What are the five best free things to do in Colorado Springs?

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One of the greatest things about the great outdoors, in Colorado Springs as elsewhere, is that it’s free. There are so many great free things to keep you occupied throughout the year here.

1. Hiking trails criss-cross the city, Cheyenne Mountain and all its many parks, from the leisurely to the hardcore; the concierge desk can fill you in on the treks that are right for you.

2. There’s no entry fee for the remarkable landmark of sandstone formations that is the Garden of the Gods, which even leads free nature walks.

3. U.S. Olympic Training Center offers free tours, complete with glimpses of America’s finest in full stride.

On the quirkier side, Manitou Springs hosts two annual events that have to be seen to be believed. The Emma Crawford Coffin Races & Parade in October is a freak show in the best sense of the term — and yes, it’s just what it sounds like, with wheeled coffins cruising down Manitou Avenue and a hearse-led parade.

Also in Manitou Springs, the second annual event you should visit for is the Great Fruitcake Toss, which takes place in January. It’s a blast of a city-sanctioned food fight, in which holiday-weary contestants unleash their inner Grinches — and their pastry-based curveballs.

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