Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado Springs, Colorado
City of Colorado Springs[1]
Colorado Springs with the Front Range in the background.
Colorado Springs with the Front Range in the background.
Olympic City USA,[3]
The Springs[4][5]
Location of the City of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado.
Location of the City of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado.
Colorado Springs is located in the United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs
Location of the City of Colorado Springs in the United States.
Coordinates: 38°50′02″N 104°49′31″W / 38.83389°N 104.82528°W / 38.83389; -104.82528Coordinates: 38°50′02″N 104°49′31″W / 38.83389°N 104.82528°W / 38.83389; -104.82528
Country  United States
State  Colorado
County El Paso County seat[2]
Incorporated June 19, 1886[6]
 • Type Home rule municipality[1]
 • Mayor John Suthers (R)[a]
 • Total 195.761 sq mi (507.019 km2)
 • Land 195.399 sq mi (506.082 km2)
 • Water 0.362 sq mi (0.937 km2)
 • Total 478,961
 • Rank 2nd in Colorado
40th in the United States
 • Density 2,400/sq mi (940/km2)
 • Metro
755,105 (79th)
 • Front Range
Time zone UTC– 07:00 (MST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC– 06:00 (MDT)
ZIP codes[8]
80901–80951, 80960, 80962, 80970, 80977, 80995, 80997
Area code 719
FIPS code 08-16000
GNIS feature ID 0204797

The City of Colorado Springs is a home-rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado, United States.[1] The city population was 478,961 at the 2020 United States Census, a +15.02% increase since the 2010 United States Census.[7] Colorado Springs is the second-most populous city and the most extensive city in the State of Colorado. It is the principal city of the Colorado Springs, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area and the second-most prominent city of the Front Range Urban Corridor. It is located in east-central Colorado, on Fountain Creek, 70 miles (113 km) south of Denver.

At 6,035 feet (1,839 m) the city stands over 1 mile (1.6 km) above sea level, though some areas are significantly higher and lower. Colorado Springs is near the base of Pikes Peak, which rises 14,115 feet (4,302.31 m) above sea level on the eastern edge of the Southern Rocky Mountains.

The United States Air Force Academy opened just north of Colorado Springs in 1958. The city is home to 24 national sports governing bodies, including the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, the United States Olympic Training Center, USA Swimming, and USA Hockey.

The city had a population of 478,961 in 2020, with 755,105 in the metro area,[9] making it Colorado's second-most populous city (behind Denver) and the 40th-most populous city in the United States.[10] The city is in the Front Range Urban Corridor, an oblong region of urban population along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming, generally following Interstate 25.

In 2017 and 2018, Colorado Springs received several accolades. In 2018 U.S. News named it the most desirable place to live in the United States.[11] The previous year, Colorado Springs placed second on U.S. News' list of the 125 Best Places to Live in the USA.[12] The Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings found that Colorado Springs was the fastest-growing city for millennials.[13] Thumbtack's annual Small Business Friendliness Survey found Colorado Springs to be the fourth most business-friendly city in the country.[14]


President Richard Nixon gives a commencement ceremony speech at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, June 4, 1969

The Ute, Arapaho and Cheyenne peoples were the first recorded inhabiting the area which would become Colorado Springs.[15] Part of the territory included in the United States' 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the current city area was designated part of the 1854 Kansas Territory. In 1859, after the first local settlement was established, it became part of the Jefferson Territory on October 24 and of El Paso County on November 28. Colorado City at the Front Range confluence of Fountain and Camp creeks was "formally organized on August 13, 1859"[16] during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. It served as the capital of the Colorado Territory from November 5, 1861, until August 14, 1862, when the capital was moved to Golden, before it was finally moved to Denver in 1867.[17] So many immigrants from England had settled in Colorado Springs by the early 1870s that Colorado Springs was locally referred to as "Little London."[18] In 1871 the Colorado Springs Company laid out the towns of La Font (later called Manitou Springs) and Fountain Colony, upstream and downstream respectively, of Colorado City.[19] Within a year, Fountain Colony was renamed Colorado Springs and officially incorporated.[20] The El Paso County seat shifted from Colorado City in 1873 to the Town of Colorado Springs.[21] On December 1, 1880, Colorado Springs expanded northward with two annexations.[22][23]

The second period of annexations was during 1889–90, and included Seavey's Addition, West Colorado Springs, East End, and another North End addition.[22] In 1891 the Broadmoor Land Company built the Broadmoor suburb, which included the Broadmoor Casino, and by December 12, 1895, the city had "four Mining Exchanges and 275 mining brokers."[24] By 1898, the city was designated into quadrants by the north-south Cascade Avenue and the east-west Washington/Pike's Peak avenues.[23]: 10 

From 1899 to 1901 Tesla Experimental Station operated on Knob Hill,[25] and aircraft flights to the Broadmoor's neighboring fields began in 1919.[26] Alexander Airport north of the city opened in 1925, and in 1927 the original Colorado Springs Municipal Airport land was purchased east of the city.[26]

In World War II the United States Army Air Forces leased land adjacent to the municipal airfield, naming it Peterson Field in December 1942. This was only one of several military presences in and around Colorado Springs during the war.[27][28]

In November 1950, Ent Air Force Base was selected as the Cold War headquarters for Air Defense Command (ADC). The former WWII Army Air Base, Peterson Field, which had been inactivated at the end of the war, was re-opened in 1951 as a U.S. Air Force base.[29] The 1950s through 1970s saw a continued expansion of the military presence in the area, with the establishment of NORAD's headquarters in the city, as well as the ADCOM headquarters.

Between 1965 and 1968, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community College and Colorado Technical University were established in or near the city.[30][31] In 1977 most of the former Ent AFB became a US Olympic training center. The Libertarian Party was founded within the city in the 1970s.[32]

On October 1, 1981, the Broadmoor Addition,[22] Cheyenne Canon, Ivywild, Skyway, and Stratton Meadows were annexed after the Colorado Supreme Court "overturned a district court decision that voided the annexation". Further annexations expanding the city include the Nielson Addition and Vineyard Commerce Park Annexation in September 2008.[22]


View of Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak from the eastern plains

The city lies in a semi-arid Steppe climate region[33] with the Southern Rocky Mountains to the west, the Palmer Divide to the north, high plains further east, and high desert lands to the south when leaving Fountain and approaching Pueblo.[34] Colorado Springs is 69 miles (111 km) or one hour and five minutes south of Denver by car using I-25.[35]

Colorado Springs has the greatest total area of any municipality in Colorado. At the 2020 United States Census, the city had a total area of 125,287 acres (507.019 km2) including 232 acres (0.937 km2) of water.[7]

Metropolitan area

Colorado Springs has many features of a modern urban area such as parks, bike trails, and open spaces. However, it is not exempt from problems that typically plague cities experiencing tremendous growth such as overcrowded roads and highways, crime, sprawl, and government budgetary issues. Many of the problems are indirectly or directly caused by the city's difficulty in coping with the large population growth experienced since 1997, and the annexation of the Banning Lewis Ranch area to accommodate further population growth of 175,000 future residents.[36]


Colorado Springs has a cooler, dry-winter semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), and its location just east of the Rocky Mountains affords it the rapid warming influence from chinook winds during winter but also subjects it to drastic day-to-day variability in weather conditions.[37] The city has abundant sunshine year-round, averaging 243 sunny days per year,[38][39] and receives approximately 16.5 inches (419 mm) of annual precipitation. Due to unusually low precipitation for several years after flooding in 1999, Colorado Springs enacted lawn water restrictions in 2002. These were lifted in 2005[34] but permanently reinstated in December 2019.[40]

Nikola Tesla sitting in the Colorado Springs Experimental Station with his "magnifying transmitter" generating millions of volts

Colorado Springs is one of the most active lightning strike areas in the United States.[33] This natural phenomenon led Nikola Tesla to select Colorado Springs as the preferred location to build his lab and study electricity.[41]

Winters range from mild to moderately cold, with December, the coldest month, averaging 30.8 °F (−0.7 °C); historically January has been the coldest month, but, in recent years, December has had both lower daily maxima and minima.[42] Typically, there are 5.2 nights with sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows and 23.6 days where the high does not rise above freezing.[43]

Snowfall is usually moderate and remains on the ground briefly because of direct sun, with the city receiving 38 inches (97 cm) per season, although the mountains to the west often receive in excess of triple that amount; March is the snowiest month in the region, both by total accumulation and number of days with measurable snowfall. In addition, 8 of the top 10 heaviest 24-hour snowfalls have occurred from March to May.[43] Summers are warm, with July, the warmest month, averaging 70.9 °F (21.6 °C), and 18 days of 90 °F (32 °C)+ highs annually. Due to the high elevation and aridity, nights are usually relatively cool and rarely does the low remain above 70 °F (21 °C).[43] Dry weather generally prevails, but brief afternoon thunderstorms are common, especially in July and August when the city receives the majority of its annual rainfall, due to the North American Monsoon.[44]

The first autumn freeze and the last freeze in the spring, on average, occur on October 2 and May 6, respectively; the average window for measurable snowfall (≥0.1 in or 0.25 cm) is October 21 through April 25. Extreme temperatures range from 101 °F (38 °C) on June 26, 2012 and most recently on June 21, 2016, down to −27 °F (−33 °C) on February 1, 1951, and December 9, 1919.[45]



Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 4,226
1890 11,140 163.6%
1900 21,085 89.3%
1910 29,078 37.9%
1920 30,105 3.5%
1930 33,237 10.4%
1940 36,789 10.7%
1950 45,472 23.6%
1960 70,194 54.4%
1970 135,517 93.1%
1980 215,105 58.7%
1990 281,140 30.7%
2000 360,890 28.4%
2010 416,427 15.4%
2020 478,961 15.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
Map of racial distribution in Colorado Springs, 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people: White, Black, Asian, Hispanic (of any race), or Other (yellow)

As of the 2020 United States Census, the population of the City of Colorado Springs was 478,961 (40th most populous U.S. city), the population of the Colorado Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area was 755,105 (79th most populous MSA), and the population of the Front Range Urban Corridor was 5,055,344.[7]

As of the April 2010 census,[51] 78.8% of the population of the city was White (non-Hispanic Whites were 70.7% of the population,[52] compared with 86.6% in 1970[53]), 16.1% Hispanic or Latino of any race (compared with 7.4% in 1970), 6.3% Black or African American, 3.0% Asian, 1.0% descended from indigenous peoples of the Americas, 0.3% descended from indigenous Hawaiians and other Pacific islanders, 5.5% of some other race, and 5.1% of two or more races. Mexican Americans made up 14.6% of the city's population, compared with 9.1% in 1990. The median age in the city was 35 years.[54][nb 1]


Colorado Springs's economy is driven primarily by the military, the high-tech industry, and tourism, in that order. The city is experiencing growth in the service sectors. Its unemployment rate as of October 2015 was 3.9%, a decrease from 4.8% in October 2014 and 7.3% in November 2013,[56] compared to 3.8% for the state[57] and 5.0% for the nation.[58]

Defense industry

The defense industry forms a significant part of the Colorado Springs economy, with some of the city's largest employers being defense contractors.[59] A large segment of this industry is dedicated to the development and operation of various projects for space and missile defense. With its close ties to defense, the aerospace industry has also influenced Colorado Springs's economy.

Some defense corporations have left or downsized city campuses, but slight growth has been recorded. Significant defense corporations in the city include Northrop Grumman, Boeing, General Dynamics, L3Harris Technologies, SAIC, ITT, Lockheed Martin, and Bluestaq.[60][61][62][63] The Space Foundation is based in Colorado Springs.[64]

On January 13, 2021, the Air Force announced a new permanent home for Space Command, moving it from Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Alabama.[65] Political leaders in Colorado plan to ask President Biden's administration to review the merits of the decision.[66] Huntsville also has to pass an environmental review before the decision is final.[67] Air Force documents show Alabama ranked higher than Colorado in 11 of 21 comparisons used by the government in seeking the best site for the new U.S. Space Command's permanent headquarters. In the Space Command headquarters comparison, Alabama ranks in top third in nine of the 21 categories. Colorado ranks in the top third in five categories. Alabama ranks in bottom third in three of the 21 categories and Colorado ranks in bottom third in 10 of the 21 categories.[68]

High-tech industry

A large percentage of Colorado Springs's economy is still based on manufacturing high-tech and complex electronic equipment. The high-tech sector in the Colorado Springs area has decreased its overall presence from 2000 to 2006 (from around 21,000 to around 8,000), with notable reductions in information technology and complex electronic equipment.[69] Current trends project the high-tech employment ratio will continue to decrease.[70][71][72][73][needs update]

High-tech corporations with connections to the city include: Verizon Business, a telecommunications firm, at its height had nearly 1300 employees in 2008.[74] Hewlett-Packard still has some sales, support, and SAN storage engineering center for the computer industry.[75][76][77] Storage Networking Industry Association is the home of the SNIA Technology Center.[78] Keysight Technologies, spun off in 2014 from Agilent,[79] which was itself spun off from HP in 1999 as an independent, publicly traded company,[80] has its oscilloscope research and development division based in Colorado Springs. Intel had 250 employees in 2009.[81] The Intel facility is now used for the centralized unemployment offices, social services, El Paso county offices, and a bitcoin mining facility.[82] Microchip Technology (formerly Atmel), is a chip fabrication organization.[83] Cypress Semiconductor Colorado Design Center is a chip fabrication research and development site.[citation needed] The Apple Inc. facility was sold to Sanmina-SCI in 1996.[84]

The National Cybersecurity Center(NCC) was established in Colorado Springs in March 2016. Its core purpose is to provides collaborative cybersecurity knowledge and services to the United States. Currently, the NCC has four active collaboration initiatives: Secure the Vote, NCC Student Alliance, Space ISAC Operations, and its annual Cyber Symposium.

Culture and contemporary life


Pikes Peak, the easternmost "fourteener" in the United States

Almost immediately following the arrival of railroads beginning in 1871, the city's location at the base of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains made it a popular tourism destination. Tourism is the third largest employer in the Pikes Peak region, accounting for more than 16,000 jobs.[85] In 2018, 23 million day and overnight visitors came to the area, contributing $2.4 billion in revenue.[86]

Colorado Springs has more than 55 attractions and activities in the area,[87] including Garden of the Gods park, United States Air Force Academy, the ANA Money Museum, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, Old Colorado City, The National Museum of World War II Aviation, and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center.[88] In 2020, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum opened;[89] the Flying W Ranch Chuckwagon Dinner & Western Show reopened in 2020.[90] A new Pikes Peak Summit Complex opened at the 14,115-foot summit in 2021.[91] The Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway also reopened in 2021.[92] The Cadet Chapel at the U.S. Air Force Academy is scheduled to reopen in 2021.[93] Popular hikes in the area include the Manitou Incline and many throughout North Cheyenne Cañon Park.

The downtown Colorado Springs Visitor Information Center offers free area information to leisure and business travelers.[87] The Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR), also downtown, supports and advocates for the arts throughout the Pikes Peak Region. It operates the PeakRadar website to communicate city events.[94]

Annual cultural events

The Saturday morning launch, overlooking Prospect Lake, in downtown Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs is home to the annual Colorado Springs Labor Day Liftoff, a hot air balloon festival that takes place over Labor Day weekend at the city's Memorial Park.[95]

Other annual events include: a comic book convention and science fiction convention called GalaxyFest in February,[96] a pride parade called PrideFest in July,[97] the Greek Festival, the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon, and the Steers & Beers Whiskey and Beer Festival in August,[98][99][100] and the Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Festival in nearby Manitou Springs and Arts Month in October.[101][102]

The Colorado Springs Festival of Lights is held every December.[103] The Festival includes the Festival of Lights Parade which runs along Tejon Street in Downtown Colorado Springs.[104]


In 2017, Colorado had the third-most craft breweries at 348.[105] Breweries and microbreweries have become popular in Colorado Springs, which hosts over 30 of them.[106][107]

Religious institutions

Although houses of worship of almost every major world religion are within the city, Colorado Springs has in particular attracted a large influx of Evangelical Christians and Christian organizations in recent years. At one time Colorado Springs was the national headquarters for 81 different religious organizations, earning the city the tongue-in-cheek nicknames "the Evangelical Vatican"[108] and "The Christian Mecca."

Religious groups with regional or international headquarters in Colorado Springs include:


Although Colorado voters approved Colorado Amendment 64, a constitutional amendment in 2012 legalizing retail sales of marijuana for recreational purposes, the Colorado Springs city council voted not to permit retail shops in the city, as was allowed in the amendment.[129] Medical marijuana outlets continue to operate in Colorado Springs.[130] In 2015, there were 91 medical marijuana clinics in the city, which reported sales of $59.6 million in 2014, up 11 percent from the previous year but without recreational marijuana shops.[131] On April 26, 2016, Colorado Springs city council decided to extend the current six-month moratorium to eighteen months with no new licenses to be granted until May 2017. A scholarly paper suggested the city will give up $25.4 million in tax revenue and fees if the city continues to thwart the industry from opening within the city limits.[132][133] As of March 1, 2018, there were 131 medical marijuana centers and no recreational cannabis stores.[134] As of 2019 Colorado Springs is still one of seven towns that have only allowed for medical marijuana[135]

In popular culture

Colorado Springs has been the subject of or setting for many books, movies and television shows, and is a frequent backdrop for political thrillers and military-themed stories because of its many military installations and vital importance to the United States' continental defense. Notable television series using the city as a setting include Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Homicide Hunter and the Stargate series Stargate SG-1, as well as the films WarGames, The Prestige, and BlacKkKlansman.[136]

In a North Korean propaganda video released in April 2013, Colorado Springs was inexplicably singled out as one of four targets for a missile strike. The video failed to pinpoint Colorado Springs on the map, instead showing a spot somewhere in Louisiana.[137]


Olympic sports

United States Olympic Committee headquarters and training facility

Colorado Springs, dubbed Olympic City USA, is home to the United States Olympic Training Center and the headquarters of the United States Olympic Committee and the United States Anti-Doping Agency.[138] Colorado Springs recently opened the United States Olympic & Paralympic Museum. In addition, 24 of the United States' national federations for individual Olympic sports have their headquarters in Colorado Springs, including: US bobsled, fencing, figure skating, basketball, boxing, cycling, judo, field hockey, hockey, swimming, shooting, table tennis, taekwondo, triathlon, volleyball, pentathlon, handball, and wrestling associations and organizations.

Further, over 50 national sports organizations (non-Olympic) headquarter in Colorado Springs. These include the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Sports Incubator, a various non-Olympic Sports (such as USA Ultimate), and more.[139]

Colorado Springs and Denver hosted the 1962 World Ice Hockey Championships.[nb 2]

The city has a long association with the sport of figure skating, having hosted the U.S. Figure Skating Championships six times and the World Figure Skating Championships five times. It is home to the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame and the Broadmoor Skating Club, a notable training center for the sport. In recent years, the Broadmoor World Arena has hosted skating events such as Skate America and the Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.[140]


The Colorado Springs Snow Sox professional baseball team is based in Colorado Springs. The team is a member of the Pecos League, an independent baseball league which is not affiliated with Major or Minor League Baseball.[141][142]

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC), also known as The Race to the Clouds, is an annual invitational automobile and motorcycle hill climb to the summit of Pikes Peak, every year on the last Sunday of June.[143] The highway wasn't completely paved until 2011.[144]

Local professional teams

Local collegiate teams

The local colleges feature many sports teams. Notable among them are several nationally competitive NCAA Division I teams: United States Air Force Academy (Falcons) Football, Basketball and Hockey[147] and Colorado College (Tigers) Hockey, and Women's Soccer.[148]

The Mountain West Conference and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference is based in Colorado Springs.


Colorado Springs is home to the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and the headquarters of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Colorado Springs was the original headquarters of the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) from its founding in 1992 until 2005, when the organization was moved to Pueblo.[149]

Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame

Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame at the Broadmoor World Arena.

The Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame was established in 2000 by the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation and is dedicated to honoring athletes, teams, coaches, sports administrators or contributors that have brought significant recognition and distinction to the city and region through their success, leadership and notable achievement. It exists as well to salute and spotlight the city and area's unique sports legacy, traditions and national reputation. Nominees for induction must have lived, trained, worked or competed in the Greater Pikes Peak Region during their athletic careers or service. In addition, candidates for induction must exemplify the highest standards of sportsmanship, ethical conduct and character, and through these characteristics, inspired others.

Notable inductees include Peggy Fleming, Goose Gossage, William Thayer Tutt, Bobby Unser, Bob Mathias, Dave Ogrean, Bonnie Blair, 1980 USA Olympic Ice Hockey Team, Bill Hybl, Marty Louthan, Ben Martin, Amy Van Dyken, Ken Hatfield, Fisher DeBerry, Earl "Dutch" Clark, David and Hayes Jenkins, Chris Fowler, Rulon Gardner, and many great high school and collegiate championship teams.

The plaques for those inducted into the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame are located inside The Broadmoor World Arena on the concourse near Gate C.

Parks, trails and open space

The city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services manage 136 neighborhood parks, eight community parks, seven regional parks, and five sports complexes, totaling 9,000 acres (3,600 ha). They also manage 500 acres (200 ha) of trails, of which 160 miles (260 km) are park trails and 105 miles (169 km) are urban. There are 5,000 acres (2,000 ha) of open space in 48 open-space areas.[150]


Ackerman Overlook near United States Air Force Academy off Interstate 25 in Colorado Springs is named for Jasper D. Ackerman (1896–1988), a banker and rancher.[151]
Pulpit Rock, in Pikeview (North Colorado Springs)

Garden of the Gods is on Colorado Springs's western edge. It is a National Natural Landmark, with 300 foot (91 m) red/orange sandstone rock formations often viewed against a backdrop of the snow-capped Pikes Peak. This park is free to the public and offers many recreational opportunities, such as hiking, rock climbing, cycling, horseback riding and tours.[152] It offers a variety of annual events, one of the most popular of which is the Starlight Spectacular, a recreational bike ride held every summer to benefit the Trails and Open Space Coalition of Colorado Springs.[153]

Colorado Springs has several major city parks, such as Palmer Park, America the Beautiful Park in downtown Colorado Springs, Memorial Park, which includes many sports fields, an indoor swimming pool and skating rink, a skateboard bowl and two half-pipes, and Monument Valley Park, which has walking and biking paths, an outdoor swimming pool and pickleball courts.[154] Monument Valley Park also has Tahama Spring, the original spring in Colorado Springs.[155][156] Austin Bluffs Park affords a place of recreation in eastern Colorado Springs. El Paso County Regional Parks include Bear Creek Regional Park, Bear Creek Dog Park, Fox Run Regional Park and Fountain Creek Regional Park and Nature Center.[157] Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa),[158][159] Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii),[160][161] narrowleaf yucca (Yucca angustissima, syn. Yucca glauca)[162] and prickly pear cactus (Opuntia macrorhiza)[163] are some of the more common flora endemic to the Front Range in Colorado Springs.[citation needed]


Three trails, the New Santa Fe Regional Trail, Pikes Peak Greenway and Fountain Creek Regional Trail, form a continuous path from Palmer Lake, through Colorado Springs, to Fountain, Colorado. The majority of the trail between Palmer Lake and Fountain is a soft surface breeze gravel trail. A major segment of the trail within the Colorado Springs city limits is paved. The trails, except Monument Valley Park trails, may be used for equestrian traffic. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trails. Many of the trails are interconnected, having main spine trails, like the Pikes Peak Greenway, that lead to secondary trails.[164][165][166] The Urban Trail system within Colorado Springs consists of more than 110 miles (180 km) of multi-use trail for biking, jogging, roller blading and walking.[citation needed]


On November 2, 2010, Colorado Springs voters adopted a council-strong mayor form of government. The City of Colorado Springs transitioned to the new system of government in 2011. Under the council-strong mayor system of government, the mayor is the chief executive and the city council is the legislative branch. The mayor is a full-time elected position and not a member of the council. The council has nine members, six of whom represent one of six equally populated districts each. The remaining three members are elected at-large.[167] The mayor has veto authority, and the city council can override a mayoral veto by a two-thirds majority vote.

Colorado Springs City Hall was built from 1902 to 1904 on land donated by W. S. Stratton.[168]

City Council

Colorado Springs City Council consists of 9 elected officials. 6 represented distracted seats and 3 represent the city at large.[169]

  • District 1 – Don Knight
  • District 2 – David Geislinger
  • District 3 – Richard SkormanCouncil President
  • District 4 – Yolanda Avila
  • District 5 – Jill Gaebler
  • District 6 – Mike O'Malley
  • At-Large – Bill Murray
  • At-Large – Tom StrandCouncil President Pro-Tem
  • At-Large – Wayne Williams


In 2017 Caleb Hannan wrote in Politico that Colorado Springs was "staunchly Republican", "a right-wing counterweight to liberal Boulder", and that a study ranked it "the fourth most conservative city in America".[170] In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump's margin of victory in El Paso County was 22 points. That year Hannan wrote that downtown Colorado Springs had a different political vibe from the overall area's and that there were "superficial signs of changing demographics".[170] In 2020 the shift toward the political center continued as the incumbent Republican, Donald Trump, edged out Democrat Joe Biden by only 10.8% in El Paso County [171]

Nearby military sites


Primary and secondary education

Higher education

Bachelors and graduate degree programs are offered at these colleges and universities in the city:

Doolittle Hall on the campus of the United States Air Force Academy

The United States Air Force Academy is a military school for officer candidates.[177]

IntelliTec College is a technical training school. Pikes Peak Community College offers a two-year degree program.[178][179]


In March 2016 there were six newspapers actively publishing in Colorado Springs including the newspaper with the largest circulation in the state. Colorado-Pueblo MSA is the 90th largest broadcast market in the US. There are 24 digital television stations in Colorado Springs and 34 radio stations.[citation needed]


Major highways and roads

Colorado Springs is primarily served by one interstate highway. I-25 runs north and south through Colorado, and traverses the city for nearly 18 miles (29 km), entering the city south of Circle Drive and exiting north of North Gate Boulevard. In El Paso County it is known as Ronald Reagan Highway.[nb 3] US 24 runs across the central mountains, through the city, and onto the plains. From west to east in Colorado Springs, US 24 includes the western portion of Cimarron Street and the Midland Expressway, a 2 miles (3.2 km) concurrent section with I-25/US 87 between exits 139 and 141, part of Fountain Blvd, an expressway called the Martin Luther King Bypass, part of South Powers Blvd (where it is concurrent with Colorado 21), and the easternmost portion of Platte Avenue out of the city.[citation needed] Powers Boulevard, or SH21, is a 22.6 mile state highway that is planned to be converted to a freeway in the long-term future.

A number of state highways serve the city. State Highway 21 is a major east side semi-expressway from Black Forest to Fountain. It is widely known as Powers Boulevard. State Highway 83 runs north–south from Denver to northern Colorado Springs. State Highway 94 runs east–west from western Cheyenne County to eastern Colorado Springs. State Highway 115 begins in Cañon City and runs up Nevada Avenue. US 85 and SH 115 are concurrent between Lake Avenue and I-25. US 85 enters the city at Fountain and was signed at Venetucci Blvd, Lake Avenue, and Nevada Avenue.[nb 4]

In November 2015, voters in Colorado Springs overwhelmingly passed ballot measure 2C, dedicating funds from a temporary sales tax increase to much needed road and infrastructure improvements over five years. This temporary increase is estimated to bring in approximately $50 million annually, which will be used solely to improve roads and infrastructure. The ballot measure passed by a margin of approximately 65–35%.[184]

In 2004, the voters of Colorado Springs and El Paso County established the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority[185] and adopted a 1% sales tax dedicated to improving the region's transportation infrastructure. Together with state funding for the Colorado Springs Metro Interstate Expansion (COSMIX) (2007 completion) and the I-25 interchange with Highway 16 (2008 completion), significant progress has been made since 2003 in addressing the transportation needs of the area.[citation needed]

In early 2010, the city of Colorado Springs approved an expansion of the northernmost part of Powers Boulevard in order to create an Interstate 25 bypass commonly referred to as the Copper Ridge Expansion.[186][nb 5]

Air transport

Colorado Springs Airport (COS; ICAO: KCOS) has been in operation since 1925. It is the second-largest commercial airport in the state, after Denver International Airport (DEN; ICAO: KDEN). It covers 7,200 acres (2,900 ha) of land at an elevation of approximately 6,200 feet (1,900 m). COS is considered to be a joint-use civilian and military airport, as Peterson Space Force Base is a tenant of the airport.[188] It has three paved runways: 17L/35R is 13,501 by 150 feet (4,115 by 46 m), the runway 17R/35L is 11,022 by 150 feet (3,360 by 46 m) and the runway 13/31 is 8,270 by 150 feet (2,521 by 46 m).[189] In 2020 Southwest Airlines announced 13 daily flights with five destinations from COS would begin in early 2021. Flights began in March 2021.[190] In 2021 United Airlines announced expanded services at COS.[191]


Freight service is provided by Union Pacific and BNSF. Currently there is no intercity passenger service. The city last had passenger service in 1967 with the Denver to Dallas Texas Zephyr run by the Colorado & Southern Railway and the Fort Worth & Denver Railway (both subsidiaries of the Burlington Route).[citation needed]


A 20-kilometer upright bike race during the inaugural Warrior Games at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 13, 2010. The Warrior Games is a Paralympics-style competition where the services compete against each other in events such as sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, archery, shooting and swimming.

In April 2018, the Colorado Springs City Council approved a Bike Master Plan.[192] The vision of the city's Bike Master Plan is "a healthy and vibrant Colorado Springs where bicycling is one of many transportation options for a large portion of the population, and where a well-connected and well-maintained network of urban trails, single-track, and on-street infrastructure offers a bicycling experience for present and future generations that is safe, convenient, and fun for getting around, getting in shape, or getting away." In October 2018, Bicycling ranked Colorado Springs the 28th best US city for bicycling.[193] Bike lanes in Colorado Springs have not been deployed without controversy. According to The Gazette, their readers "have mixed feelings for new bike lanes."[194] In December 2016, the City removed a bike lane along Research Parkway due to overwhelming opposition; an online survey found that 80.5% of respondents opposed the bike lane.[195] The Gazette has stated that since the Bike Master Plan was adopted by City Council, "no issue has elicited more argument in The Gazette pages," and due to this immense public interest, on February 25, 2019, The Gazette hosted a town hall meeting called "Battle of the Bike Lanes."[196][197]


A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Colorado Springs 34th most walkable of fifty largest U.S. cities.[198]

A Metro bus drives past a parking garage in downtown Colorado Springs.

Mountain Metropolitan Transit

Mountain Metropolitan Transit (MMT) offers public transportation services in the Pikes Peak region providing over 11,000 one-way trips per day. In addition to bus routes within the City of Colorado Springs, Mountain Metro Transit provides service into Manitou Springs, north to the Chapel Hills Mall, east to Peterson Air Force Base and south into the Widefield area.[citation needed]. MMT is testing Battery Electric Buses (BEB), and if the buses perform well, the agency plans to acquire its first three BEBs in 2021 using funds from the Volkswagen emissions scandal and resulting lawsuit and settlement.[199]

Mountain Metro Mobility is an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) federally mandated complementary ADA paratransit service, which provides demand-response service for individuals with mobility needs that prevent them from using the fixed-route bus system.[200][201]

Mountain Metro Rides offers alternative transportation options to residents of the Pikes Peak Region. The program is designed to reduce congestion and pollution by encouraging people to commute by carpool, vanpool, bicycling or walking.[202]


Bustang provides intercity transportation to Colorado Springs. It is part of the South and Outrider lines, which connect to Denver and to Lamar. There is an additional line that connects Colorado Springs directly to the Denver Tech Center.[203]

Notable people

Sister cities

Bishkek mayor Arstanbek Nogoev presents a gift for Colorado Springs mayor Lionel Rivera to a US airman at Manas Air Base, in a ceremony aimed at reviving ties between the two sister cities.[204]

Colorado Springs' sister cities are:[205]

Colorado Springs's sister city organization began when it became partners with Fujiyoshida. The torii gate erected to commemorate the relationship stands at the corner of Bijou Street and Nevada Avenue, and is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. The torii gate, crisscrossed bridge and shrine, in the median between Platte and Bijou Streets downtown, were a gift to Colorado Springs, erected in 1966 by the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs to celebrate the friendship between the two communities. A plaque near the torii gate states that "the purpose of the sister city relationship is to promote understanding between the people of our two countries and cities". The Fujiyoshida Student exchange program has become an annual event.[206]

To strengthen relations between the two cities, the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony regularly invites taiko drummers from the city to participate in a joint concert in the Pikes Peak Center. The orchestra played in Bankstown, Australia, in 2002 and again in June 2006 as part of their tours to Australia and New Zealand.[citation needed]

In 2006 and 2010, the Bankstown TAP (Talent Advancement Program) performed with the Youth Symphony and the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale as part of the annual "In Harmony" program.[206] A notable similarity between Colorado Springs and its sister cities is their geographic positions: three of the seven cities are near the foot of a major mountain or mountain range, as is Colorado Springs.[207]

See also