Spring Hunting in Historic Manitou Springs, Colorado
A Self-Guided Tour Through Manitou Spring’s 8 Mineral Springs
Manitou Springs is a historic small resort city located just outside of the larger Colorado Springs that attracts visitors from around the world for its mineral springs said to hold healing powers and the natural beauty that surrounds the area, including Pike’s Peak, Garden of the Gods, and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. Spring hunting in historic Manitou Springs is a great way to spend a day in Colorado!
Manitou Springs is home to eight natural springs along a 1.4 mile path through Manitou Ave in the small city. The springs waters were used by the local Indians as a way to calm stomachs, treat a number of aliments, and help skin problems. Today the springs are easily accessible for tasting and many locals continue to drink the spring waters for both taste and the believed health benefits.
The walk to from 7 Minute Spring to Iron Spring is easily doable for any age and the many shops, local gift shops, and great food options make the journey even better!
For the mineral content for each of the springs be sure to check out this great chart.
Before beginning your self-guided tour be sure to stop at the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau for a free tasting cup or bring your own! You will regret it if you don’t!
The Water Source
The springs found around Manitou Springs are sourced from the deep-seated waters of the Rampart Range and Ute Pass. Underground the waters pass through cavernous drainage systems known as karst aquifiers. Limestone in the water dissolves and causes carbonic acid, or carbon dioxide, to be released in the water. This causes the water to naturally rise upward and as this happens the water collects minerals and soda (sodium bicarbonate).
7 Minute Spring
7 Minute Spring is the first spring you will come upon during your trails through the small resort town of Manitou Springs. The spring gets its name from the geyser that was produced every seven minutes from the spring. 7 Minute Spring was originally drilled in 1909 near the previous Manitou House Hotel (no longer standing), but was re-drilled in the 1990’s and 2014.
The 7 Minute Spring contains small amounts of several minerals, including fluoride, potassium, sodium, and zinc.
Tip: Directly across the street from the spring you will find a public park with plenty of public parking (paid, but only $1 an hour). This is the perfect place to park and walk the path of the trail as it goes right through the main town and parking is very limited.
Location: 422 Washington Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829
The Shoshone Spring is the next spring you will come upon during your time spring hunting in historic Manitou Springs. The Shoshone Spring sits 0.4 miles west of 7 Minute Spring. This spring is said to contain the most of many minerals found within the Manitou healing springs. Historically it was the most recommended of the springs in the 1800’s for its healing abilities. This is due to the water rising from the aquifier system. The water rising from this spring is also the warmest of the springs, with a temperature of 70 degrees (F).
The spring currently sites on the outside of a circular building built from red-orange Lyons sandstone in the 1890’s that came from the nearby Kenmuir Quarry. Previously it was surrounded by a structure made from pine tree logs and then an open-air gathering area made from stone and lumbar.
The Shoshone Spring is high in calcium, chloride, lithium, manganese, sodium, sulfate, and zinc, among others.
Location: 902 Manitou Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829
The Navajo Spring was the only spring that was not actively spitting out water on our visit. The spring’s water has dried up considerably, but can still be caught providing its tasty soda like waters on some days. The Navajo Spring once sat near the Ute Pass Trail, producing a large pool of water, making it a popular stopping place for Native Americans and early settlers. This water once flowed into Fountain Creek and created a flowstone of minerals. This flowstone is still present today, but is now under Patsy’s Candies (which was once a sampling room for the bottled drinks) and the Penny Arcade.
The waters from the spring are so tasty that in the 1870’s boys known as “dippers” were hired to fill the cups of visitors with the water. The water from the spring also became one of the main ingredients in Manitou Ginger Champagne, Manitou Table Water, cola drinks, and other flavors that were bottled and shipped around the world by the Manitou Mineral Water Company.
The Navajo Spring has small amounts of various minerals, including calcium and chloride.
Location: Fountain Pl, Manitou Springs, CO 80829
Cheyenne Spring sits nearby the Navajo Spring, open in the center of the sidewalk. Cheyenne Spring is a natural soda sweet soda spring that attracts visitors for its taste. The spring is sourced from limestone aquifers located a mile deep within the ground.
The spring’s history dates back to the 19th century when it was part of a park that also included Navajo, Shoshone, and Manitou Springs. The spring house standing close by was built by the Manitou Mineral Water Company in the 1890’s using rocks from the Red Rocks Open Space. The spring-house contains a copper-clad, carbon-dioxide gas collector, giving the Manitou Water Mineral Water Company the reputation of being the first to capture natural gas emitting from the source and bottling it.
The Cheyenne Springs contains high levels of potassium and magnesium.
Location: 2130 Southgate Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
The Wheeler Spring is located on Park Ave on the opposite side of Fountain Creek that runs through Manitou Springs. It is just a short distance away from the Cheyenne Spring. The spring was drilled by the son-in-law of Jerome B. Wheeler in 1920. Wheeler is pivotal is the development of Manitou Springs, and is known to have started the city’s first bank and fire station as well as donations that went to improve the city streets. The spring sits on the edge of the once standing Windermere property.
The Wheeler Spring is high in cooper.
Location: 25 Park Ave #1, Manitou Springs, CO 80829
The Stratton Spring sits at the cross sections between indigenous trails, the historic trolley lines, and the modern highway system in an area known as “The Loop.” It was drilled in 1936 during the depression as a sort of memorial for Winfield Scott Stratton, the man responsible for helping with the development of the railroad in Manitou Springs.
The Stratton Spring contains small amounts of a variety of minerals, including Calcium and Cooper.
Location: 955 Manitou Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829
Twin Spring is located along Ruxton Ave. on the front of what appears to be a store front. The spring was once two springs but now flows into one spring at the fountain.
Twin Spring was drilled in the 1920’s by William S. Crosby. The spring has gone by many names, including Crosby Spring, Twin Link Spring, and Twin Lithia Spring. The waters of the spring are enjoyed by the locals (and we saw many filling up giant jugs of water during our visit) and are commonly used in the making of Manitou Lemonade and Manitou Mojitos.
Twin Spring has highest mineral content is magnesium.
Location: 121 Ruxton Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829
Iron Spring is the last spring of your self guided tour spring hunting in historic Manitou Springs. This spring is a little further out of the city’s main streets than the others, but is still easily within walking distance. If you choose to drive out to this one, as we did because the little legs in our group were getting tired, be aware that many of the nearby parking areas are residential parking only.
Iron Spring is located along Ruxton Avenue beside the Ruxton Creek, which is flowing with high iron waters. The waters from the creek were used by doctors for iron deficiencies and other aliments. The spring was drilled in 1910 by Joseph G. Heistand, and the structure that surrounds the spring remains today as the oldest structure surrounding a Colorado mineral spring.
Iron Spring is rich in, you guessed it, iron! It also has some high concentrations of fluoride and silica.
Location: Ruxton Ave., Manitou Springs, CO 80829
Shopping in Historic Manitou Springs
As I mentioned before, the self-guided tour of the springs will bring you past many small, local gift shops and food options as well as opportunities for family fun! While spring hunting in historic Manitou Springs be sure to check out some of these great stops:
The Taos Maos
The Taos Maos has a very large selection of rubber ducks in all sizes! If your child (or even yourself!) is a collector of ducks or just looking for another unique one to take in the tub with them, this is the perfect stop! You will know you have come upon the shop when you see the large rubber duck statue outside the store!
Location: 736 Manitou Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829
Pike’s Peak Chocolate and Ice Cream
Pike’s Peak is the perfect stop for a delicious ice cream cone or a variety of chocolatey treats. The menu includes a wide range of flavors, milkshake options, and chocolate treats, many of which are designed as animals that make the treat even more appealing for the kiddos!
Theo’s Toys is a small toy located along an alley way off of Manitou Ave. that will be sure to be a hit for any kid. The selection of toys is not the biggest, but your child will likely be able to find something they enjoy!
The Penny Arcade
If strolling along Manitou Ave. with kids, a stop at the Penny Arcade is a must! Not only will you find many traditional arcade games and skee ball, you will also come across dozens of small kiddie rides, costing 50 cents each and a change machine nearby. The kids could spend hours at this spot!
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