Waking up in the morning and breathing fresh mountain air is often a reminder of my love for my hometown of Colorado Springs. Almost everyday I see the sun shining down on the vastness of Pikes Peak in the Rocky Mountains. A prominent feature of this family-friendly city “The Springs,” as locals call it, is Pikes Peak. (http://www.springsgov.com/SectionIndex.aspx?SectionID=18) Often residents use this 14,115-foot peak as a compass, which designates – west. It was atop Pikes Peak in 1893, where Katharine Lee Bates (http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/poets/bates.php) wrote about ‘purple mountain majesties’ in the song “America the Beautiful”. Colorado Springs boasts over 300 days of sunshine a year, yet also has four distinct seasons where the weather patterns can quickly change. There is a Colorado Springs’ saying, “If you like or don’t like the weather, just wait fifteen minutes and it will change.”
The Cog Railway (http://www.cograilway.com) is a popular tourist attraction that scales the side of Pikes Peak. Depending on the season, one may view quaking aspens or see the sparkle of newly fallen snow, as they journey to the top to enjoy the view of the city. The Pikes Peak region has hundreds of hiking trails to stay active as well as explore the scenery throughout the city. Bike routes, for all different skill levels, lead to the heart of downtown Colorado Springs, America the Beautiful Park, (http://www.springsgov.com/Page.aspx?NavID=2015 often host to low cost and enjoyable events, such as summer concerts, art shows, and craft fairs.
One of my favorite places in downtown Colorado Springs is my 139 year-old school, William J. Palmer High School, (http://cshs-palmer-alumni.org) named after the founder of the city, General William J. Palmer. (http://www.ghostdepot.com/rg/history/general%20palmer.htm) Phantom Canyon Brewery, http://www.phantomcanyon.com) located in the historic Cheyenne Building, (http://www.springsgov.com/Files/CenWalkingTour.pdf) features an extensive menu as well as hand-crafted beers in the brewpub, and even their own brewed root beer! For dessert you can stop by Josh and John’s Ice Cream, (http://joshandjohns.com/joshandjohns.com/index.html.html) and try my favorite flavor, Colorado Cookies and Cream. Continuing a few blocks south, one can stop by the Fine Arts Center (http://www.csfineartscenter.org) and enjoy local art and culture. The U.S. Olympic Training Center (http://www.teamusa.org/For-Athletes/Olympic-Training-Centers-and-Sites/Colorado-Springs/Tours) is north of downtown and visitors are able to tour the Training Center. Olympic athletes come from around the globe to train at our altitude of 6,035 feet. Colorado Springs located in El Paso County, has five military installations. The most famous and also a popular tourist destination is the Air Force Academy (http://www.usafa.af.mil/information/visitors/) with the distinct Seventeen Spire Chapel.
One of the most scenic views in this historic city is Garden of the Gods National Park. (http://www.gardenofgods.com/home/index.cfm) Located below Pikes Peak it is a great place to go walking, hiking, rock climbing, or even just drive to view the various rock formations and take pictures. For more of an adventure, Cave of the Winds (http://caveofthewinds.com) is an underground attraction from thousands of years ago. If you are looking for luxury, the Broadmoor (http://www.broadmoor.com) with its scenery of stunning natural beauty is the place to go. This 5 star hotel was built in the early 20th century as the first resort along the Rockies. Offering several golf courses, the Broadmoor has been host to both Men’s and Women’s Open Golf Championships. At the bottom of Cheyenne Mountain, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (http://www.cmzoo.org) is one of the highest altitude zoos and is known for its unique and interactive giraffe exhibit.
Nestled in the shadow of Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs has both natural and manmade enjoyment and entertainment to offer. Travelers will appreciate the endless beauty and the many activities available in the city I call home – Colorado Springs.