Dating back to the late 1800s, Colorado Springs was built during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush and was founded by General William Jackson Palmer as a resort town. The town’s climate and mountain settings made it a popular destination for tourists. As a popular junction for the railroad, people came from all around the country, and world, to visit and make a home in this flourishing mountain town. The city’s founders provided the funding and land to create parks and build buildings for the mine owners, artists, and writers coming to the area.
With a population just under 500,000 (650,000 for the Metropolitan Area), Colorado Springs economy is driven primarily by the military. High-tech industry and tourism also make up a large portion of the economy. Some of the city’s largest employers are from the defense industry with a large segment of this industry dedicated to the development and operation of missile defense projects. The aerospace industry has also largely influenced the Colorado Springs economy. Corporations like Boeing, General Dynamics, SAIC, and Lockheed Martin are just some of the defense contractors you will find around the city. Other top employers include Fort Carson, Peterson AFB, Schriever AFB, USAF Academy and many others.
- Fort Carson is the city’s largest military installation and hosts various types of training areas for infantry, armor, and aviation units.
- Peterson Air Force Base houses critical aspects of the Air Force’s missile defense operations and development. Peterson AFB is also home to the Air Force Space Command.
- Schriever Air Force Base (formerly Falcon AFB) is home to the 50th Space Wing, which controls warning, navigational, communications and spy satellites.
- United States Air Force Academy is located on the city’s north-western side. The campus is famous for its unique chapel and draws many visitors all year round.
- NORAD, built at the height of the cold war, located in the Cheyenne Mountain Air Station, is tasked with tracking intercontinental missiles designed for nuclear weapons delivery.
Parks, Trails, and Open Space
The Garden of the Gods is one of the most popular areas in Colorado Springs. The 300 ft. sandstone rock formations stand against a backdrop of the snow covered mountains of Pikes Peak. With several other major parks, there is always a place of recreation and a place to enjoy nature. With more than 100 miles of multi-use trails, you can explore all the way from Palmer Lake to Fountain, Colorado on horseback, roller blades, or just by simply walking and taking in the sites.