COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – The tunnel to the Air Force station inside Cheyenne Mountain is iconic. For 60 years, North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs has been protecting North America primarily from that location.

norad cheyenne mountain 3 Rare Tour Given Of Military Operation Inside Cheyenne Mountain

(credit: CBS)

For the first time in a decade, officials this week gave reporters and photographers a look behind the blast doors.

norad cheyenne mountain 5 Rare Tour Given Of Military Operation Inside Cheyenne Mountain

(credit: CBS)

What goes on inside Cheyenne Mountain is so top secret it has been the subject of intrigue and popular culture for decades.

“You have to mix between, you know, what you see on Stargate and what you see in the movies but I tell you it’s pretty impressive,” said Col. Travis Morehen, the Command Center Deputy Director for NORAD/North Comm.

While it was built in 1958, it’s still probably the safest place in the world. That’s because the base itself is a wonder of technology and engineering.

“When you walk through that tunnel to come here and understand the scope and breadth of the vision of people in the 1950s to create this complex…it’s impressive,” Morehen said.

norad cheyenne mountain 2 Rare Tour Given Of Military Operation Inside Cheyenne Mountain

(credit: CBS)

Cheyenne Mountain was bored out to create space to build an Air Force station inside of it.

That means the station itself sits behind tons of solid granite. That in and of itself is sufficient to sustain almost any blast, but if that weren’t enough there are also two 23 ton blast doors that can be closed in 45 seconds to completely seal off the base.

norad cheyenne mountain 4 Rare Tour Given Of Military Operation Inside Cheyenne Mountain

(credit: CBS)

If there is a nuclear bombing of the facility, the buildings sit on gigantic springs to protect all the people and sensitive equipment inside from the shock of the blast.

“The protection it affords, it’s pretty amazing what we do here,” Morehen said.

These days NORAD monitors the air and seas around the world and in the United States from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. But the base inside the mountain is always at the ready.

“If we were going to war we would be here, and we would live here and fight out of here,” Morehen said.

That’s not to say the personnel don’t have a little fun. As a part of an ongoing joke, the command center has stuffed alien doll in a jar placed in front of the director’s desk.

gettyimages 957078058 Rare Tour Given Of Military Operation Inside Cheyenne Mountain

(Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Additional Resources

Learn more about the Cheyenne Mountain Complex at a special section of norad.mil.

Comments (13)
  1. /shrug Anyone who watched Stargate SG1 knows what’s inside the mountain.

      1. The only winning move is not to play.

    1. No doubt you also know what’s inside a Klingon Bird of Prey.

  2. they give tours all the time! the place you really want a tour of is patterson afb in ohio! that is where the real x-file stuff goes on! i know my father was stationed there for awhile in security! you can’t get anyhwhere without a special card in major areas of the base!

    1. The Cheyenne Mountain Complex was feature in +National Geographic a couple decades ago. I recall the springs from that issue.
      As an aside, I live at the base of Cheyenne Mountain in the 90’s. It was a shame that we never saw any Ja’afa, Replicators, or Orai pouring out, but we always knew that we were going to be buried in snow when the clouds at the top looked like the foam off of a latte’.

  3. Jim Thomas says:

    Even the AF acknowledges that the place wouldn’t survive a direct hit. This is just PR.

    1. Can you provide the evidence where the AF says it will not survive a direct hit?

  4. All that marvelous stuff worked liked garbage during 9/11. Wonder why??? Who ordered the stand down??

  5. My first job out of engineering school was inside the mountain blasting tunnels 1974

  6. Yeah my son’s scout troop toured n the late 80 and in the conference room
    where the CONTROLLER were theysaw 6 DEC stations like in my home office
    and kids all laughed and said wow they have the same display you do and we get to fly the B_52
    on yours
    They ask if they could do the b-52 flight simulator

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