Colorado National Parks
The United States Air Force Academy
The United States Air Force Academy was established in 1954 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and since the doors opened in 1958, 33,000 cadets have graduated from this prestigious school. With their motto of "Integrity First, Service Before Self, Excellence in All We Do," it is apparent why many seek to join the elite group of men and women whom graduate from this great American institution each year.
The Academy is open to the public daily from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. If you do not have an active duty or retired military ID, you must show your driver's license, proof of insurance, registration, and your vehicle will be searched before you are allowed entry. There are no guided tours, but you can stop by the Visitor Center and Gift Shop (open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM) where you can view the 14-minute video that walks you through the life of a Cadet on the base. The visitor center also has exhibits for you to explore and you can obtain a map, which will guide you to the chapel and the field house.
Chapel: Soaring 150 feet toward the Colorado sky, the Air Force Academy Chapel is an all-faiths house of worship designed to meet the spiritual needs of all cadets. It contains a separate chapel for four major religious faiths; Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Buddhist. In addition, an all-faiths room devoid of any religious symbolism so it can be used by a verity of faiths, and Falcon Circle, for the academy's followers of Earth-Centered spirituality. Each chapel has its own entrance, and services may be held simultaneously. The chapel is occasionally closed for private services, weddings and funerals throughout the year, so be sure to check the schedule posted online before you go.
Honor Court: Located between the Chapel and Arnold Hall, this area contains bronze statues and aircraft memorials from various groups.
Falcon Stadium: Built in 1962, in a natural bowl, at the base of the Rampart Range of the Rocky Mountains. This spectacular stadium host not only the Air Force Falcons home football games, but also, the academy's graduation ceremonies.
Athletics play a major roll in academy life. So much so, Sports Illustrated dubbed the academy "the most athletic school in the country." Their athletic programs consist of 17 men's and 10 women's NCAA sanctioned teams, so make sure to stop by the field house while you're out touring the campus. You may even find cadets working out or practicing with one of the several intercollegiate teams that practice and compete here. The Clune Arena is the most impressive arena of the field house, seating 6,000. It was built in memorial of former Athletic director Colonel John J. Clune. Outside the field house, 57 athletic fields cover 140 acres.
Please Note: You must enter through the North Gate, off I-25 at Exit 156, 14 miles north of downtown Colorado Springs to access the Air Force Academy. This is an active military training facility so, do not go into closed areas, especially those marked with signs saying, "No visitors beyond this point." Some examples of the off limits' areas are, the dorms, airfield, and the Terrazzo, which is in the middle of the cadet area.
Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do
Close to Pikes Peak and Colorado Springs. BIG RIG luxury pull-thru RV sites with patios. KOA Kabins. Tent camping in the foothills. OPEN ALL YEAR. FREE WI-FI. Groups welcome. Instant phone hookups.
More Activities & Information
Colorado Springs Metro, Colorado includes: Black Forest, Fountain, Monument
Pikes Peak Area, Colorado includes: Cascade, Chipita Park, Deckers, Green Mountain Falls, Manitou Springs, Woodland Park