Military Famcamp Park Review: US Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado
As many of you know, we recently moved from Colorado to Idaho in our 1998 Holiday Rambler Class A Diesel Pusher RV. We rented a place for our home base in Idaho Falls, Idaho where our son currently lives as he is still under age. But, we also took a nursing contract position in Mountain Home Idaho for 13 weeks. Unfortunately for us, that means paying rent on two separate locations until our son goes off to college. We chose to keep a location in Idaho because Idaho is a “Compact” state for Nursing Licensure. There were other places we could have chosen to limit our tax situation but we decided we would rather have a stable home base for the next few years while we figure out what we are going to do with our lives.
Thankfully, every journey begins with a single step! In our case, that step was taking our RV out on a maiden voyage for a few days while we vacate our Denver rental home and attend our son’s High School Graduation. My plan was NOT to do blog entries showing normal “camping” type activities but after our first stay we decided to document our travels (trials and tribulations?) for all to see and maybe learn from. It is now July and our journey started in mid May 2017.
Below is our first campground review (yes – I have a few more to do to get caught up).
Dates of Stay: 5/12 – 5/15/2017
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Park Name: United States Air Force Academy Family Camp – Peregrine Pines
Web Site: http://www.usafasupport.com/famcamp.html
Phone #: 719-333-4980 (Weekdays May through November) or 719-333-4356 (November through April)
Directions: RV’s can enter using either North or South Gate. North Gate is closest.
RV Sites = $25-$32.00 night. I paid $27.00 (105 Spaces)
Tent Sites = $12-$15.00 night. (10 spaces)
Peregrine Pines has 105 wooded sites for camping, all have electrical, water and sewer hookups. There are picnic tables, barbecue grills, and centralized trash receptacles. Many pull through sites in beautiful wooded facility. We stayed in site #11 which was a long and very level back in site.
(some of the below information comes from the base guide website)
Hiking – I want you all to know that hiking is NOT my thing. If my body is ever found on a hiking trail you should assume I was murdered and my body dropped there. It is not something I do willingly. But, according to the website above, there “are over 23 miles of unpaved trails on the Air Force Academy plus 6 miles of similar trail at Farish Recreation Area for hiking (see below), biking and equestrian use. Trail maps are available at Natural Resources, the Farish, Outdoor Recreation Center, FamCamp and on various public websites. The diverse and scenic trails include the 13-mile Falcon Trail, a 7-mile section of the County’s New Santa Fe Trail, and hiking access into Pike National Forest on the Stanley Canyon Trail and Eagle Peak Trail. All trails are open 24/7 for DOD ID card holders, but use by the general public may be limited by the posted visitor hours and other access restrictions”.
Visitor Center – “The Barry Goldwater Visitor Center offers information about the Academy and exhibits on cadet life and Academy history. The 35,000-square-foot facility has a theater featuring a film about the cadet life every half-hour, a snack bar and gift shop. A one-third-mile nature trail from the Visitor Center leads to the Cadet Chapel. The Academy and the Visitor Center are open to visitors 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Visitor Center is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. For more information, call 719-333-2025”. We did tour the visitor center and it was very interesting. The displays show the everyday life of a cadet from their first day through graduation.
If you are in the area, you should definitely take the tour and make time for the video (which we did not have time for unfortunately so do as I say, not as I do – OK?).
Farish Recreation Area – Farish Recreation Area, the Academy’s year-round recreation facility, is a 42-mile drive west of the Academy. Farish may also be reached by hiking 8 miles up the mountain from the Academy. Use of Farish is limited to active-duty military members and other eligible personnel. Farish encompasses 655 acres of pristine mountain beauty at more than 9,000 feet above sea level, surrounded in part by the Pike National Forest. A variety of overnight lodging accommodations are available all year, as well as camping during the summer. Reservations are required and may be made up to one year in advance. Fishing in three stocked lakes, pedal boat rides, hiking trails, picnic pavilions, volleyball and a playground are popular activities in the summer.
There are many other activities available at this facility. Check in with Morale Welfare & Recreation for more information.
This is a beautiful place. In fact, in the short time we have been traveling, this is by far the most beautiful and comfortable site we have had. I have a FamCamp Review coming up on Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora Colorado, and another on F.E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne Wyoming, but neither of these facilities holds a candle to the Air Force Academy.
Trials & Tribulations (the good and the bad!)
1) Our drive from Highlands Ranch Colorado to the Academy went off without a hitch. The RV performed great. The rig has awesome power, great maneuverability, and large enough to push everyone else out of the way (just kidding). Directions are very simple. Exit I25 at either the North or South Gates of the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Gate personnel can give further directions from there, or you can go to their website (see above link) for directions.
2) While hooking up the sewer, water, and electricity, I discovered we needed a water pressure regulator and a “Donut” for the sewer pipe. These are really good items to have to prevent water line blowout or a smelly mess when your sewer pipe comes out of the ground while dumping tanks. Luckily the on-site store had both.
3) Found out we have a water leak. A small one to be sure, but I have a need to fix things before they get out of hand. I purchased a PEX crimping tool, PEX tubing, and some PEX crimp rings. I got a great deal on the crimp tool. Once I started to repair the problem, I found out why I got a great deal on it – it was JUNK. Back to the store I went and picked up a good tool. It turns out the shut off valve for the low point water drain is where my leak was coming from. I installed a replacement and no more leaks.
4) We relaxed for the next few days in this beautiful park, cooking on our outdoor camp stove anything that was greasy! This was mother’s day weekend and I took the opportunity to make my dear wife some breakfast. Ok, I cooked MOST of it. She did help some! Ok, she helped A LOT! I am a terrible cook!
I did not walk around the park to survey the other sites, but we took advantage of the on-site showers and laundry facilities. Both were a little dated, but clean and functional. Remember to always wear some type of shower shoes when using someone else’s bathroom facilities – OK? You never know where that floor has been.
Notes: You must have valid military Identification authorizing access to Morale Welfare & Recreation activities. This means Active Duty, Retired, DOD Civilian, 100% Disabled Veteran to use this facility.
Bonus Notes: Free Mifi Hot Spots located at the 2 bathhouses and the office. You can rent a MIFI for $5/Day, $25/Week, $60/Month. Internet is great using Verizon and AT&T hot spots. Firearms not allowed and must be checked into security at the South Gate.
Pets: Thankfully, my dog lives with grandma and grandpa now so I didn’t really pay attention. Pets are allowed on leash and you must pick up after them.
Facilities: 4/5 Kudo’s – Good hook ups, decent bathroom/showers, and fairly priced laundry facilities. I deducted a point for being a little dated.
Campsite: 5/5 Kudo’s – Level and long. Nice picnic table and BBQ grill. This place is quiet with a lot of space between sites.
Location: 5/5 Kudo’s – Beautiful wooded location. Nice place to relax and unwind after driving in Denver traffic – YUK! But the visitor center and the Academy grounds are just gorgeous. Don’t forget to stop and look at the B-52 and other airplane exhibits.
Overall: 5 Kudo’s to the Peregrine Pines family campOne of only two B52’s ever credited with shooting down a MIG fighter over Vietnamat the United States Air Force Academy.