There’s a reason Fort Carson is one of the most sought-after CONUS duty stations. So if you just received PCS orders to Fort Carson in Colorado Springs—congratulations! A lot of people are super jealous of you.
For starters, The Centennial State is unbelievably gorgeous. The ability to walk into your backyard and see those gorgeous Rockies in the distance is truly a blessing. Plus, there are endless activities and attractions a stone’s throw away from Colorado Springs. And if it doesn’t have what you’re looking for, the major metropolitan area of Denver will. With that, here are eight noteworthy things you should know about Fort Carson and Colorado Springs.
1. Only 60 miles from Denver
Denver is quickly emerging as one of the nation’s most popular and desirable metropolitan areas. This is a major bonus for those who want both big city-living and retreating to a more relaxed way of life. The real estate market in Denver is also one of the highest in the nation. But, rest assured. Although the market in Colorado Springs is also doing well, homes here are much more affordable.
2. Delicious Eats
If you have time to get off post for lunch, there are plenty of nearby restaurants to grab a quick meal. Colorado Smokehouse is one of the most popular BBQ restaurants in the city. It offers the option to order online or use its drive-thru for the ultimate convenience. If you have a bit more time to venture into the city, try Mountain Shadows Restaurant for brunch. The company has been around since the early 1990s, so they’ve perfected many breakfast classics.
Right and Up tip: Try Mountain Shadows Restaurant’s homemade biscuits—they are sure to satisfy even the hungriest of people!
3. Endless outdoor activities
Outdoor adventure is a big part of any Coloradan’s life. When it isn’t snowing and the weather is nice, people will head out to the mountains and enjoy a breath of fresh air. Pick up a pair of good hiking boots, a basic survival kit and plenty of water and head out to Pikes Peak, Seven Falls or one of the other hiking spots in the area (there are hundreds).
Right and Up tip: A popular spot to check out is Red Rock Canyon Open Space. It’s one of the highest rated hikes are out there. Plus, it’s dog-friendly and easy enough for kids to hike.
4. Elevation and acclimation
The elevation reaches around 6,000 feet in Colorado Springs. It isn’t nearly as high as the nearby mountain summits, but it can certainly create the need to acclimate. So if you’re moving from an area closer to sea level, it might take a few days to get used to the lower level of oxygen in the air. The best advice is to give yourself time to adjust, drink plenty of water and be conscious of what your body is feeling. Any nausea, dizziness or fatigue should cause you to put that afternoon hike on hold until you’re more acclimated.
5. Mild winters
The average yearly snowfall in Colorado Springs is about 39 inches. While that’s plenty of snow for the ski bunnies out there, it’s nothing compared to the winters that places like Michigan and Wisconsin are known for. That said, winter conditions are still present, so if you are planning a trip out of town during the winter, be sure to check the forecast.
6. Sunny skies
Although the winter may bring some storms and snow, the sun usually comes out to thaw the remnants. There are about 300 days of sunshine in the Colorado Springs area, which is why it’s classified as the “alpine desert.” The summers are dry and range from about 80 degrees to 90 degrees. Springtime can drop from 70 degrees to 50 degrees and the winters can get below 30 degrees. But, winters usually have sunny skies, so you probably won’t catch the winter blues.
7. Beer lover’s paradise
It’s astonishing how many microbreweries are located in this area. Plus, most of them offer a unique ambience as well. Whether you like beer or not, many offer tours and some, like Phantom Canyon Brewing Company, have games to entertain. In all honesty, any bar or brewery you choose is great place to grab some grub and make new friends. Some other great places to try include Great Storm Brewery and the veteran-owned Red Leg Brewing Company.
If you love wine, you will be happy to know Colorado Springs has a few wineries as well. They’re spread out, making it tough to do a winery tour though. A highly rated winery is D’vine Wine Manitou Springs. Go ahead and enjoy yourself!
8. Unlimited attractions
There are countless attractions for people to see in the Colorado Springs area. One of the favorites is the Garden of the Gods, a public park located right outside of the city. This truly is a paradise where you will find red tinted rocks breaking through the ground, reaching as high as skyscrapers. Plus, gorgeous greenery and land surrounds the whole area. These two scenes mix so well together, making you really feel that you are in a garden for the gods.
When you’ve got PCS orders to Fort Carson, know that you will quickly feel at home in Colorado Springs. From the gorgeous scenery to unlimited activities to mild winters, this area has something for everyone!
Cover photo by Jill/Blue Moonbeam Studio
About the Authors
This article was co-authored by Abigail Golder and Susanna Haynie. Abigail can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susanna Haynie is a veteran’s spouse and REALTOR® in the Colorado Springs area. She’s passionate about serving the military community–especially when it comes to making sure military families with special needs children are taken care of– and just “gets it.” Check out her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to catch up with or reach out to her.
Abigail is a senior studying journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She plans to graduate in May 2018 from the Cronkite School and Barrett, The Honors College. Originally from Colorado, Abigail grew up in a small town called Montrose and she still spends much of her free time in the mountains hiking and skiing.