Immediately after entering the North Gate, you will notice a large aircraft on your left. Turn here to park.
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range subsonic strategic bomber operated by the Air Force since 1955 and is considered the backbone of America’s manned bomber force. The B-52 is the last bomber in aviation history to have shot down enemy aircraft during wartime with machine guns. This specific aircraft, nicknamed Diamond ‘Lil, has the distinction of being one of only two Vietnam War “MiG killer” bombers. After its deactivation in 1983, this aircraft was relocated from Peterson Air Force Base to its present permanent location at the Academy.
Drive straight on North Gate Blvd (which turns into Academy Drive) and pull over at the first overlook, located on your left, to get a scenic view of the campus.
From here you can easily see the main academic building, Fairchild Hall, which houses 32 academic departments and 24 research centers, including a world class aeronautics laboratory and the Institute for Future Conflict. Here cadets build satellites, study the classics, explore global socio-economics, and even operate jet engines! The academic building is named after the first commander of Air University, Gen. Muir S. Fairchild.
Continue driving along Academy Drive to the second overlook that is also located on your left.
Physical fitness and competition are inherent to the warrior ethos we instill at the Air Force Academy and form a critical part of a cadet’s experience. Every cadet is expected to play Division I intercollegiate sports or participate on an intramural team. As a result, the athletic facilities here are some of the finest in the nation.
The 57 athletic fields in the foreground cover over 140 acres! If you could peer inside the Cadet Gymnasium you’d notice several weight rooms, two swimming pools with a diving section, squash, racquetball and handball courts, and a rock climbing wall. The Human Performance Lab is where sports science principles improve the performance of our athletic teams and individual cadets.
Barry Goldwater Visitor Center
2346 Academy Drive – Follow Academy Drive around the bend past Harmon Hall and turn left to park.
Whether you’re spending just an hour or the whole day visiting the Academy, make sure you kick off your visit at the Visitor Center. Here you can explore our rich history and learn what it takes to be a cadet. From a mock cadet dorm room to the history of the Cadet Chapel, our exhibits document the four areas of the cadet training program – character development, academic, athletic and military training. Our gift shop offers an array of Air Force Academy souvenirs and apparel to show some Falcon pride. And make sure you drop by our theater for a quick show.
The Visitor Center is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. The Visitor Center is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
From the Visitor Center, hike the Chapel Trail to the Cadet Chapel, Honor Court, and cadet viewing area. The trailhead is located to the right of the Visitor Center entrance.
This 1/3 mile paved nature trail offers sweeping mountain views and several benches where you can relax. For those not acclimated to the altitude, please take ample breaks and drink water. Visitors with limited mobility will need their own wheelchair to get to and from the Chapel and may need extra assistance on this trail.
Want to head to the cadet viewing area and Honor Court but bypass the Chapel Trail hike? There is ample free parking available at the Planetarium (use 2302 Cadet Drive in your navigation app).
Located at the base of the Chapel Trail.
The Cadet Chapel is currently closed for repairs and is encased inside of an enormous box to allow construction crews to work year-round. The Chapel was originally constructed in 1962 and features 17 spires that shoot 150 feet into the sky. Designated as a National Historic Landmark, it is the most visited man-made tourist attraction in Colorado. It is an all-faith center of worship that serves the diverse spiritual needs of cadets with Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist chapels, as well as worship areas for smaller religious groups.
With the Cadet Chapel to your right, follow the trail to the open court adorned by numerous statues.
The Honor Court lies directly adjacent to the Academy’s main administrative building, Harmon Hall, which houses the office of the Superintendent. It displays an impressive array of historical statues and sculptures gifted to the Air Force Academy including the Tuskegee Airman Memorial sculpture and WWII Women Airforce Service Pilots. While here, be sure to check out the Harmon memorial which honors the Academy’s founder. Circular in shape this memorials offers a contrast from the austere grid of the sprawling campus.
Cadet Noon Meal Formation
The Honor Court overlook sits above the main campus with an expansive view of Colorado Springs.
From the Honor Court overlook, cadet squadrons can be seen marching squadron by squadron across the Terrazzo to their noon meal on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 11:45 am. This schedule is in effect during the academic year (mid-August through mid-May), weather permitting, and is subject to cancellation without notice. This is an impressive and very special sight!
Do you know which Disney movie is said to have replicated the noon meal formation in one of their scenes? (Hint: Hakuna Matata!)
Located on the north side of the Honor Court.
With its impressive apex pointing directly at the North Star, Polaris Hall is home to the Center for Character and Leadership Development. A complex framework of glass and steel, this building houses 43,000 square feet of collaborative spaces, offices, an Honor Board Room, and a lecture hall. It is here cadets administer our honor code: “We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.”
The general public is unable to go inside Polaris Hall.
2302 Cadet Drive – Head down the stairs, located to the west of Polaris Hall, to Arnold Hall. This building is clearly demarcated by the impressive statute of the first general of the U.S. Air Force, Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, chief of the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II.
Arnold Hall is the cadet social center and houses a newly renovated 3,000-seat theater and a number of lounge and recreational facilities for cadets and visitors to include restrooms and eateries. Stop by to view displays featuring the Tuskegee Airmen, Women in Leadership and cadets who have become astronauts.
The Richter Lounge Food Court is the place to share a cup of coffee, a slice of pizza, or a conversation with friends. And just down the hall, the Arnold Hall Ballroom is where Ring Dance is held. This formal ball celebrates the Juniors becoming Seniors by unveiling their class ring and crest.
2120 Cadet Drive – Across the road from Arnold Hall to the dome-shaped building.
The Planetarium is a 110-seat venue showcasing a state-of-the-art 360-degree digital experience. It serves as an educational resource for cadets and the Colorado Springs community. We welcome visitors and the local community to join us for free shows. Click here for current showtimes. No tickets or reservations are required. These shows are available on a first come, first serve basis.
Shows are subject to cancellation without notice due to inclement weather and cadet education. The Planetarium is closed on weekends, graduation day, and federal holidays.
3116 Academy Drive – Parking available.
If you see a majestic Pegasus statue, you’ve arrived! Occupied by our Association of Graduates, Doolittle Hall is where cadets begin their Air Force journey. Following the Heritage Trail, cross the “Challenge Bridge” and head over to the Southeast Asia Pavilion and Memorial Wall. This is an indoor and outdoor exhibit that serves as a stunning reminder of our role during the Vietnam era.
Doolittle Hall’s Gift Shop is located on the second floor and is open to the public 8 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday.
2168 Field House Drive – Parking available.
Sitting at an elevation over six thousand feet above sea level, Falcon Stadium is the second highest Division I playing field in the country. The stadium is located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains and provides one of the most spectacular backdrops in college football. Games here are a unique experience with aircraft flyovers, the Wings of Blue parachute team jumping onto the field and the furious race to the stands by our cadets following their march-on. The stadium holds nearly 47,000 spectators, which makes it the perfect location to host our iconic graduation ceremony each year.
We encourage you to take a photo with the Belk Falcon Statue which sits triumphantly in front of the stadium with an impressive 24-foot wingspan.
Continue your tour by driving south of Falcon Stadium, where Stadium Blvd turns into South Gate Blvd.
On your left, you will see the Davis Airfield followed by the A-10 and T-38 static aircraft displays. Be sure to pull over for a unique photo opportunity. With the mountain backdrop, the T-38 makes for an especially impressive memory. The T-38 Talon was last flown by Thunderbirds leader Major Norm Lowry in a tragic fatal flight mishap while the aerial demonstration team was practicing at Indian Springs Air Force Auxiliary Field, Nevada. The A-10A Thunderbolt, nicknamed “Chopper-popper” shot down an Iraqi Bo-105C helicopter on February 6, 1991. The plane is on loan from the National Museum of the Air Force.
This is the last stop on the self-guided tour. You can exit the campus using the South Gate by simply continuing to drive along South Gate Blvd. We hope you’ve had a wonderful time visiting the Air Force Academy!