“Up the Pass” is a local colloquialism that usually means Woodland Park, a.k.a., “The City Above the Clouds.” At over 8400 feet of elevation, Woodland Park is higher than Vail, Aspen or Steamboat, and has what we hold to be the best view of Pikes Peak, sitting right alongside the east-west profile of Colorado’s largest mountain (by largest, we mean both most massive, and greatest vertical ascent; 37 others are actually taller, but none rise more than 7700′ in a single span. One has to know such trivia “up the pass”).
The City Above the Clouds nickname comes from the strange phenomena of winter inversions that occasionally blanket Colorado Springs in frigid, near-zero temperatures. When it’s icy, foggy and cold in Colorado Springs, it is usually 20 to 30 degrees warmer in Woodland, where they look downhill on top of the clouds. Indeed, it’s an interesting characteristic of the area, that most of Woodland Park sits in a suspended valley, at the top of the Ute Pass forest on a bit of a flat spot between persistent inclines. That’s the 19th Century definition of “a park”, a hanging, mountainous glen that is surrounded by panoramic views, with the eye grabbing both close-in and far off vistas in all directions.
Homes in Woodland usually are on larger-than-average-lots. Due to the elevation and the native granite soils, this is not the place to own a home with an expansive lawn of Kentucky bluegrass. But it is the place if you like aspens, ponderosa, and sunny views of “the Peak.” Homes are generally more expensive per square foot, but there are a variety of homes and styles, from old 1940’s cabins to newer construction in gated neighborhoods, a golf course community along the Shining Mountain Golf Course, and then a smattering of oh-so-choice lots on acreage that have been improved with all forms of wondrous architecture.
Woodland Park is a self-sufficient city with it’s own city government and zoning, a Wal-Mart and two grocery stores. It’s geographic location gives skiers a half hour head start on lift lines, and gold medal trout fishing is 45 minutes away at The Dream Stream or Cheesman Canyon (our personal preference). There are several restaurants and notable establishments that both locals and Springs’ residents regularly frequent. Fine dining is memorable and enjoyable at The Swiss Chalet, and on the other end of the spectrum, carb and sugar-loading is a breeze at the Donut Mill, home of some truly epic frosted concoctions and legendary biscuits and gravy. And even if you can’t afford some of the furnishings, it’s great fun to see one of the finest lodge-furnishing stores in Colorado, at Tweeds (across the street from the also dandy Bierwerks). There are numerous points of public forest access all around Teller County and quite a few of those originate right on the city limits of Woodland Park. For high-end buyers looking to buy in Woodland, one word of caution we often share is that their “need for a lot of acreage” probably is not nearly as great as they think. Due to the privacy of trees, the shielding of terrain and the possibility of adjoining public lands, 5 to 35 acres can feel like your own private wilderness less than 30 minutes from downtown Colorado Springs.