By Sue Deans
Breathtaking scenery surrounds Colorado Springs.
To the west towers Pikes Peak, from whose summit in 1893 Katherine Lee Bates was inspired to write “America the Beautiful.”
Northward, the architecturally significant United States Air Force Academy nestles in the foothills and Monument Pass rises to the mesas dotting the path from Denver.
Eastward, Colorado’s plains meander as far as the eye can see.
The military presence is strong in Colorado Springs. In addition to the Air Force Academy with its 4,500 cadets, to the south-southwest lies lovely Cheyenne Mountain with its pine-covered slopes over the bunkers where the North American Aerospace Defense Command headquarters were once concealed.
Due south is Fort Carson, home of the Army’s legendary 10th Mountain Division and numerous other units. To the east is Peterson Air Force Base and NORAD’s new headquarters.
More recently, the Olympics have made themselves a strong presence in the Springs. And education is a strong point, with abundant educational opportunities, including Colorado College, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak Community College, in addition to the Air Force Academy.
• Cave of the Winds
• Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
• Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
• Flying W Ranch
• Focus on the Family Welcome Center
• Ghost Town Wild West Museum
• Horticultural Art Society Gardens
• Manitou Springs
• Manitou Cliff Dwellings
• Peterson Air and Space Museum
• Pikes Peak Cog Railway
• Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and Museum of the American Cowboy
• Seven Falls
• World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame
• Xeriscape Demonstration Gardens
Colorado Springs facts
Population: 416,427 (2010 Census).
Land area: 185.7 square miles.
County: El Paso (Colorado Springs is county seat).
Altitude: 6,035 feet above sea level.
Climate: Warm summers, cold winters and low humidity, with abundant sunshine year-round. Annual precipitation of 16 inches, including average snowfall of 40 inches. January averages: high 43, low 17. July averages: high 85, low 57. More weather >>