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US Air Force Communities

From the awe-inspiring rock formations in the Garden of the Gods and towering vistas of Pikes Peak, to the legacy of athletic excellence at the U.S. Olympic Headquarters and Olympic Training Center, there is much to see and do in the Colorado Springs area. Get to know your community, share in its rich history and make your own mark in this special region of Colorado’s Front Range.

Colorado Springs

When Capt. Zebulon Pike sighted Pikes Peak in 1806, “Pikes Peak or Bust” became a rallying cry for miners headed west to find their fortunes. A group of prospectors chose the Colorado Springs site as the center for mountain mining activity, and this town became known as El Paso City.

Prior to the Civil War, the name was changed to Colorado City. The onset of the railroad was the impetus for organization of a town near the popular mineral springs in 1871. The nearness of Colorado City and the mineral springs gave this new town its name: Colorado Springs. By 1917, Colorado City was completely absorbed by Colorado Springs.

Combining scenic beauty, pleasant residential areas, modern industry, attractive military installations and cultural activities to satisfy every taste, Colorado Springs is a well-rounded community. The city offers a variety of recreational activities. You can hike in the morning, golf in the afternoon and, in the evening, take in a chuck wagon dinner, a graduate-level class or even attend the symphony.

The city is situated on a gently rolling plateau 6,035 feet above sea level, sheltered by the towering 14,110-foot-high Pikes Peak. This locale assures cool, dry summers and comfortable, mild winters with the low humidity tempering the extremes of the respective seasons.

The city boasts a population of more than 400,000 and comprises an area of approximately 183 square miles. Colorado Springs proudly claims the highest education level of any area its size in the nation. Public, private and parochial schools alike enjoy a favorable student-to-teacher ratio.

Colorado Springs Gov
(719) 385-2489
coloradosprings.gov

Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau
(800) 368-4748 / (719) 635-7506
visitcos.com

Military Installations

The Academy is one of four military installations in Colorado Springs. To the southeast of the city is Schriever Air Force Base, to the east (next to the city airport) is Peterson Air Force Base, the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station to the southwest, and located directly south is the Army’s Fort Carson. Some Academy employees who live in Colorado Springs take advantage of base exchange, commissary and recreational facilities at these other installations.

Fountain

Founded in 1859, Fountain is the oldest community in the Pikes Peak region. It is a growing city just a few miles south of Colorado Springs on Interstate 25, with a population of approximately 25,000. To the west, the city is bordered by Fort Carson, an Army post employing more than 40,000 people and under major expansion. To the east and south of it lay great grasslands and ranches. The Colorado Springs Airport is on the northern border.

Fountain is a family town with a relatively young population who enjoy its trails and parks. With fabulous views of Pikes Peak, the city retains its small-town atmosphere, historic downtown and Rocky Mountain Front Range frontier spirit. The Roping and Riding Club is decades old and still holds regular events in their arena in Metcalfe Park. The city is linked to the county trail system along Fountain Creek.

ci.fountain.co.us

Monument

North of Colorado Springs on Interstate 25, and only about 5 miles north of the Academy, is the small community of Monument. This historic town is slightly higher in elevation than Colorado Springs and receives a heavier snowfall.

townofmonument.org

Manitou Springs

Manitou Springs, on the western boundary of Colorado Springs, derives its name from the many mineral springs in the area. The area was once marked off as a sanctuary by the local Indian tribes, who attributed supernatural powers to the waters of these mineral springs (Manitou is the Ute Indian word for “great spirit”). Today, Manitou thrives as a tourist resort and boasts eight restored drinking springs.

Specialty shops, art galleries, restaurants and motels catering to the tourist trade abound in the downtown area. Within this small community are 50 motels and more than 30 restaurants, as well as 10 campgrounds, four city-owned and operated parks and a large, heated municipal pool.

maintousprings.org

Woodland Park

One of the four “Ute Pass” communities (the others are Green Mountain Falls, Cascade and Chipita Park), Woodland Park is 25 miles west of Colorado Springs on U.S. 24, in Teller County. Year-round residents commute daily to Colorado Springs on a wide, well-paved (though mountainous and twisting) road. This area is rapidly becoming a popular mountain resort community.

city-woodlandpark.org

Castle Rock

Castle Rock is situated 30 miles north of Colorado Springs. With a population of 42,000, this Douglas County area has several retail districts, including historic Wilcox Square, Prime Outlets at Castle Rock, and other areas featuring more than 300 unique shops, restaurants and banquet rooms.

Castle Rock also offers a variety of community annual events, including the Front Range Showcase in April, a business expo for the entire family; the WineFest in July, one of five wine festivals sanctioned by the Colorado Wine Board; and the Artfest in September, a juried art festival of more than 170 artists. Other community events include the Douglas County Fair Parade in August and the Starlighting in November, the lighting of the star atop the city’s namesake, Castle Rock that signals the beginning of the holiday season.

crgov.com

Seven Falls

This clear mountain stream plunges 200 feet over seven separate falls. It has been called the “grandest mile of scenery” in Colorado. Adjacent to the falls is a 224-step stairway that leads up to a mile-long nature trail and a panoramic overlook of Colorado Springs. At night, the falls are illuminated with spectacular light. Seven Falls is open year-round and is north of the Broadmoor Hotel on Mesa Road.

Seven Falls
(719) 632-0765
sevenfalls.com

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods Park is a 1,323-acre registered National Natural Landmark of both scenic splendor and recreational opportunities.

Before entering this magnificent park, it is highly recommended that visitors watch the 14-minute high definition movie at the world-class Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center, directly across the street from the park’s main entrance. The information you will absorb from this presentation will significantly enhance the experience of the park.

The visitor center also offers free maps and information about the park, guided nature walks, free interpretive presentations, more than 30 state-of-the-art interactive exhibits, two gift shops and a full-service cafe.

Garden of the Gods
(719) 634-6666
gardenofgods.com

Cave of the Winds

Cave of the Winds, the highest cave in the world open to the public, is one of America’s most spectacular prehistoric natural wonders. The caverns started forming more than 200 million years ago. Tours along the cave’s Discovery Trail are available year-round. From May through Labor Day, a spectacular laser light show called “Legends of the Night” is held after dark. The show uses the cliff faces as a screen to project upon. Cave of the Winds is located four miles west of Colorado Springs on Highway 24.

Cave of the Winds
(719) 685-5444
caveofthewinds.com

Palmer Lake

The town of Palmer Lake, founded by General William Jackson Palmer in 1871, is a growing community on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains just north of the Academy. Downtown Palmer Lake has restaurants, a library, town hall, and a historical museum. Visitors can enjoy coffee shop, bakery, antique shopping, boutiques, art galleries and a lakeside park. Palmer Lake sits on the Palmer-Divide, a geological ridge running from Palmer Lake eastward, creates its own weather patterns and separates the Arkansas River drainage to the south and the Platte River Drainage to the North. The highest point of the divide is about 7700 feet, at Vollmer Hill, which is located in the area known as the Black Forest. Monument Hill, located in the Tri-Lakes area, is about 7352 feet in elevation.

* CONTENT SOURCED FROM TOWNOFPALMERLAKE.COM

Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame

The Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to the sport of rodeo and to the men and women who have made it a world-class sporting event. The history of the cowboy from his origin to the modern rodeo cowboy is presented in multimedia displays and exhibits. The museum also features an outdoor garden with rodeo livestock. The hall is open year-round and is off Interstate 25 at Exit 147.

Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame
(719) 528-4764
prorodeohalloffame.com

Attractions

US Air Force Academy Attractions

Skiing

Colorado is home to some of the world's best skiing and snowboarding, and there are over a dozen popular skiing resorts within a two to three-hour drive of Colorado Springs. The season lasts from November to March, and ski trips can be affordable by taking advantage of the equipment and discount tickets offered by the two ski shops in the Outdoor Recreation Center.

Outdoor Recreation Center

(719) 333-4753

COMMUNITY CENTER OUTDOOR RECREATION CENTER

(719) 333-4475

VANDENBERG HALL OUTDOOR RECREATION ANNEX

(719) 333-4602

U.S. Olympic Complex

The U.S. Olympic Complex is the national headquarters for the U.S. Olympic Committee, Olympic Training Center and 15 national sports-governing bodies. Public tours are available Monday through Saturday, featuring a walk down the Irwin Belk Olympic Path into the Olympic Hall of Fame, as well as a rooftop terrace with an Olympic Torch display and a panoramic view of Colorado Springs.

1 Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs
(719) 866-4618
teamusa.org

Pikes Peak

Rising to 14,110 feet, Pikes Peak provides some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. It was after visiting the summit that Katherine Lee Bates wrote the words to the song “America the Beautiful.”

The Pikes Peak Cog Railway has the distinction of being the highest railroad in the United States. All year round, visitors can take the scenic three-hour round-trip ride to the summit, where they can relax in the gift shop/snack bar and enjoy the views of Denver, Kansas and New Mexico. Reservations are recommended.

The Pikes Peak Highway is a 19-mile paved and gravel journey to the top that begins in Cascade, only 15 minutes from downtown Colorado Springs, on Highway 24. A round-trip excursion can easily take two to three hours. The highway is open year-round, but hours vary throughout the seasons. For the adventurous, the challenging 13-mile (one-way) Barr Trail offers the opportunity to hike to the summit.

Pikes Peak Cog Railway
(719) 685-5401

Pikes Peak Highway
(719) 385-7325 (PEAK)
pikes-peak.com

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