The city lies in a high desert with the Southern Rocky Mountains to the west, the Palmer Divide to the north, high plains further east, and high desert lands to the south when leaving Fountain and approaching Pueblo. Colorado Springs has many features of a modern urban area, such as parks, bike trails, and urban open-area spaces. However, it is not exempt from problems that typically plague cities that experience tremendous growth, such as overcrowded roads and highways, crime, sprawl, and government budget issues. Many of the problems are indirectly or directly caused by the city’s difficulty in coping with the large population growth experienced in the last twenty years, and the annexation of the Banning Lewis Ranch area to accommodate further population growth of 175,000 future residents.
Almost immediately following the arrival of railroads beginning in 1871, the city’s location at the base of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains made it a popular tourism destination. Tourism is the third largest employer in the Pikes Peak region, accounting for more than 16,000 jobs.
Colorado Springs has more than 55 attractions and activities in the area, including Garden of the Gods, United States Air Force Academy, the ANA Money Museum, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Old Colorado City and the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
The downtown Colorado Springs Visitor Information Center offers free area information to leisure and business travelers. The Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR), also located downtown, supports and advocates for the arts throughout the Pikes Peak Region. It operates the PeakRadar website to communicate city events.