A Colorado Fourteener
Fourteen thousand, one hundred and fifteen feet! Woah! Pikes Peak, America’s Mountain, stands over 14,000 feet above sea level, and it towers more than half that distance above the towns at its base, including Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Cripple Creek, Cañon City and Woodland Park.
As an above-14,000-foot peak, it’s part of the group of mountains known as fourteeners. Colorado has 54 fourteeners, and Pikes Peak ranks 31st out of those 54. Conquering the summit of Pikes Peak is truly an achievement.
Pikes Peak was discovered in the 1700s, but wasn’t named until an excursion brought Zebulon Pike into the area. Later, Katherine Lee Bates would write a poem describing the beauty of the American countryside, and the “purple mountain majesties” were based on none other than Pikes Peak. America’s Mountain was born.
Locals can attest to the purple hue of the mountains in the early morning sun, and they always look for “the Peak” to know they’re close to home.
It’s a Spectacle for All
Whether you’re hiking, biking, driving or taking some great Colorado photography, it’s a must-see attraction.
To drive to the top…
…you begin at the Pikes Peak Tollway in Cascade, Colorado. It’s a 19-mile journey that will take several hours round-trip. It will take your breath away as you navigate the switchbacks to the top. Be prepared for the journey with some snacks and water for the car. You may notice that you get sleepy along the way. That’s the altitude! Also, be prepared for a 30-degree temperature drop. Even in the middle of summer, it can be cold on the peak, so bring a coat! Make sure to get some fudge at the top in the gift shop. It’s so yummy!
PRICES: Adult: $10 | Child (6-15): $5 | Carload up to 5 people: $35
HOURS: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Daily | Last car goes up at 3 p.m.
The hike is not for the faint of heart.
The Barr Trail begins in Manitou Springs. You can begin with the infamous Manitou Incline, a set of over 2,700 stairs that gain 2,000 feet in elevation in just under a mile. Not ready for that? You can jump right on the Barr Trail. The trail is 13 miles and gains 7,510 feet from beginning to end. You’ll want to begin in the wee hours of the morning because it can take more than 4 hours just to get half way! Many hikers choose to make the trip to the top a two-day trek (that’s my most alliterative sentence, to date). Barr Camp is about 7 miles from the trailhead. You can make reservations to stay overnight at barrcamp.com/overnight.php.
Or rather, bike down. You can book a Jeep tour to the summit of Pikes Peak. You’ll meet in the morning for a yummy breakfast, then take a Jeep to the top! Once you’re there, there’s only one way down, right? Cruise down 19.5 miles of scenic highway back to Cascade, and end at the Wines of Colorado for a lunch to celebrate your return! Book at tour at pikespeakbybike.co.
At the end of your incredible day, kick back and relax at our Catamount Cabin in Woodland Park, which looks right out on the majestic mountain you just explored, or our Family Retreat in Florissant which, at almost 9,000 feet is nestled in the heart of this great countryside.
For weather & road conditions on Pikes Peak Highway, call 719-385-7325.