Colorado National Parks
Pikes Peak National Landmark
Though not the highest peak in the state, Pikes Peak is the most traveled to mountain in North America and second in the world to Mt. Fuji in Japan. Those who have reached the summit understand what Kathy Lee Bates felt when she reached the summit, and was inspired to write the poem "America the Beautiful."
There is a toll to drive the highway ranging from $5 to $50. Those who have National Park passes will still have to pay the toll, as it is not a designated National Park. The highway may be closed during winter for bad weather.
Zebulon Pike was the first white man to see the peak in 1806 but unfortunately, he was never able to reach the summit. He even predicted that no one would ever be able to scale this mountain. In 1820, Stephen Long and 3 others climbed the mountain and reached the summit. Today, over 6 million people reach the summit each year, either by foot, automobile, or railroad.
There are a few ways to reach the summit:
- Hike - Barr Trail leads up the mountain to the summit. The trail starts in Manitou Springs and winds 13 miles to the top. The hike is very strenuous, as it has a 7,400' gain from the bottom and the average slope is about 11%.
- Bike - If you're feeling super adventurous, try biking to the top of Pikes Peak. Be careful as you will have to share the road with vehicles using the Pikes Peak Highway. The highway was built in 1915, at a cost of $350,000 at the time.
- Drive - Not in the physical condition to hike or bike up, drive the highway to the summit. Be conscious of bicyclists on the road, as you will have to share.
- Railroad - Let someone else do the driving and take the Pikes Peak Cog Railroad to the summit. The Cog Railroad was opened on June 30, 1891, carrying a church choir to the summit as its first passengers. Though the track is only 8.9 miles long, it takes over 3 hours to travel round trip on the train.
Pikes Peak hosts three major events every year:
- The Pikes Peak Marathon is held in August. Thousands of runners come to this event, racing on Barr Trail round trip. The fastest time is 3 hours 16 minutes.
- The Pikes Peak Auto Climb takes place on the last Saturday of June. Car racers travel 12.42 miles around 156 turns for a 5,000' elevation change on a gravel road to the summit. The fastest time is 10 minutes 4.6 seconds.
- The New Years Eve fireworks; a local climbing group hikes the mountain, and then sets off fireworks that can be seen as far away as Denver.
Location: Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs. From I-25, turn west onto US 24 and continue for about 9.5 miles.
Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do
HOT TUBS ON-SITE. Family vacation at Lakeside Cottages! Walk to lake fishing, winter ice staking in our small, friendly mountain town. West of Colorado Springs near Pikes Peak attractions and Cripple Creek.
We cater to all skill levels. Breathtaking views of Pikes Peak by mountain bike! Our Tours are fun, safe, adventures for all who LOVE the great outdoors. Necessary equipment and transportation are provided.
Views of Pikes Peak! RV Park, Tent Campground and Motel Rooms. Free WiFi. Playground. Sightsee from Rocky Top: Garden of the Gods, Green Mountain Falls, USAF Academy, Cliff Dwellings Museum.
More Activities & Information
Pikes Peak Area, Colorado includes: Cascade, Chipita Park, Deckers, Green Mountain Falls, Manitou Springs, Woodland Park