Local Communities and Attractions

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Local Communities and Attractions

A Good Neighbor
The Peterson community extends beyond the gate. It travels throughout our surrounding strong communities and permeates the fabrics of our neighborhoods. Peterson members pride themselves as a strong supporter of the community they share their lives with and strive to promote citizenship through example. One in 11 people in the Colorado Springs community are affiliated with the military, and we view community outreach as an opportunity to display our camaraderie to our citizen neighbor.

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs
School Districts
The 21st Space Wing also is a proud partner with Colorado Springs School District 11 and 49. Through the family support center, wing members support classes with volunteers for school events—science fairs, career days, tours, guest lecturers and mentors. The wing also sponsors area Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs.

Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo

Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo
Team Pete supports one of the biggest annual events in Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo. 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 area military installations charitable programs. For more information, visit

Local Installations

Local Installations
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 located south of Colorado Springs in the shadow of Cheyenne Mountain. Approximately 17,000 active-duty soldiers and 4,500 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 located in Building 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.

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 4,200 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, located 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 mission of the 50th Space Wing is to provide space combat capability through command, control, operations and support of more than 170 communication, navigation, warning, surveillance and weather satellite weapon systems and conduct of expeditionary operations. The 50th operates major satellite operations centers at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., and Onizuka Air Force Station, Calif., as well as eleven remote ground facilities around the world.

Also located at Schriever is the Joint National Integration Center. JNIC provides a state-of-the-art capability for Ballistic Missile and Theater Air Defense testing, modeling and simulation, and analysis. The facility also houses several tenants, including the Space Innovation and Development Center (formerly the Space Warfare Center) and the Cheyenne Mountain Training System, which supports strategic space systems and missile defense programs. Schriever is also home to the 310th Space Group, the Air Force Reserve's only Space Operations Group.

Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs is located 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 14,110-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 the city 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 History

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. It wasn't until December 1942 when the bases name was changed to Peterson Army Air Base, 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 Colorado Springs' reputation 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 multi-sport 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 location 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 easterly moving systems, giving the Pikes Peak region dry and sunny weather during 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 autumns are com-mon, 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 northwesterly winds can cause rapid increases in temperatures, reminding residents that the 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.

As little as a 30-minute drive into the mountains can reveal temperatures 15 degrees colder than in the city. Snow is more prevalent in the winter, and the weather conditions more rapidly changing during the course of the year.


Sports, Recreation and Parks
Sports enthusiasts will find many opportunities to run, hike, ski, golf, cycle, fish, camp, sight-see and hunt in the Pikes Peak region. There are many amateur and professional competitions available for less active 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.

Leading the list of more than 124 parks are five major recreation areas: The Garden of the Gods, Memorial Park, North Slope Recreation Area, Palmer Park and Cheyenne Canyon.

There are 40 Colorado state parks opening more than 215 thousand recreational acres to the outdoor enthusiast. Investigate further at

The Colorado Division of Wildlife owns 230 properties that cover 370 thousand acres used for fishing, hunting and recreation. Detailed information can be found at

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 a variety of 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

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.

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 from May through July along several free-stone rivers is noted as being some of the best in the nation.

Water skiing, inner tubing and power boating are available on a diverse amount of lakes in the area. These lakes are balanced with others that have boating restrictions for those who are more apt to use canoe, kayaks and small boats for the quieter side of the wake.

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. Security Service Field, built in 1988, seats up to 10,200 fans for 72 home games each season.

The International, a major PGA competition, is held each August at Castle Pines Golf Club, about a 30-minute drive north of Colorado Springs.

Rodeo competitions have a large following in the Pikes Peak region. Two major rodeos take place in Colorado Springs in July and August. 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.

Local Attractions
The Colorado Springs area is a haven for sightseers. For detailed information, call (800) 368-4748 or (719) 635-7506; visit the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau website at, or write the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, 515 South Cascade, Suite 104, Colorado Springs, CO 80903.

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 is one of three Colorado historic towns that has received authentic face lift and replicates life in the 19th century. It offers limited-stakes gambling, mine tours, narrow gauge train rides, museum exhibits and a melodrama theater.

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 allowing you to view its splendor from the air. Seven Falls is only six miles from downtown Colorado Springs.

The headquarters for the U.S. Olympic Committee facility is located on the site of the former Ent Air Force Base at 1750 E. Boulder. Tour guides take you through several training areas, including the gymnastics area, indoor shooting range and pool. For more information, call (719) 866-4618.

The second-oldest auto race in the nation, the annual Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb, attracts international competitors and thousands of spectators. Held each year on July 4, the Race to the Clouds is 12.4 miles of gravel road with 156 turns and an elevation gain of 4,700 feet to the summit of Pikes Peak.

Founded in 1936, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale, was the nation's first facility designed to cultivate both the visual and performing arts. It houses two unique museum collections, a music and lecture room, a theater, an extensive art library, and a comprehensive studio art and humanities program. The center also offers more than 70 special and ongoing activities every year. For more information, call (719) 634-5581 or visit

Colorado Springs' history comes to life as Indian relics and Western pioneer antiques tell the area's story from the beginning to today. It is located at 215 S. Tejon St. in Colorado Springs. For more information, call (719) 385-5990

The Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo are both on Cheyenne Mountain Scenic Highway. The Shrine of the Sun, hewn out of granite, was built in memory of and presents mementos of Will Rogers. 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.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the highest zoo in the country at 6,800 feet, is world famous for its diverse and exotic collection of more than 700 animals.

The zoo, opened in 1926, features natural settings for many animals including Wolf Woods, home to two of the 75 Mexican wolves alive today; and Primate World-an indoor/outdoor complex for apes and monkeys. Admission includes a visit to the Will Rogers Shrine featuring stunning murals by Randall Davey, breathtaking views and a granite tower. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, open 365 days a year, is at 4250 Cheyenne Mountain Road, just west of Colorado Springs. For more information, call (719) 633-9925 or visit

Be sure to bring your camera for this fascinating 40-minute guided tour through caverns formed millions of years ago. Tours leave about every 15 minutes. Bring a light jacket and comfortable shoes. The cave is just six miles west of Colorado Springs on U.S. Highway 24 above Manitou Springs. For more information, call (719) 685-5444 or visit

Take an unforgettable panoramic trip that leads you to the 14,110-foot summit of America's most famous peak. Modern Swiss trains operate daily during the summer, departing from the depot at 515 Ruxton Ave. in Manitou Springs. Round trip is three hours and 10 minutes. For more information, call (719) 685-5401 or visit

The Cliff Dwellings Museum has some of the finest artifacts and cliff dwelling homes of the Southwest. Visitors can explore the dwellings room by room. The Manitou Cliff Dwellings is open seven days a week year-round, weather permitting. June, July and August, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; May and September, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; December, January and February, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m; March, April, October and November, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The park remains open for one hour after closing time. The museum is five miles west of Colorado Springs on U.S. 24 at exit 141 near Manitou Springs. For more information call (719) 685-5242 and (800) 354-9971 or visit

The San Luis Valley—7,500 feet above sea level—is a desert. Three times larger than Delaware, it receives less than eight inches of moisture a year. This area houses the world's tallest sand dunes, piled to heights of more than 700 feet.

On the Royal Gorge Scenic Railway you can take a 30-minute, three-mile train ride to the rim of Point Alta Vista and the Royal Gorge Canyon. You also can ride the white water of the Arkansas River. Half-day, one- and two-hour rides are available. Two-hour rides extend to the bottom of the gorge with a rest stop along the Arkansas River. Rocky Mountain National Park is located about two hours north of Colorado Springs. For more information, call (970) 586-1206 or (800) 365-2267 or visit

Local Communities
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.

Manitou Springs 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 resort.

Fountain Valley includes the communities of Fountain, Widefield and Security, Colo. These communities are located approximately 10 miles south of Colorado Springs and 30 miles north of Pueblo along Interstate 25 at 5,546 feet above sea level. The city of Fountain was established in 1859 and got its name from nearby Fountain Creek, named by early French explorers La Fontaine qui Bouille, "the spring that boils." Security was established by American builders in 1953 and was named to reassure prospective home buyers. Developer Jules Watson developed the connecting Widefield area in 1965 and chose the name to express the concept of open space.

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 National History, Gates Planetarium, Denver Mint, governor's mansion, Pioneer Museum, National Western Stock Show and Red Rocks Amphitheater are other attractions.

Pueblo, 40 miles south of Colorado Springs on I-25, offers the Pueblo Civic Symphony, city park band concerts, the Broadway Theater League and University of Southern Colorado concerts. For more than 100 years, Pueblo has been the home of the Colorado State Fair. The event attracts more than a million visitors each year. Top national entertainers, a rodeo, and a military appreciation day are highlights.