A Good Neighbor
The Peterson community extends beyond the gates. It travels throughout our surrounding strong communities and permeates the fabrics of our neighborhoods. Peterson members pride themselves as strong supporters of the community they share their lives with and strive to promote citizenship through example. Military installations account for about 20 percent of employment in the Colorado Springs community, and community outreach is an opportunity to display Peterson AFB’s camaraderie with its citizen neighbors.
Colorado Springs School Districts
The 21st Space Wing is a proud partner with School District 11. Wing members support classes with volunteers for school events — science fairs, career days, tours, guest lecturers and mentors. For more information on Colorado Springs school districts and Peterson Air Force Base’s school liaison officer, visit the 21st Force Support Squadron’s website at www.21fss.com/about/airman-family-readiness/school-liaison-officer.
Colorado Springs’ reputation as a prime location for important military installations got its start in the 1940s when Fort Carson was established on 137,000 acres a few miles south of the city.
Fort Carson is south of Colorado Springs in the shadow of Cheyenne Mountain. Approximately 26,000 active-duty Soldiers and 5,800 civilians are stationed at “The Mountain Post.”
The major units assigned to the post include an infantry division, a training division, a Special Forces group and an area support group. Many other smaller units also call Fort Carson home.
Peterson people are often referred to Evans Army Community Hospital in Bldg. 7500 on Titus Boulevard. The five-story medical complex has a 76-bed capacity. The two-story clinic building contains 400 examination and treatment rooms. A common area connects the clinic building and the main hospital. This area includes the main entrance, medical library, chapel and pharmacy.
Fort Carson is proud of its 18-hole championship golf course, Cheyenne Shadows golf course, Thunder Alley Bowling Center, Mountain Post Sports Complex, Outdoor Recreation Complex, and auto and woodworking shops.
AIR FORCE ACADEMY
The military’s presence expanded with the Air Force Academy in the 1950s. It occupies more than 18,000 acres of land just northwest of Colorado Springs. More than 4,000 cadets attend the Academy. More than 1,000 men and women enter the academy each year to begin a four-year program that leads to a commission in the Air Force.
The Academy is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Colorado. Nearly 1 million people visit the facility each year. People also come to see the Air Force Falcons compete in Mountain West Conference athletic events. For ticket information, call 719-472-1895.
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE
Schriever Air Force Base, approximately 10 miles east of Peterson AFB, was established in the mid-1980s. There are currently more than 6,200 personnel working on the base.
It is home to the Air Force’s 50th Space Wing, a component of AFSPC. The 50th Space Wing provides integrated combat effects from space, ensures command and control of satellite weapons systems, and conducts expeditionary operations. The 50th operates and supports more than 150 satellites and satellite programs like the Global Positioning System, Space Based Space Surveillance and the worldwide Air Force Satellite Control Network.
Also at Schriever is the Space Innovation and Development Center, the Missile Defense Agency and the 310th Space Wing, the Air Force Reserve’s only space wing.
Colorado Springs is situated at the junction of what was the inspiration for the song “America the Beautiful.” To the east are rolling plains. To the west rises the majestic 14,115-foot Pikes Peak, one of many high, scenic peaks of the Rockies. To the south is the Arkansas River valley with its agricultural lands and the town of Pueblo. To the north lies the Denver metropolitan area.
Much of Colorado Springs occupies gently rolling hills which slope westward, offering unobstructed views of Pikes Peak and the mountains of the Colorado Front Range.
From the very beginning, Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region have been developed as a community with quality of life in mind. Today, they offer citizens a blend of business opportunities, culture and unparalleled outdoor recreation.
Colorado Springs began as one man’s dream. When Gen. William Jackson Palmer first saw the scenic attraction of the Pikes Peak region, he immediately knew it was a location that could attract his wealthy European and East Coast friends. The city’s first stake was driven in 1871. Colorado Springs became especially popular with the British and acquired the nickname Little London. Riding the rails, visitors came to see the area’s beauty and were inspired to stay by a mild climate and the region’s growing resort accommodations.
In the 1890s, Colorado Springs found it was surrounded by more than scenic wealth. Gold was discovered in nearby Cripple Creek in 1891, and Colorado Springs found itself a thriving financial center. The golden years lasted until 1917, when the United States went to silver for its coinage, and the local economy once again emphasized tourism.
Looking to expand its economic base, the city offered land to the military in 1942. With the start of World War II, Fort Carson was established to the south of Colorado Springs. Peterson was originally known as the Colorado Springs Army Air Base. That name was changed to Peterson Army Air Base in December 1942, in honor of Lt. Edward Peterson, who lost his life in the first fatal crash at the installation.
The military’s presence grew in the 1950s with the opening of the Air Force Academy. The construction of Cheyenne Mountain and Falcon Air Force Base (now named Schriever AFB) helped create the reputation of Colorado Springs as the nation’s military space capital. Third only to Florida and Texas, Colorado is well-entrenched in the space community.
Manufacturing expanded tremendously when the area’s quality of life and cost advantages were recognized in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, computers, electronic equipment, semiconductors, precision parts, plastics, heavy equipment and countless other high-quality products are manufactured in the Pikes Peak region and shipped to national and international markets.
The amateur sports segment is one of several service industries expanding in the region. Colorado Springs is home to the headquarters of the U.S. Olympic Committee and Olympic Training Center, the world’s finest multisport training facility.
Colorado Springs’ pleasant climate is a key element in the area’s high quality of life. Weather in the Pikes Peak region is surprisingly mild; uncomfortable extremes are rare. Despite a moderately high-altitude site near the Rocky Mountains, Colorado Springs on average gets less snow than Denver, Salt Lake City or Minneapolis.
The mountains capture most of the precipitation from east-moving systems, giving the Pikes Peak region dry and sunny weather most of the year. However, the weather can change dramatically in a matter of hours.
At an elevation of 6,035 feet, residents enjoy a number of climatic advantages.
Long and lingering Indian summer autumns are common, while spring is a mild precursor to summer. Colorado Springs’ meteorological classification is an alpine desert with about 250 days of sunshine and only 15 to 16 inches of precipitation per year. Humidity remains comfortably low.
While snow is not uncommon, it doesn’t remain on the ground long. Sunny days are abundant during the winter, and the sun’s intensity at this elevation quickly melts snow from streets and sidewalks. Warm chinook winds also help moderate the winter climate. These dry, northwesterly winds can cause rapid increases in temperatures, reminding residents that an Indian meaning of chinook is “snow-eater.” Mild, sunny weather in the middle of the winter is typical, allowing residents to golf, bike, hike, play tennis and enjoy all types of outdoor activities in the sunshine. However, as little as a 30-minute drive into the mountains can reveal temperatures 15 degrees colder than in the city.
Nearby communities offer many attractions — from professional sports in Denver to the colleges and universities in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, to the hiking trails and mountains in the area.
Denver, the state capital, is about an hour’s drive north of Colorado Springs on Interstate 25. It is a center for music, art, education, sports, outdoor recreation and entertainment in Colorado.
Denver supports professional basketball, football, baseball and soccer teams. The Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens, Children’s Museum, Museum of Nature & Science, Gates Planetarium, Denver Mint, governor’s mansion, and the National Western Stock Show are other attractions. Visit www.denver.org more information.
Fountain Valley includes the communities of Fountain, Widefield and Security. These communities are approximately 10 miles south of Colorado Springs and 30 miles north of Pueblo along Interstate 25. For more information on the Fountain Valley region, visit the Fountain Valley Chamber of Commerce website at www.fountainvalleychamber.com.
Manitou Springs, just west of Colorado Springs, takes its name from the many mineral springs in the area. The area once was marked off as a sanctuary by the local Indian tribes who attributed supernatural powers to the springs’ waters. Today, Manitou Springs thrives as a tourist destination. Visit http://manitousprings.org for more information.
Pueblo, about 45 miles south of Colorado Springs on Interstate 25, offers the Pueblo Symphony Orchestra, the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center and the Pueblo Art Guild Gallery. Pueblo is also home to the Colorado State Fair. Top national entertainers, a rodeo and a military appreciation day are highlights of the event, which attracts about half a million visitors each year. Visit www.pueblo.us for more information.
Sports, Recreation and Parks
Sports enthusiasts will find many opportunities to run, hike, ski, golf, cycle, fish, camp, sightsee and hunt in the Pikes Peak region. There are also many amateur and professional competitions available for sports fans.
Colorado Springs has one of the most extensive municipal and regional park systems in the nation, with more than 8,000 acres of park area. Major public-use facilities can be found in nearly every neighborhood.
Regional parks, typically more than 100 acres in size, offer beautiful scenic views. The Garden of the Gods Park, North Slope Recreation Area, Palmer Park and North Cheyenne Canyon offer diverse sights and recreational activities. To find out more about Colorado Springs parks, recreation and cultural services, visit the City of Colorado Springs website at https://coloradosprings.gov.
GARDEN OF THE GODS
Few things say “Colorado Springs” quite like these towering red rock formations at the base of Pikes Peak. Hike, bike or drive through the 1,400-acre park and watch for deer and numerous birds and critters. Start your visit at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center with its hands-on exhibits explaining the geology, ecology, plants and history of the area. For more information, call 719-634-6666 or visit www.gardenofgods.com.
TRAILS FOR HIKING AND BIKING
A growing network of urban and rural trails makes many scenic areas in the Pikes Peak region more accessible to hikers and bicyclists. Hiking and walking opportunities abound in nearby city, county and state parks. Barr Trail, which ascends the east side of Pikes Peak from Manitou Springs, is among several local hikes in nearby national forest service land.
The area’s growing ranks of mountain bikers have discovered and developed hundreds of miles of enjoyable trails for all skill levels.
FISHING, RAFTING AND OTHER WATER SPORTS
Reservoirs, natural lakes, rivers and streams, many in developed state parks or national forest lands, provide a vast opportunity of water-related recreation.
Anglers are treated to “Gold-Medal” trout streams, reservoirs laden with native and stocked rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout, and ample warm-water fisheries stocked with walleye, bass and catfish — all within a few hours’ drive. Mountain anglers are treated to some of the West’s best ice fishing for trout, pike and landlocked salmon.
Whitewater rafting season, May through July along several freestone rivers, is noted as being some of the best in the nation.
Water skiing, inner tubing and power boating are available on many lakes in the area. These lakes are balanced with others that have boating restrictions to allow those who prefer canoes, kayaks and small boats to enjoy quieter water.
The Pikes Peak region is a sports fan’s heaven. Local competitions and exhibitions abound, such as world-class athletics at the Olympic Training Center, authentic rodeo, professional golfing, auto racing and countless other sports events.
Colorado Springs is home to the Sky Sox, the AAA affiliate for the Colorado Rockies major league baseball team. Security Service Field, built in 1988, seats up to 10,200 fans for 72 home games each season.
Rodeo competitions have a large following in the Pikes Peak region. Two major rodeos take place in Colorado Springs in July. The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo and the National Little Britches Rodeo are held here each summer. Many smaller rodeos are held in other communities in the Pikes Peak region yearly.
The Colorado Springs area is a haven for sightseers. For detailed information, visit the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau website at www.visitcos.com, or call 800-888-4748 or 719-635-7506. The Visitor Information Center is at 515 S. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs, CO 80903.
CAVE OF THE WINDS
Be sure to bring your camera for this fascinating 45-minute guided tour through caverns formed millions of years ago. Tours leave every 15-30 minutes. Bring a light jacket and wear comfortable shoes that have good traction. The cave is about 6 miles west of Colorado Springs on U.S. Route 24 above Manitou Springs. For more information, call 719-685-5444 or visit www.caveofthewinds.com.
CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN ZOO
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, at an elevation of 6,800 feet, is world-famous for its diverse and exotic collection of more than 800 animals. The zoo features natural settings for many of its inhabitants. Hand-feed the largest giraffe herd of any zoo in the world, wander into the Lion’s Lair, or visit the Monkey Pavilion to see an assortment of primate species.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, open 365 days a year, is at 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road. For more information, call 719-633-9925 or visit www.cmzoo.org.
The still-operational gold mining town of Cripple Creek is nestled in a volcanic bowl on the west side of Pikes Peak. Cripple Creek was the center of politics, finance and entertainment for the mining district, and at the turn of the century it boasted two opera houses, eight newspapers, a stock exchange and many other attractions.
Now, the mining town preserves and showcases its history, offering limited-stakes gambling, mine tours, narrow-gauge train rides, museum exhibits and a melodrama theater.
FINE ARTS CENTER
Founded in 1936, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St., cultivates both visual and performing arts. It houses world-class art exhibitions, the Bemis School of Art, and a theater, which features musicals, comedies and dramas. The center offers programs and activities for individuals, couples, families and groups. For more information, call 719-634-5581 or visit www.csfineartscenter.org.
GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE
The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is 150,000 acres of grasslands, wetlands, forests, alpine lakes, 13,000-foot peaks and, of course, dunes. In fact, the park contains the tallest sand dunes in North America. Visitors can take part in a number of outdoor activities, including sand boarding and sledding, hiking and horseback riding. Visit www.nps.gov/grsa for more information, including operating hours, directions and entrance fees.
MANITOU CLIFF DWELLINGS AND ANASAZI MUSEUM
The Manitou Cliff Dwellings site has some of the finest artifacts and cliff dwelling homes of the Southwest. Visitors can explore the dwellings and visit the Anasazi museum. The Manitou Cliff Dwellings is open seven days a week year-round, weather permitting. It is 5 miles west of Colorado Springs just off U.S. Route 24. For hours of operation and more information call 800-354-9971 or visit www.cliffdwellingsmuseum.com.
OLYMPIC TRAINING CENTER
The headquarters for the U.S. Olympic Committee facility is on the site of the former Ent Air Force Base at 1750 E. Boulder St. Tour guides take you through several training areas, including the weightlifting and wrestling facilities, USA Shooting Center and the Aquatics Center. For more information call 888-659-8687 or 719-866-4618 or visit www.teamusa.org/About-the-USOC/Training-Centers-and-Sites/Colorado-Springs.
PIKES PEAK COG RAILWAY
Take an unforgettable panoramic trip that leads you to the 14,110-foot summit of America’s most famous mountain. Modern Swiss trains depart from the historic depot at 515 Ruxton Ave. in Manitou Springs. The round trip is three hours and 10 minutes. For more information, call 800-745-3773 or 719-685-5401 or visit www.cograilway.com.
PIKES PEAK INTERNATIONAL HILL CLIMB
The second-oldest auto race in the nation, the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb attracts international competitors and thousands of spectators. Held each year, the “Race to the Clouds” is 12.42 miles of road with 156 turns and an elevation gain of 4,815 feet to the summit of Pikes Peak. Visit www.ppihc.com for more information.
Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo
The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo is one of the biggest annual events in Colorado Springs. The rodeo has been a military tradition since 1947 and has always showcased the pinnacle of rodeo talent and action, providing wholesome entertainment for the Pikes Peak community.
Held every July, proceeds from the rodeo go to local military charities. For more information, visit www.pikespeakorbust.org.
Colorado Springs history comes to life as Indian relics and Western pioneer antiques tell the area’s story from the beginning to today in the Pioneers Museum at 215 S. Tejon St. in Colorado Springs. For more information, call 719-385-5990 or visit www.cspm.org.
ROYAL GORGE ROUTE RAILROAD
One of Colorado’s most popular tourist attractions, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad takes riders through the breathtaking Royal Gorge. Known as the “Scenic Line of the World,” the two-hour, 24-mile trip combines views of 1,000-foot granite cliffs and the Arkansas River with gourmet dining and world-class service. For more information, call 800-724-5748 or 719-276-4000 or visit www.royalgorgeroute.com.
View the “Grandest Mile of Scenery in Colorado.” Spectacularly illuminated at night, the canyon offers hiking trails and an elevator that takes you to Eagles Nest, a point on top of the falls which allows you to view its splendor from the air. Seven Falls is only 10 minutes from downtown Colorado Springs. The fall 2013 flooding damaged this site, but it is open once again. Check online at www.sevenfalls.com for more information.
WILL ROGERS SHRINE OF THE SUN
The Will Rogers Shrine, hewn out of granite, was built by Spencer Penrose and dedicated to the memory of humorist Will Rogers. Access to the shrine is included in the cost of admission to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. The shrine features stunning murals by Randall Davey, breathtaking views and a granite tower. Visitors may climb to the top of the tower for a spectacular view of the Pikes Peak region. For more information, call 719-578-5367 or visit www.cmzoo.org.