University campuses can be quite historic and beautiful and the service academies are certainly no exception. Located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, the United States Air Force Academy is quite beautiful. We often go to the grounds of the academy to go hiking, but it is also worth taking the time to actually go to the chapel at the academy and to see the field house that serves as the dorms for the cadets. If you get a chance to be in Colorado Springs during the fall, going to a football game at the Air Force Academy is an experience that you will never forget.
The grounds of the Air Force Academy are a protected area for wildlife, so it is common to see wild animals if you decide to go for a hike. There are several trails at the academy including some difficult trails that go into the mountains, some easier trails that go through the fields, and even part of the Sante Fe Trail. Access to the academy can be restricted at times, so it is important to check ahead and you must show a valid id in order to pass through the security check points. There are two entrances, the north and south entrance, but most people use the north entrance and that is also the entrance that is used to go to a football game.
The design of the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel makes it one of the most recognizable buildings at the academy. Not surprisingly, many former cadets return to the academy to have their wedding at the Cadet Chapel. The chapel was completed in 1962, just a few years after the first class of cadets graduated in 1959. There is also the parade grounds near the chapel as well as a variety of statues in honor of famous graduates from the academy as well as different planes from over the years. You will also find planes, gliders, and cadets learning to parachute over the academy throughout the year. The academy has its own airport where cadets learn to fly in smaller aircraft.
We have had the opportunity to go to several football games throughout the years and each one is truly special. There is something about the pageantry of a football game at the United States Air Force Academy that is hard not to be impressed by. Whether it is the cadet march-on as squadrons line up on the field, the flyovers by different styles of airplanes, or the traditional skydivers that parachute into the stadium, it is an exciting atmosphere that is very unique. During the graduation ceremony at the Air Force Academy, the Thunderbirds put on an amazing performance every year that has people from all around Colorado Springs stopping to watch the jets as they fly overhead.
When it comes to places to visit when coming to Colorado Springs, the United States Air Force Academy is certainly one not to be missed. Whether stopping at the overlook off of the highway, touring the academy grounds, or just going for a hike, the academy is definitely worth at least a couple of hours of your time. Speed limits are clearly posted on the roads within the academy and they are strictly enforced, so be sure to adhere to all posted signs.