At an elevation of 6035 feet, Colorado Springs sits at the foot of one of America's most famous landmarks, Pikes Peak. The city plays host to over 6 million annual visitors who are drawn to the beauty of the snow-capped mountains and open spaces, to the 300 days of sunshine a year, to the bike trails and the access to arts and cultural venues.
Known as "Little London" for its affinity to arts and culture, the city was founded by General William J. Palmer, a Civil War hero and railroad magnate, in 1871. Today, Colorado Springs is enjoying a resurgence of national recognition. Rated the #1 "Best Places to Live" in the country by Money Magazine in 2006, Colorado Springs was placed #1 inOutside's 2009 list of America's Best Cities. Boasting more than 50 area attractions, ranging from one of the nation's three U.S. Olympic Training Centers to the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and the American Numinsmatic Association Money Museum (a coin collectors nirvana) to The North Pole, it has over 7,390 acres of regional parks.
Here are a few of our favorite Colorado Springs attractions:
In 1893, at age thirty-three, Katharine Lee Bates, a professor of English literature at Wellesley College, took a train trip to Colorado Springs to teach a short summer school session at Colorado College. She was inspired by sights along the way, and then bowled over by the views from the top of Pikes Peak. It was standing on top of the mountain, at 14,110 feet, that the words for "America the Beautiful" came to her, and back in her Colorado Springs hotel room where she wrote the poem, originally published in 1985 to commemorate the Fourth of July. Today you can take a cog railroad to the top of Pikes Peak year round.
A National Natural Landmark, the Garden of the Gods is truly one-of-a-kind. It offers towering sandstone formations, a wonderful view of Pikes Peak, paved and unpaved hiking paths, the historic Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Sight (a living history museum placed on the National Register for Historic Places in 1971). Given to the the city of Colorado Springs in 1909 by the children of railroad magnate Charles Elliot Perkins, this amazing park can be enjoyed FREE of charge. Activities and features include: guided nature walks, hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding trails and technical rock climbing.