion International works. Groups can visit the distribution center to see how thousands of letters from sponsors are processed and sent to children all over the world and enjoy artwork and toys handmade by children in the church-led development centers.
Connect in the Outdoors
One of the most famous attractions in Colorado Springs is Garden of the Gods Park. The 1,300-acre park is a National Natural Landmark, featuring towering sandstone rock formations and dramatic views of the Rocky Mountains. It’s the ideal spot to bring a spiritual group looking to connect with nature and each other. Before entering the park, be sure to watch the fascinating time-travel film at the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center to learn its geological history. Spend some time exploring the many hiking trails and taking in the views before heading back to the visitor center to grab a souvenir or two from the gift shop.
There are many ways to experience Pikes Peak, also known as America’s Mountain. This stunning formation isn’t just a backdrop of the city, it’s an adventure waiting to be tackled. Religious groups can reach the summit in a few ways: They can drive or take a bus or Jeep tour up the 19-mile paved road that winds all the way to the top, they can bike up Pikes Peak Highway, or opt to hike Barr Trail all the way up. Whichever route they select, groups are in for an experience they won’t forget.
For some organized outdoor adventures, sign up for a tour with Journey Quest. This company offers Christ-centered activities, including whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and multi-day adventures geared towards youth, families, and church groups. While these trips offer groups exciting adventures, there is always a deeper purpose to these journeys. Guides aim to build a trust with guests through meaningful, spiritual conversation and thoughtful listening.
History and Heritage
Colorado Springs has a rich heritage and fascinating spiritual tales from the past. One of the best places to experience the city’s unique history is at Glen Eyrie Castle. Built in 1871 by the founder of Colorado Springs, General William Jackson Palmer, the castle serves as a lodging and conference facility. It is now owned by The Navigators, a worldwide Christian ministry helping people grow their relationship with Christ. Groups can take an immersive 90-minute tour of the castle, where guides will tell stories of the Palmer family, the estate, the landscape, and history of Colorado Springs. Groups can also enjoy an onsite Victorian tea before or after a tour.
Colorado Springs has a strong military presence, thanks in large part to it being home to the United States Air Force Academy. The campus has many striking features, including the Cadet Chapel (soon to be closed for a four-year renovation), Honor Court, and the newly renovated Planetarium, with state-of-the-art projection technology and immersive surround sound. For a thorough background on the U.S. Air Force Academy, groups can head to the Barry Goldwater Visitors Center, a 35,000-square-foot facility that includes exhibits and films documenting cadet life and the history of the Academy.
Another claim to fame for Colorado Springs is its ties to the Olympics. In fact, its connection to athletics is so strong it’s been named Olympic City USA. It makes sense, considering it is home to the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center, over 20 National Governing Bodies of Olympic Sport, and the future U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame scheduled to open in 2020. The 60,000-square-foot facility will house interactive exhibits, athlete memorabilia, and hundreds of documents showcasing the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Elite Venues and Accommodations
Religious retreats in Colorado Springs have a plethora of leading accommodations and facilities at their disposal. Guests can enjoy modern amenities and views of Pikes Peak in one of the guest rooms or casitas at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club or relax in the peaceful setting of the Franciscan Retreat Center. The Holy Cross Abbey is an historical landmark in Cañon City featuring flexible meeting space, group lodging facilities, and a beautiful chapel; while Glen Eyrie Castle boasts 95 overnight rooms and over 700 acres of incredible property in Queen’s Canyon.
The Antlers Hotel welcomes guests in the heart of downtown with easy access to shopping, dining and attractions. With a focus on holistic well-being, SCP Hotel is the perfect venue for wellness retreats or small religious gatherings. Colorado College provides a range of conference facilities, as well as housing options for visiting groups; while the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) offers meeting space with state-of-the-art technology and a knowledgeable staff available to help with any retreat needs.
With a strong spiritual community, awe-inspiring natural beauty, and a vast array of attractions, Colorado Springs offers religious groups everything they could possibly need for a successful retreat. Visit www.visitcos.com to get started.