I love to stay in a place with a colorful story or in this case, hundreds of colorful stories. The Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort has been located on the road between Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs since the early 1900s.
The stucco hotel with 48 rooms lined up under broad, old trees, seems like the ideal setting for a best-selling coming-of-age-novel where the protagonist’s parents were the Buffalo Lodge proprietors. Of course, like all coming-of-age-stories, mischief, heartache and love abound in this critically acclaimed novella. By the way, if someone writes this book, I will read it but will also expect a “thank you very much, to Heidi” in the acknowledgment section.
Buffalo Lodge has been a two-year labor of love and sweat for the couple who bought the property. It had deteriorated into a rent-by-the-week or month hotel and it took time to return the hotel to a creditable lodging establishment.
The large property includes a pool and park-like field where a farmer’s market is happening on Friday nights this summer. The park area, which includes a stage, is also the venue of the Casey Jones Music Festival in September.
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While all are welcome, Buffalo Lodge caters to cyclists who come to this area in droves seeking to ride through the beauty of the surrounding area. It seems to be working as we were the only ones in the breakfast room not wearing spandex and cycling shoes. It goes beyond the theme as the resort hosts a series of weekly group rides. Cyclists should peek at the Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort Events Calendar before booking.
As an avid cyclist, owner Torie Giffin knows exactly how to win the hearts of her tribe including small touches like a bike rack against a corrugated steel panel on the wall inside guest rooms.
Our renovated double room was good-sized, clean and decorated with contemporary bike art. Even if, like us, you only ride bikes occasionally, the room’s bike motif was comfy and entirely Coloradan.
The lodge at the entrance of the property acts as the hotel lobby, hotel bar and is the spot where guests enjoy a hearty continental breakfast with items such as waffles and cereal. The decor is eclectic with some of the original taxidermies still on display including, of course, a buffalo head. In addition to the throwback ornamentation, a few modern art pieces twirl from the ceiling reminding us that this is indeed the 21st Century—that, and you’ll find no Miller High Life or Coors here—the Buffalo Lodge beer fridge is only stocked with Colorado brews.
For lunch on Saturday, we hit Trail’s End Taproom, an 8-minute bike ride from Buffalo Lodge this business also caters to cyclists. This brand new self-pour-style taproom features a large patio, indoor and outdoor bike racks and oversize bathrooms for changing into gear. The tap selection was more varied than I’d seen at other self-pour pubs and included wine and cider.
Sitting under the shade we munched on pretzels and sausages while watching cyclist after cyclist pull in for a pint and then take off again to enjoy the rest of the afternoon on the trail. Obviously, this business model was a clever idea for this primo Colorado Springs biking location.
After a long dip in the pool, our happy hour at Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort was accompanied by drinks and conversation with Torie’s husband Nathan, who played the quintessential bartender, imparting fascinating and often amusing stories about the property and surrounding area. Nothing about this place is straightforward and even Nathan isn’t sure of which stories are true and what’s merely legend; even the exact date of when the lodge was built isn’t known.
The resort is near several restaurants and we walked the 5-minutes to Amanda’s Fonda for dinner on the first night. While, as we found out later, it’s not everyone’s favorite Mexican food in Colorado Springs, we thoroughly enjoyed our Molcajete that arrives at the table smoking and sizzling.
The second night we had dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant called Paravicini’s Italian Bistro, which is apparently everyone’s favorite Italian restaurant in Colorado Springs. They didn’t have any reservations until 9 p.m. so we decided to show up hoping for one of four bar spots. Our luck, which has been running for a long time now, did not run out. We found two bar seats next to a friendly, local couple, and dinner and the conversation were delightful.
Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort is in Colorado Springs but is technically on the border of the suburb of Old Colorado City and the Town of Manitou Springs. It’s also just 3-minutes by car to the Garden of the Gods Trading Post which sits at the southern entrance of this iconic park. I’ll write more about Garden of the Gods in a future post, but if you want to experience it before the crowds materialize at 9 a.m., Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort is perfectly located for easy early morning visits.
With bikes for guests, breakfast, happy hour and a pool, Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort is an excellent place to stay in Colorado Springs. Whether you bike, climb, hike or just like sitting poolside with a cold beer and a good book, this resort has got your needs covered, and with rooms starting at $100/night it won’t break the bank to stay here.
After two nights at the resort, Ryan and I can’t help but root for what Torie and Nathan are doing with this historic hotel in Old Colorado City. They are restoring the soul of a property that has no doubt given great joy to thousands of people over the years and will now, thanks to their efforts, continue to be part of travelers’ happy memories for many more years to come.
Thank you to Visit Colorado Springs & Buffalo Lodge Bicycle Resort for hosting our visit.