The Ultimate Guide To Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak , a majestic mountain peak in Colorado!
The majestic Pikes Peak can be seen from several places in the town, but the journey to the summit and the expansive views from the top are unmatched!
Pikes Peak, located a few miles from Colorado Springs, Colorado, is part of the Rocky Mountains and is one of the tallest mountain peaks and one among the 96 fourteeners in the US! In mountaineering terms, mountain peaks reaching fourteen thousand feet and above are called fourteeners.
Colorado is home to the most fourteeners in the US, with 53 mountain peaks measuring more than fourteen thousand feet. However, Pikes Peak’s easily accessible summit makes it unique from all other fourteeners in Colorado!
Pikes Peak is one of the rare mountains in the US whose summit is quite easily accessible to visitors!
Pikes Peak, formed of lava and shaped by glacial activities and erosion, is named after Zebulon Pike. Zebulon Pike was an explorer and a decorated US Army officer who attempted to climb Pikes Peak in the very early days.
The state of Colorado has developed the Pikes Peak region making it possible for visitors from around the globe to drive, hike, or take a train ride up to the Pikes Peak summit! With spectacular views from the top and the thrilling experience of climbing up the winding roads, make Pikes Peak summit a must-see in Colorado!
Here is my ultimate guide to Pikes Peak, featuring various exciting options to get to the summit of Pikes Peak and things to do in Pikes Peak, along with recommendations on hotels and restaurants near Pikes Peak.
Getting To Pikes Peak
The best way to get to Pikes Peak is by flying into Colorado Springs or Denver International Airport!
Pikes Peak is just 30 miles from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Colorado Springs is located about 70 miles south of Denver and is also home to Colorado Springs Airport (COS), a domestic airport in Colorado served by several major airlines.
This section covers various options to get to Colorado Springs, which serves as an excellent base for your Pikes Peak trip. The section after this covers multiple exciting ways to get to the summit of Pikes Peak.
Airports Near Pikes Peak: Colorado Springs Airport (COS), Colorado Springs, Colorado, located 40 miles from Pikes Peak, is the closest major domestic airport to Pikes Peak, which’s serviced by several major Airlines.
Located about 85 miles north of Colorado Springs, the Denver International Airport (DEN), Denver, Colorado, is the closest international airport to Pikes Peak.
Once you reach Colorado Springs, there are multiple ways to reach the summit of Pikes Peak that I have discussed in depth in the section – Visiting Pikes Peak Summit.
Train Services To Pikes Peak: While there’re no direct train services to Pikes Peak, you could either take a direct Amtrak train to Denver Union Station. Or use Amtrak’s train-bus mixed services to get to Colorado Springs, which is the closest Amtrak station to Pikes Peak.
Bus Services To Pikes Peak: Like Amtrak train services, Greyhound also connects several US cities to many Colorado cities, including Denver and Colorado Springs.
Upon reaching Colorado Springs, there are several ways to reach the summit of Pikes Peak, but I still recommend renting a car when visiting Colorado.
Visiting Pikes Peak Summit
The journey to the summit & the spectacular views from the top are the main attractions in Pikes Peak!
The best views lie atop Pikes Peak, but getting to the summit is itself a unique experience! There’re four very unique ways to get to Pikes Peak Summit, including driving up the Pikes Peak Highway, hiking to the summit, a guided bus tour, or riding the Cog Railway to the summit.
Pikes Peak is open year-round, but hiking and driving conditions during the winter months depend on the weather. Though the roads are plowed during the winter months, the weather can quickly change at such a high altitude, so road closures and delays are expected in the winter months.
I recommend driving and hiking to the summit outside the winter months and enjoying the comfort of the bus tour and Cog Railway during the winter months!
One of the most popular ways to reach the Pikes Peak summit is by driving the winding roads of Pikes Peak Highway and enjoying the breathtaking views along the way! The drive to the summit from the toll booth is about 19 miles but involves a steep climb, several switchbacks, and a few sharp turns on the way.
Once you pay the toll and enter the Pikes Peak Highway, you can leisurely drive your way up to the summit stopping at viewing areas along the road. During the peak season, in the summer months, you may have to leave your car at a distant parking lot and take a shuttle to the summit due to limited parking at the summit.
The Pikes Peak Highway is well maintained and plowed during winter, but driving conditions entirely depends on the weather during the winter months.
Pikes Peak summit can also be reached on foot by hiking the Barr Trail! The hike to Pikes Peak summit is a highly strenuous 24 miles roundtrip hike starting at the Barr Trailhead located at Manitou Springs. Barr Trailhead Address: 98 Hydro St, Manitou Springs, CO 80829.
This is undoubtedly a great way to explore Pikes Peak summit and the wilderness, but this hike is not for everyone, and only seasoned hikers should attempt this hike with proper preparation. There’s no water, food, and heat on the trail, and the gain in elevation might cause altitude sickness.
It could take 6 – 10 hours to reach the Pikes Peak summit, but the hike down will be faster. The trail is well maintained with a few signs, and the Barr Camp with hostel-style cabins, located midway on the trail, is a great place to rest or stay overnight. You can find more details about the Barr Trail on the Pikes Peak website.
Riding The Cog Train To Pikes Peak Summit
Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the most amazing mountain train ride ever!
Riding the Cog Railway to the summit of Pikes Peak is a once-in-a-lifetime experience! The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway is the world’s highest railroad. The epic train ride slowly and steadily climbs up the steep Pikes Peak, and every turn reveals a new breathtaking scenery of the valley.
The cog train departs from the Manitou Depot, Manitou Springs, and offers year-round service. In fact, the Cog Railway is the best way to get to the Pikes Peak summit in the winter months. There’s a snowblower engine that blows off the snow and clears the track for the passenger trains.
Once they reopen in May 2021, you must ride the Cog Railway to the Pikes Peak summit!
Unfortunately, the Cog Railway is currently closed, undergoing major renovation work, and is scheduled to reopen in May 2021. I was fortunate to ride the Cog Railway before it closed for renovation. However, I am eager to experience the new trains, tracks, and the whole new experience that’s being designed and built by a special team from Switzerland.
The guided bus tour of the Pikes Peak summit is an excellent choice during the winter months and if you want to avoid driving up the steep and winding roads of the Pikes Peak Highway.
Gray Line offers a well-narrated, guided bus tour departing from Colorado Springs, making its way up to the Pikes Peak summit allowing sufficient time at the summit. The bus tours are quite popular, and it’s a good idea to reserve the tickets in advance on the Gray Line website.
Lodging & Dining Near Pikes Peak
Colorado Springs is a great place to stay when visiting Pikes Peak!
Colorado Springs is a major city in Colorado and home to several attractions, including Garden of the Gods, Broadmoor Seven Falls, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and more. Being a popular tourist destination in Colorado, Colorado Springs has several excellent lodging options, including resorts, boutique hotels, and other chain hotels.
Lodging Options Near Pikes Peak
The Broadmoor: The Broadmoor is a resort and a private club in Colorado Springs. The expansive lakeside resort with golf-courses, SPA services, onsite shops and galleries, and several dining options is a great place to stay near Pikes Peak. Find more details and reserve online on The Broadmoor website.
Cheyenne Mountain Colorado Springs: Located thirty miles from Pikes Peak, the Cheyenne Mountain Colorado Springs is a luxury retreat in the mountains with great views, service, and amenities, including many swimming pools, a man-made sand beach, golf courses, tennis courts, SPA services and more.
Garden of the Gods Resort & Club: Located within a few miles from Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, and the Broadmoor Seven Falls, the Garden of the Gods Resort & Club is a luxury resort in Colorado Springs with great views of Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. The resort features indoor and outdoor tennis courts, wellness SPA and saloon, the Kissing Camels Golf Course, the Infinity pool with spectacular views of Pikes Peak, indoor and outdoor dining options.
Antlers Hotel: The Antlers Hotel part of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, located in the city center, Colorado Springs, is a luxurious hotel with contemporary decor, great views, an indoor pool, and a few great dining options.
Dining Options Near Pikes Peak
The dining options within Pike Peak may be limited, but Colorado Springs is home to several excellent eateries, including big brand chain restaurants and locally-owned restaurants. Below I have listed a few of my favorite places to dine near Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs.
Lake Terrace Dining Room: The Lake Terrace Dining Room in The Broadmoor resort, with an elegant dining room and a great menu, is a great place to dine whether or not you’re staying in The Broadmoor resort! Lake Terrace Dining Room’s Sunday brunch is very popular among locals and a must-try if you’re in Colorado Springs on a Sunday.
Edelweiss German Restaurant: The Edelweiss German Restaurant in Colorado Springs is a great place to try European delicacies in a lively setting with live music.
Paravicini’s Italian Bistro: This is a great place for classic Italian food in a rustic and lively environment.
Pepper Tree Restaurant: The Pepper Tree Restaurant, known for its table-side food preparation, is one of the best fine dining options in Colorado Springs.
Crave Real Burgers: The best burger joint in Colorado Springs! The gourmet burgers, shakes, and unique appetizers served here are some of the best in town.
Other Colorado Attractions & Related Posts
I hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To Pikes Peak, and I hope this will help you plan your perfect trip to Pikes Peak. You can explore other Colorado attractions in my Colorado Travel Guide.
Happy feeding your soul!
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