Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region has an abundance of natural beauty, historical attractions and unique activities for every member of the family or group. Pikes Peak, the inspiration for “America the Beautiful,” is the focal point of the region and sets it apart as a premier vacation, meeting and event destination. It serves as a stunning backdrop for dozens of indoor and outdoor attractions and activities. Pikes Peak mountain has been the center of attention in this region for thousands of years drawing people from all over the world. In 1806, Zebulon Pike, a young lieutenant who was never able to ascend the great mountain bearing his name, gazed upon the peak from over 100 miles away.
However, long before Pike stepped into the area, the Ute Indians passed at the foot of the mountain as they traveled from their summer campgrounds to the winter hunting grounds. The Spanish were well aware of the mountain through numerous expeditions, in particular, that of Juan De Anza, who traversed the side of the mountain in 1779. Trappers had been working the region, rich with beaver, deer, elk, bear, buffalo, bighorn sheep and mountain lions around the same time the Spanish had come through during their expeditions.
Following Pike's expedition, which was organized to survey the southern boundaries of the recently acquired Louisiana Purchase, came several explorers discovering their own country. Stephen Long and John C. Fremont for many years were among the few early explorers able to appreciate the natural beauty that the Pikes Peak Region offered. Kit Carson and Jim Bridger expanded the image of the wildlife and natural beauty of all that surrounded the mountain. Many of these men were to make significant contributions to the region as we know it today.
Then, in 1858, a fever the magnitude never seen before, swept across Pikes Peak Country, Gold Fever. Over $18 million in gold mined in one year alone, sent fortune seekers flooding into the region establishing many current towns like Cripple Creek, Manitou Springs, Woodland Park and Victor. The slogan of "Pikes Peak or Bust," painted across many of the prairie schooners, was born at this time as fortune hunters headed west. Although only a handful of those who flocked to the region ever found gold, the nation now knew of the mountain and all that lay at its feet.
Shortly after the gold had panned out, General William J. Palmer arrived in the Pikes Peak Region. His vision was one that would assure the quality of life of its residents while at the same time setting aside large sections of land for the establishment of parks. Building upon the dream of Palmer, Spencer Penrose and Charles Tutt injected millions of dollars in the region largely laying the foundation for the region today. Penrose gave away parcels of land for community use, built the Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain Highways, established the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Will Rogers Shrine and the Broadmoor Hotel and set up a foundation for charitable purposes.
Today, tourism, high-tech industry and the military are the driving forces for the economy of the region. So, see Pikes Peak Country for yourself and find out why so many people fell in love with the region and all that it has to offer.