Pikes Peak is not only the state’s most famous “fourteener,” (a mountain peak that stands over 14,000 feet high) but the second most-visited peak in the world. Over the years, people seem to have come up with every conceivable way to experience or ascend this mountain (all for a fee unless you are fit enough to hike up). The 360-degree panorama from the top is simply spectacular.
Just up a narrow road from downtown Manitou, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway (515 Ruxton Rd., 719/685-5401, www.cograilway.com) slowly chugs train cars up the side of the mountain through forests and out to the barren mountaintop—and gift and donut shop. The trip is a little over three hours and there are health warnings and restrictions because of the altitude and heights. Rates are $17–32.50 and there are several trips daily year-round.
Pikes Peak also has its own toll road. It’s 19 miles of curvy mountain driving that is only paved for about half the distance, then gravel the last nine miles. Every summer, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (719/685-4400, www.ppihc.com) takes place on this seemingly dangerous road.
Barr Trail is the route for hikers to get to the 14,110 peak, and this too inspires an annual event with the Pikes Peak Marathon in August.
For more information on Pikes Peak, visit www.pikespeakcolorado.com.
© Mindy Sink from Moon Denver, 1st Edition