El Paso County lies in east central Colorado and encompasses more than 2,158 square miles – slightly more than twice the area of the state of Rhode Island (excluding Narragansett Bay). While the western portion of El Paso County is extremely mountainous, the eastern part is prairie land where dairy cows and beef cattle are the main source of ranchers’ income. The altitude ranges from about 5,095 feet (1569 m) on the southern border at Black Squirrel Creek to 14,110 feet (4301 m) on the summit of Pikes Peak, near the western boundary. The county seat is located in Colorado Springs.

El Paso County became a territorial county in 1861 before Colorado became a state in 1876.

The natural physical beauty of the area, situated at the base of Pikes Peak and with an uninterrupted view of the Front Range, can be enjoyed by all. The magnificent scenery inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write the poem “America the Beautiful” after her visit here. The mild climate, on average, supplies 285 days of sunshine, 15 inches of rain, 35 inches of snow, and very low levels of humidity.

For more information about El Paso County government, elected offices, administrative departments and the county budget, the 2017-2018 El Paso County Citizens Guide (PDF) is available.

Colorado was first visited by Spanish explorers in the 1500. The territory was claimed for Spain by Juan de Ulibarri in 1706. The U.S. obtained eastern Colorado as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the central portion in 1845 with the admission of Texas as a state, and the western part in 1848 as a result of the Mexican War.

Colorado has the highest mean elevation of any state, with more than 1,000 Rocky Mountain peaks over 10,000 ft high and 54 towering above 14,000 ft. Pikes Peak, the most famous of these mountains, was discovered by U.S. Army lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike in 1806.

Once primarily a mining and agricultural state, Colorado’s economy is now driven by the service industries, including medical providers and other business and professional services. Colorado’s economy also has a strong manufacturing base. The primary manufactures are food products, printing and publishing, machinery, and electrical instruments. The state is also a communications and transportation hub for the Rocky Mountain region.