I agree with the others, it would be no problem staying in the Springs at all. I live in Woodland Park which is up the pass about 15 mins to the West of Manitou and never have any traffic issues. I run the Marathon so there are quite a few less people looking for parking, but if you are anything like a lot of us you'll be up well before the race (who can sleep anyway??? ;) and will want to get there with time to spare. My husband and I usually get there around 6:15 (for the 7am start) and just sit in the car and "relax" until about 6:30. I would definitely save the money and use the free nights!