Pike's Peak, discovered and conquered in the 19th century by Zebulon Pike, dominates the landscape to the west of Colorado Springs. Even though this grand mountain stands 14,110 feet above sea level at the summit, it's surprisingly easy for the common traveler to match Pike's feat of standing at its summit.
There are two ways to achieve you goal.
(1) You can take the Pike's Peak Cog Railway, which we did NOT do. Not sure the exact cost, but trains go up and down every 30 minutes or so.
(2) You can DRIVE yourself. This is our plan. It costs $10 per adult and $5 per child under 16, or you can pay $35 per car for up to 7 occupants. The actual drive is 19 miles, in which you gain about 6,000 vertical feet. It will take a minimum of two hours, round trip.
Not a lot at the top, but it's not everyday in America that you get to ascend to an altitude of 14,110 feet without the help of Boeing Corporation technology.
BTW, rest easy and go slow. Not a lot of air up there!
Pikes Peak where America the beautiful was written is the most visited mountain in the USA (I wonder how they know that little fact). You can take a cog wheeled train, drive or hike to the top on the Barr trail about 13 miles.
Every year they have a marathon race to the top and down and a well know Auto race the Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb (for Kiwi -- Rod Millen from New Zealand holds the fastest time record since 1994, 10 minutes and 4.6 seconds)
also the chipmunks at the top are so cute looking for a free handout
Elevation is 14,110 ft. or for the rest of the world 3353 meters
it is open all year, weather permitting.
summer - 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
early fall - 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.
fall winter early spring - 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Pikes Peak is a very large part of the COS landscape. At over 14,000 feet, Pikes Peak grants quite a view of the city. You can drive up to the summit by car, hike up, or take the cog railway located in Manitou Springs. The Bar Trail takes a while (over a day) to hike up, and is best during the late spring, summer, early fall.
This is one of the stand outs for the area. Tourists and tours are available. At 14,110 feet high, it pitches right up there. The peak is relatively flat. If we could only find those pictures-much lost so far. The cog railway is available for trek to the top. It has been in operation 100 years.
UNTIL I CAN FIND THE "LOST" PICTURES, I AM PRESENTING THE BROCHURES SINCE THIS IS SUCH A FABULOUS SITE TO TOUR.
Not the tallest of the Rockies, this is the most famous and accessible. You can drive up to the top or take the Cog Railway (which I did). Driving, from what I've heard, is not for the faint of heart. It's probably similar to the drive up Mt Evans. The railway is quite fun. You can relax and enjoy the breathtaking scenery on the way up and back, shoot photos, and possibly get to see wildlife such as marmots and bighorn sheep, which show little fear of the train.
The view from the 14,110-foot summit is truly awesome. My photos cannot do it justice. In fact, it is so striking that Katharine Lee Bates was inspired by it to pen the song America the Beautiful.
Even in summer, one should wear a light jacket or sweater. By the way, there is a Visitors Center with a small gift shop up there.
This is the fun way to see Pike's Peak. It's the world's highest cog railway. For those unfamiliar with this concept, the locomotive has a big "cog", or spiked wheel, in the center. The track has a middle rail with grooves cut into it. The cog's spikes use the grooves to pull the train up. It's a rather rough ride, but fun. Also, the narrator tells all about the mountain. The views are awesome, and you just might see some wildlife.
During the summer, I advise buying tickets in advance. Try to show up a little early to pick them up.
Some will tell you there are bigger mountains to drive up, but none are as famous as Pike's Peak. There are two ways to the top - the Cog Railway and the Highway drive. The Cog Railway has the advantage of not having to navigate mountain driving (if that's a concern), but has the drawback that you can't get out and walk around at some of the pullouts, nor can you travel on your own schedule (it's also a little pricier). I prefer the drive, which still runs $10 per person (up to $35 per car). It's about 40 miles round trip, and that will take a couple of hours, since you will be going up (and down) some fairly steep roads. Be sure to shift into lower gears on the way down, or you'll have to pull off to the side to allow your brakes to cool (there is a station with a mandatory check). Bring a jacket as well, because it never gets too warm when you're at 14,000 foot altitudes!
The Pikes Peak Cog Railroad is open most of the year, weather permitting. It costs about $26, but you can get coupons online. It's a three hour round-trip tour, with a 30 minute time at the top. Which is just enough time to start feeling funky from the altitude. There is a gift shop and snack bar at the top. They are apparently famous for their high-altitude donuts. I didn't eat any. I'm quite sensitive to the rocky mountain High, so to speak. By the way, it's about 30 degrees (F) cooler at the top then in the city.
Make reservations before the trip or go at least an hour early. We didn't have reservations and got the very last seats on the train.
This is a great place to go see. You get to the top after what seems like FOREVER and have one of the best views I've ever seen. You are standing at over 14,000 feet. You can also take a train, but I went by car. We had a friendly groundhog on the side of the road waiting to be fed. If you see him when you go, give him a sandwich scrap: We called him bear! ;)
Pike's Peak is one of the most famous mountains in Colorado, more for its location next to Colorado Springs than any other reason. It towers 11,140 feet above sea level and is accessible by road, rail, or trail. Both of my trips to the top were on the Cog Railway from Manitou Springs, while my dad has taken the drive from Hwy 24. Each year there is the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb auto race, or you can attempt the Pikes Peak Marathon or the Ascent (half marathon).
From the second you get to Colorado Springs, you will see it. Pikes Peak, also know as Americas mountain. It is the largest mountain in Colorado Springs, and by far the most breathtaking! Pikes Peak is the most visited mountain in North America and the second most visited mountain in the world behind Japan's Mount Fuji, Pikes Peak forms a stunning backdrop for Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods.
Pikes Peak stands at an altitude of 14,110 feet above sea level. It is the farthest east of the big peaks in the Rocky Mountain chain, which contributed to its early fame among explorers with the slogan, "Pikes Peak or Bust".
You can drive up to the summit, which takes about 2 hours to get to the top. I suggest you be very carful driving because it can be hard on your car. It is about 38 miles up and down, so keep that in mind. Also, there are a lot of construction trucks and big rigs that use the road as well.
There are three notable events take place on the mountain each year. The Pikes Peak Marathon, the Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb and the AdAmAn Club New Years Fireworks display on December 31.
The Marathon is a 26 mile round trip race that takes place in August. People run up and down the Barr Trail and thousands show up from all over the world.
The Pikes Peak auto hill climb (the most recognized) takes place around the July 4th weekend every year. It is a little over 12 miles on a gravel road up the mountain. It is very dangerous, but very exciting as well.
The last is the AdAmAn Club New Years Fireworks display on December 31. A group of (crazy) people climb to the summit and set off fireworks at midnight. Keep in mind that Colorado is freezing in December. The fireworks can be seen from just about anywhere in the city. It is definitely an amazing show.
If you are in Colorado Springs on or around any of the events, they are a must see/do. If not, going to the summit is something you should not miss out on. After all, that is where America the Beautiful was written.
I've never taken the cog railway myself, but have seen it arrive while at the summit. People seem to enjoy the 3 plus hour journey each way on the world's highest cog railway, in use since 1891.
Catch the railway in Manitou Springs, directions below.
This mountain was the inspiration for´the song "America the beautiful" and was a symbol to the gold seekers on their way west. The peak (over 14,000 feet) is accessible by car or by train. Take a sweatshirt and a jacket with you. Although you might feel warm enough to just wear shorts at the base....believe me it IS cold at the top. Marvellous view!
Pike's Peak can be seen from just about anywhere in Colorado Springs. If you can manage the 13 mile (all day event) hike up Barr Trail, you can climb. There is no cost for the climb, but be sure to bring plenty of water, food, etc. If a hike isn't your style or you don't have that much time, you can take the Cog Railway. You'll have to check their website for the price, but the range is somewhere between $29-$31 per adult. You may also be able find coupons or discount trains by checking the website. Parking is free, but limited. If you don't get there before sunrise, you may have to add a mile to your hike :o)
Pike's Peak is not Colorado's highest mountain, but its 31st ranking peak. It is probably the state's best known peak however. Visitors have been ascending to the summit for decades by auto or cog railway to catch the glorious vew.
It was Kathryn Lee Bates, an English professor at Wellesley College, who was inspired by the breathtaking view from Pike's Pike to write the words to the beloved song, "America, the Beautiful." This happened in 1893.
More photos in my Pike's Peak Travelogues.