Pikes Peak - America's Mountain
Pikes Peak is known as Americas Mountain."
It's the most visited mountain in North America, and for good reason.
The summit is easy to reach, its close to Colorado Springs, and the views are quite literally breathtaking at 14,110 feet above sea level.
Drive up the Pikes Peak Highway, take the Cog Railway train, or hike the Barr Trail to get to the summit...
The mountain is named after Zebulon Pike, an explorer who first documented the peak in 1806.
The expression Pikes Peak or Bust became popular during the 1850s when prospectors used the mountain as their beacon to mark their way to Colorados gold fields during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush.
Dominating the Colorado Springs skyline, Pikes Peak is actually about 10 miles to the west of the city.
TAKE ME TO THE TOP
You can reach the summit of Pikes Peak three ways.
Each way offers its own unique experience.
The Pikes Peak Highway is a 19-mile city road up to the Summit House. Its paved most of the way, and should be totally paved soon.
The highway is a fun way to experience the mountain, as you can take your time, take photos as you like, and be in control of your own vehicle.
(The Cog Railway is on a time schedule, which means you have to leave when the whistle blows).
The Toll Road cost varies due to season.
Along the way, there are several highlights that offer dramatic scenery:
Often, cars will stop or pull over to view wildlife along (or on) the highway.
Creatures you might see:
THE COG RAILWAY
The 9-mile Cog Railway is another great way to make the journey to the top. Effortless on your part--just sit back and take in the view.
A tour guide chimes in occasionally with history and fun facts about the Cog and the mountain itself.
Because youre climbing up a different side of the mountain than the highway, the scenery is completely different, offering several unique viewpoints.
You will pass through forests, travel past giant boulders, and climb through rocky expanses.
Sights along the Cog trip:
While the Highway averages 6% grades, the Cog reaches 25% grades at some points! Its a fun trip. A little pricey, but really it's worth it. You get what you pay for here.
The train trip last 3 hours and 10 minutes.
THE BARR TRAIL
The Barr Trail is the best way to get a truly up-close look at Pikes Peak. Its the longest of all the Colorado mountain peak trails at 12.5 miles.
The hike to the summit can take you anywhere from 8-12 hours, and its full of switchbacks. Its hard to imagine there is an annual marathon run up this trail!
The views however (and the bragging rights) are well worth the effort.
Halfway up the trail, hikers can rest and even stay overnight at Barr Camp.
Read more about hiking on the Barr Trail.
GETTING THERE: From Colorado Springs, take Hwy 24 west to Manitou Springs. Take Manitou Avenue to Ruxton Avenue, until you see the turnoff for the Cog Railway. Just past the Cog parking lot is a sign for the Barr Trail Parking lot, where both the Barr Trail and the Manitou Incline begin.
***INSIDER TIP: No matter what time of year it is, the temperature will drop as you get higher in altitude. Make sure to wear layers that you can take on and off as temps vary. You will be glad you did.***
Other fun facts:
Have YOU visited Pikes Peak?
Share your story! How did you get to the top? What was the weather like? Did you see any wildlife? How was the view? The visitors of this website would love to hear/see about your adventure.
What Other Visitors Have Said
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
My Family and I's Experience
Pikes Peak in May