Pikes Peak - America's Mountain

Quick Quiz:  what is the most visited mountain in North America.  Okay, that was just silly.  Yes, Pikes Peak, America’s Mountain, is the most visited mountain in North America and second in the WORLD - behind Mt. Fuji in Japan.  Over half a million visitors get to the top of the Peak every year

It rises to 14,115 feet above the Springs, lending it’s iconic view to your photos. 

There are actually two ways to get to the top of the Peak.

  • You can hike
  • You can drive

Since most of our visitors aren’t terribly interested in hiking up, I’ll tell you about your other option.

But first, just a bit more about the Peak.  Every year, on the stroke of midnight on December 31st, the AdAmAn Club welcome the new year with fireworks that can be seen for miles around. In August, the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon welcomes people from around the world to their 26-mile foot race.  13 miles up and 13 miles down.  And in MONTH, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is held.  Race cars and motorcycles ascent to the summit at incredible speed.

A little history . . .

Lt. Zebulon Pike

But we have to go back in time to find out why Pikes Peak is America’s Mountain.

The mountain was named after Lt. Zebulon Pike, who came West to survey the Louisiana Purchase for Thomas Jefferson.  He never made it to the top of the peak that would later be named for him and he died during the War of 1812 in an explosion on board ship.

Katharine Lee Bates

The first road to the summit of Pikes Peak was a carriage road that was opened in 1888.  In 1893,

Katharine Lee Bates, a professor at Wellesley College came to Colorado Springs to take a summer position at Colorado College.  It was then that she rode up that carriage trail to the Halfway House.  Her group then mounted burros for the last 6 miles.  The view from the top inspired a poem that was later put to music.  America the Beautiful.

Hence - America’s Mountain.

So how do you get to the top?   You take the Highway, of course.

UPDATE on the Cog Railway below.

Make sure you buy 2 donuts at the Summit House.  Their donuts are amazing.  Eat one before the descent and keep on until you reach the Springs.  It’s a science experiment.  What happens to  donuts made at 14,000 feet when it comes down to 6,000 feet?  Make sure you leave a comment on your findings.

The Pikes Peak Highway

Starting May 24, 2018 - for the Summer Season - the only "drive up" option will be the shuttle.  The only exception is for people with special needs or small children in car seats.  The Shuttle-Only option is expected to run until mid-October.  

You don't pay extra to ride the shuttle and you'll be shown where to park.  Shuttles run every 5 to 10 minutes with no stops along the way. 

Construction of the new Summit House is on schedule for a Fall 2020 opening.  But don't worry, there still a place to buy those famous donuts!

Another option for getting to the top of the Peak is offered by Pikes Peak Tours - your 4-hour guided mini-coach tour leave four times a day.   

From Memorial Day Weekend through September 30th, TOURS DEPART from 30 S Sierra Madre St.,  in Colorado Springs.

AT 8 am & 9 AM AND 1 PM & 2 pm DAILY tours year round!

$69.50 for Adults
(13 and older)

$39.50 for children
(12 and younger)

Off-Season - The Pikes Peak Highway - driving up - 19-miles to the summit.  The journey takes about 3 hours.  It’s an amazing drive.  Call 719-385-7325 and select option 1 for current road conditions.

From May 24th to September 15th, you'll find parking and free shuttles from Mile 7, 13, and 16.  Shuttles run every 5 minutes to take you to the Summit House while the building continues on the new Summit House. 

5089 Pikes Peak Highway, Cascade, CO 80809
Head West of Highway 24 just a few miles above Manitou Springs. Turn left at the first light Cascade (Fountain Avenue.)  The toll booth is ahead on Fountain Avenue.

Prices:  Adult $15 - Child (6-15): $5 - Carload up to 5 people $50

Hours:  9am - 5 pm Daily - Last entry:  3 pm

Average time:  2 - 3 hours round trip

From their website:


After many months of research, planning and community support, we are pleased to announce the rebirth of the Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, reopening in 2021!"

I am sincerely hoping that the Cog Railway is renovated and opened again. 

YAY - Good News - 2021!

I tell my visitors that I recommend the Cog Railway.  Why?  Well, the highway is great. But I think the driver might not enjoy the trip as much as with the train. 

Don't forget the science experiment!

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