Denver, Colorado – Kosher Vacation

Manitou Cliff Dwellings


This is a guest post by Yehoshua Feigin.

Usually considered a “fly-over state” by those of us who live in NY/NJ, Colorado has a remarkable amount of worthwhile things to do, see, and enjoy. Four hours on a plane and you are transported to the Rocky Mountains, a wonderful region of the country that gives new meaning to the phrase we say in davening: מה רבו מעשיך – How great are your {God’s} creations. (Ok enough preamble….)


Denver is called “The Mile High City” for a reason. The whole region is situated at a high elevation in the Rocky Mountains, so naturally, the air is a bit thinner. While not unhealthy, it can make visitors a bit light headed at first and will render simple hikes more challenging than you thought they would be. There is a reason Olympians train here! However, until you get used to it, maybe take the first day or two here a bit slower with physical activity until you become acclimated. Keep in mind that due to the altitude and physical activity involved with this trip, a visit to Colorado as described in this article is really not suitable for younger kids. 


This was an interesting one. While the weather in the summer is mostly warm, temperatures do fluctuate quite a lot. Different times of day will sometimes feel completely different. Some passing rainstorms occur which are very intense, but short in duration. Overall though, very nice summer weather. 

Things to Pack (for summer)

A light jacket for the occasional rain storms, chilly evenings, or going underground as part of an activity

Sturdy and comfortable hiking boots or sneakers

A lot more water than you think you need for excursions

Very light outfits, besides for one or two warmer outfits for cool nights or underground activity


Kosher Options

There are some kosher shops / restaurants in Denver. First is Brooklyn Pizza which is pretty much just a standard kosher pizza shop. Second is East Side Kosher Deli, which is a restaurant that wasn’t open when we were there. Adjoined is a small kosher supermarket that carries traditional Jewish brands, as well as a prepared food section. Honestly, neither of these establishments were great. The pizza store was ok, while the supermarket was way overpriced. Maybe this is because of the price of shipping kosher goods or the lack of competition? Two lox bagels were $26. For that money, a great meal can be prepared buying kosher bread and lox at a supermarket. Before the trip, I ended up cooking a massive amount of a pasta/tofu dish which I brought in containers. For every kosher traveler it is different, but some combo of shopping in Denver, visiting local grocery shops, cooking / grilling, bringing food from home should leave you more than satisfied. 

Things to Do

Garden of The Gods – This is a must see! Surrounded by green forested mountains are massive pillars of sandstone jutting out of the ground, creating a wonderful contrast of green and red. The beauty of this place is breathtaking. One can easily spend two to three hours here climbing rock formations, staying on walking paths, and going off onto some small hiking trails. Another perk is that its free.This was the first thing we saw in Colorado and it really set the tone for the rest of the trip.

Broadmoor Seven Falls Hike – This is actually part of a complex of activities built around a cascading river and its waterfalls. The first part of the hike is pretty easy and consists of walking along a paved road beside the river, or opting to take a tram if you prefer. Then you come to a mountain with a metal staircase built into its face. Upon summiting the few hundred stairs, there are two hiking paths. I opted for the more difficult one which brings you to the top of a mountain that provides views of the entire Colorado Springs. Very worthwhile, although this part of the excursion had me exerting myself and not everyone in our group participated in the second component. The above takes around 2 – 3 hours to complete. If you make use of the zip lines here, you can easily spend 4 – 5 hours. The price was reasonable for the activity. However, the one downside is that since this activity is in the middle of a mountain, there is no parking. You must park a few miles away and take a free shuttle bus back and forth. We had to wait for around an hour for the bus because we came during July 4th weekend.

Garden of the Gods

Cave of The Winds – This attraction again is part of a complex. They seem to be very big on hiking/climbing/zip lining complexes so that tourists can spend the better part of a day within any one area. We opted for a cave tour. You will not be disappointed. Interesting rock formations, enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides, and the view from the top of the mountain are well worthwhile. This complex has a lot of activities that are good for kids. We also enjoyed watching people being dropped into a canyon and then raised back up again by means of a bungee cord. 

Manitou Cliff Dwellings – An old Indian Pueblo, a kind of mud and brick house built into a mountain face, which visitors can walk through. They dismantled this one from the Mesa Verde region and reassembled it. There is also a small museum about Indian life and culture. A bit expensive, but interesting and great for kids. You don’t need more than an hour here. 

Downtown Denver – Honestly, not so recommended. There is a nice central outdoor shopping area which was fun for an hour. Otherwise, not much happening here. 

Other Attractions

Any intense sport you can think of can be done here. Mountain biking, zip lining, rock climbing, rafting, ATVing, and more. If you enjoy thrilling activities such as these, Colorado is the place to do it. Royal Gorge Bridge and the park around it, a bit of a drive out from Colorado Springs, has many solid looking activities that can last a few hours. One can also drive up Pikes Peak or take the train as mentioned. Additionally, there are gold mines here that can be visited which I would have liked to see. Ahhhhhh….. So much to do and so little time. One can easily spend 3 – 4 days in Colorado Springs.

Cave of The Winds

Where To Stay

One can stay in downtown Colorado Springs or Manitou Springs and be right in the center of things. These areas are very touristy and not really what we were looking for. We stayed in the Colorado Springs Airport Radisson Hotel. Highly recommended. Great rates, very spacious rooms, and excellent cleanliness. It is only a few minutes out of the way, but very low key. The hotel has a nice pool and gym for guests.

Spontaneity vs Planning

While not true for everything, certain things do require advanced reservations. My strategy of “I’ll figure out what to do when I get there” did not always enable me to do everything that I wanted to because time slots for certain things were fully booked. This was the case for the Pikes Peak train, which departs for Manitou Springs. It is modelled after Swiss Alps cog railways and ascends Manitou Peak by rail. Pretty cool if you ask me! Secondly was the Incline Walk, a very advanced hike which is almost a mile of straight stair climbing at a ridiculous steepness. This literally looks, at least from the ground, like a stairway to heaven. Unfortunately, both of these activities required reservations, and by the time I realized this, I could not secure one for times that would fit within our schedule.  If there is something you would really like to do, it makes sense to look into it a week or two before you travel and see if you need to schedule a visitation. However, there is also something to be said for leaving some time to be spontaneous. Everywhere you go, there are gorgeous hikes, green valleys, and driving in itself here is enjoyable. 

Places To Go Next

Given more time or specific interests, the following places can make great additions or even individual trips in their own rights within the state of Colorado. An outdoor activity roadtrip comprising some of these sites would also be an amazing experience:

Vail and Aspen – Skiing anyone? 

Boulder – Around an hour from Denver in the opposite direction of Colorado Springs. I have never been, but it is supposed to be a really nice outdoorsy city that was built with such proximity to nature. It also serves as a gateway for visiting Rocky Mountain National Park.

Mesa Verde National Park – A few hours out, this park is the remains of pueblo dwellings carved into stone. 

Great Sand Dunes National Park – I think the game gives it away. 


Have I inspired you to visit wonderful Colorado? With so much to do here, I barely scratched the surface on my trip. The little taste, though, was enough to make me wish to come back here someday for a longer period of time. I hope that you can see why. If you are looking for an active trip with stunning nature, come to Colorado where you can easily spend four or five days exploring all that there is to offer. 


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1 Response

  1. Brian Silvey says:

    A thorough and well organized review, thank you very much. Hope to see more of your reviews in the future

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