You could check out Castle Rock and Monument.
Monument Hill, between Castle Rock and the Springs (as we call it around here) is notoriously icy and slick and has many accidents during winter. It is about 7,500 feet.
For beauty, check out the Garden of the Gods.
Much of the land between Castle Rock and Monument (especially through Greenland) is now designated open space, so there will be many miles of never developed land along I-25.
One thing Colorado has is LOTS of open space. Millions of acres of National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, National Park, state forests, state parks and local community designated open space. Almost all of the lottery proceeds goes by law into purchasing open space and the like. In addition, many of the towns and cities and counties have specific open space levies.
Schools are lousy, but open space is great. Says something about priorities!
I hear Manitou Springs is sort of funky.