Cheyenne Mountain

Wednesday, 1 February 2017 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Architecture, General, House of the Month, Hotels, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

Cheyenne Mountain viewed from Colorado Springs © Thomson200

Cheyenne Mountain viewed from Colorado Springs © Thomson200

Cheyenne Mountain is a triple-peaked mountain in El Paso County, Colorado, southwest of downtown Colorado Springs. The mountain serves as a host for military, communications, recreational, and residential functions. Homesteading on the mountain began in 1867 and the mountain was the site of resorts and retreats beginning in the 1880s. Spencer Penrose, who built The Broadmoor in 1918, bought many of the properties on the mountain and built the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Highway, Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun, a lodge on one of the mountain peaks, and a retreat at Emerald Valley. The site of the lodge has become a wilderness Cloud Camp and Emerald Valley is now the site of The Broadmoor’s Ranch at Emerald Valley. Land on Cheyenne Mountain that had once been owned by The Broadmoor is now the site of luxury homes. A community, Overlook Colony, that began in 1911 still resides on the mountain.

The City of Colorado Springs and Colorado State Parks purchased 1,680 acres of land to preserve the “southeastern flank” of the mountain and its wildlife habitat in 2000. The land, originally the JL Ranch, was slated for development of 2,500 houses. The land was purchased to create the Cheyenne Mountain State Park, which is the only state park in El Paso County. An additional 1,021 acres at the top and east side of Cheyenne Mountain were acquired from 2007 to 2009. The park is now a total of 2,701 acres, part of which is at the base of the mountain and part of which is on Cheyenne Mountain. It has 20 miles of trails. The 1,600 acre North Cheyenne Cañon Park, Starsmore Discovery Center, Seven Falls, and some of Colorado Spring’s “most exclusive neighborhoods” are located in Cheyenne Cañon. The source of North Cheyenne Creek is in Teller County. South Cheyenne Creek’s source, also in Teller County, is Mount Big Chief, near St. Peter’s Dome. The flows through Seven Falls in South Cheyenne Cañon. North Cheyenne Cañon Park was started when the city of Colorado Springs bought 640 acres in North Cheyenne Cañon from Colorado College in 1885. An additional 480 acres was donated by General William Jackson Palmer. That land included High Drive, Silver Cascade Falls, and Helen Hunt Falls. In 1909 the Park Commission called it “by far the grandest and most popular of all the beautiful cañons near the city” for its evergreen trees, waterfalls, Cheyenne Creek, and rock formations. Moderate hikes in the canon include Mount Cutler and Columbine trails. The two creeks meet and form Cheyenne Creek near the intersection of North Cheyenne Canyon Road, South Cheyenne Canyon Road, and Cheyenne Boulevard.

Cheyenne Mountain © flickr.com - Jimmy/cc-by-sa-2.0 Cheyenne Mountain viewed from Colorado Springs © Thomson200 North Cheyenne Cañon Park - Starsmore Discovery Center © Dennis Graham/cc-by-sa-3.0 North Cheyenne Cañon Park - Dennis Graham/cc-by-sa-3.0 Garden of the Gods © Corbyrobert/cc-by-sa-3.0 Will Rogers Shrine of the Sun © Matt Wright/cc-by-sa-2.5
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North Cheyenne Cañon Park - Starsmore Discovery Center © Dennis Graham/cc-by-sa-3.0
In the 1950s, during the Cold War, the interior of the mountain became a site for the operations center for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The center, deep within Cheyenne Mountain, was completed in 1966 after spending $142 million and using 500 tons of explosives. The result was an underground city operated by the Air Force. Popular Science wrote in 1965, before the dedication of the facility, that Cheyenne Mountain is the only mountain known to have buildings constructed on the inside of a mountain. It was built to withstand being bombed: eleven multiple-story buildings stand on coil springs to absorb the shock of a blast and it was designed so that up to 800 people could survive fall-out of a nuclear bomb. The buildings are encased in steel, surrounded by granite, and the facility is behind blast-proof doors. It was designed to be the “nerve center” for NORAD. The NORAD center has been staffed by Canadian and United States military personnel to monitor North American air space for intercontinental ballistic missiles and incoming Soviet military aircraft. Locally, this military boom during the Cold War included the establishment of the United States Air Force Academy, Peterson Air Force Base, and Fort Carson. After the Cold War, NORAD monitored objects orbiting the earth and aircraft without flight plans. It is also known for monitoring the Christmas Eve orbit of Santa Claus.

NORAD used to offer public tours, but due to security concerns they were suspended in 1999. The off-ramp on NORAD road has been staffed by Air Force Security Police since September 11, 2001. Most of the center’s operations were moved to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs in 2006, then in April 2015, the Pentagon reported that a few operations would be moving back in.

Read more on North Cheyenne Cañon Park, Cheyenne Mountain State Park, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Resort and Wikipedia Cheyenne Mountain. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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