Thousands of visitors travel to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs each year, and the academy’s all-faiths Cadet Chapel is the most visited man-made attraction in Colorado. Among the best examples of modern academic architecture, the striking 150-foot-tall (46-meter-tall) chapel is designed with 17 spires created from aluminum, steel, and glass.
Colorado’s US Air Force Academy is an exclusive university that accepts about 1,400 new cadets per year. As a visitor, you can take a self-guided tour of the campus and learn about the training that cadets go through here. The Barry Goldwater Air Force Academy Visitor Center has exhibits about the air force, a theater showing a 14-minute movie about life at the academy, and a gift shop.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The US Air Force Academy is a must for military-history buffs.
- The walk on the 0.3-mile (0.5-kilometer) paved nature trail from the Cadet Chapel back to the visitor center is mostly uphill and can be strenuous.
- Wheelchairs are available for use inside the visitor center only, and the visitor center and chapel are wheelchair accessible.
- Large bags and backpacks are not permitted inside the visitor center.
How to Get There
To reach the US Air Force Academy, located about 20 miles north of Colorado Springs, drive north on Interstate 25 and take exit 156. Visitors must arrive through the North Gate, and free parking is available at the visitor center and Cadet Chapel.
When to Get There
The US Air Force Academy and the Barry Goldwater Air Force Academy Visitor Center are open daily, and visitors are welcome to attend services at the chapel. Note that the chapel occasionally closes to the public for private services. A good time to visit is weekdays at 11:30am during the academic year to observe the cadets marching to lunch.
Going to the Chapel
The Cadet Chapel at the US Air Force Academy is a popular place to get married, but only academy graduates, active-duty Airmen in Colorado, and Purple Heart and Silver Star Medal recipients are eligible to use it. More than 100 couples are married in the chapel each year.