The city of Manitou Springs is a home rule municipality located in El Paso County, Colorado, United States. The town was founded for its scenic setting and natural mineral springs. The downtown area continues to be of interest to travelers, particularly in the summer, as the downtown area consists of many one-story, adjoining, small shops, restaurants, and pubs, as well as a creekside city park with a children's playground made from unusual materials. Among other services, shops cater to tourist interests such as clothing, candy, souvenirs, and outdoor recreation. The main road through the center of town was one of the direct paths to the base of Pikes Peak. Barr Trail, which winds its way up Pikes Peak, is accessible from town. The subdivision Crystal Hills was added to the municipality in the 1960s.
General William Jackson Palmer and Dr. William Abraham Bell founded Manitou Springs in 1872, intending the town to be a "scenic health resort". Dr Bell's home, Briarhurst Manor, is open to the public as a fine dining restaurant, which is listed on the National Register of Historic places. In 1876, the town was incorporated. "Manitou Springs has been the quintessential tourist town since the 1870s, when visitors discovered the healing waters the Ute Indians had been drinking for years. Many of the town's mineral springs still function today and the water is free."
Situated directly along U.S. Route 24 just west of Old Colorado City and Cave of the Winds, the town is bordered by Mt. Manitou to the west, Red Mountain to the south, and Englemann Canyon, south and west. It is near Garden of the Gods, with the same red stone as Red Mountain, and is at the base of Pikes Peak. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.2 square miles (8.2 km²), all of it land.
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