The City of Colorado Springs sits at the base of the Rocky Mountains' magnificent Pike's Peak, surrounded by the red rock monuments of the Garden of the Gods.
The town was founded in 1871 by General William Jackson Palmer who envisioned a resort destination for this Rockies community. The temperate, dry weather in Colorado Springs made this a popular destination for health spas and sanitariums. In the 1890's the Colorado gold and silver rushes brought a stream of ambitious settlers to the area and Colorado Springs soon became the top mining exchange center in the world. By 1904, the 'city of millionaires' was home to 35 out of the nation's 100 millionaires, made rich by the Colorado Gold Rush.
Today, Colorado Springs is still thriving, with tourism and the military as the city's biggest industries. Luxury ski resorts are plentiful and in the city are an abundance of hotel rooms. This is an aviation town with Peterson Air Force Base, Cheyenne Mountain and Schriever Air Force Base located nearby. Colorado Springs is also home base for the U.S. Air Force Academy, one of Colorado Springs' top tourist draws.
- Six million Colorado Springs visitors per year bring over $1 billion dollars in revenue to this western city.
- Colorado Springs founding father, General Palmer, built a 67-room castle for his family, called Glen Eyrie, which can still be visited today.
- The views from the top of Pikes Peak inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write the famous patriotic song "America the Beautiful".
- Along with several air force installations and the air force academy, Colorado Springs is also home to NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) and the U.S. Space Command, making the area one of the heaviest concentrations of military presence in the United States.
- Pikes Peak
Stunning Pikes Peak towers above Colorado Springs at an elevation of 14,110 feet. This is the most visited mountain in the U.S. and the second most visited in the world after Mount Fuji in Japan. More than 500,000 people make it to the summit house yearly via Barr Trail, the Pikes Peak Highway or the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Barr Trail stretches 13 miles from base to summit and gains over 7,000 feet in elevation with the climb.
Pikes Peak commands a panoramic view of Colorado landscapes, the city of Colorado Springs, nearby Manitou Springs and the red rock monuments of the Garden of the Gods.
- Cave of the Winds
Manitou Springs, located four miles west of Colorado Springs, is the home of the Cave of the Winds, discovered in the late 1800's by two young brothers exploring during a church outing.
One of America's greatest show caves, the vast caverns display breathtaking arrays of limestone formations including stalactites, stalagmites and pillars. Tours are offered with discussions of the Pike's Peak region geology and the Cave of the Winds history. A lantern tour for the bravest spelunkers recreates the experience as it was at the turn of the century.
- Garden of the Gods
The Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center is a natural wonderland of red sandstone monuments and is the most visited attraction in the Colorado Springs region. The 480 acres of the park were gifted to the city by founding father, General Palmer, to be preserved and enjoyed by all. The Garden of the Gods was considered a sacred space by the native Kiowa, Ute, Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians.
Today the park offers tours of the vast red rock formations and education about the geology of the Pikes Peak region and the history of the local Native American cultures. Regulated rock climbing, mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed on the many well-marked trails. This is an awe-inspiring place and memories of its vistas will be with you long after your Colorado vacation ends.