Pikes Peak In Colorado Springs.
An Ideal Day Trip From Denver.
While you may not be looking for gold like the miners of the 1850’s, a trip to Pikes Peak is sure to be rich with excitement and outdoor adventure thrills providing fun for the whole family. Located a short 70 miles south of Denver and 6 miles from scenic Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak is the most visited mountain in North America. Within relatively short distance from downtown Denver, Pikes Peak is the perfect day trip for locals and visitors alike. The summit sits at 14,110 feet above sea level and for the gold rushers coming from the east, it was the first great peak they saw as they made their way west seeking great fortunes in gold.
Today’s visitors can expect to find stunning vistas, crystal clear lakes for fishing and canoeing, miles of rustic trails for hiking and mountain biking, and expansive meadows with well maintained picnic areas for enjoying one of the most beautiful natural settings in the world. Fully accessible via the year-round Pikes Peak Highway (weather permitting) this outdoor wonderland has something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
North Slope Recreation Area.
Located at the base of the peak, the North Slope Recreation Area is home to three separate reservoirs and over 2,200 acres of forest lands. The Crystal Creek Reservoir offers developed picnic sites, lake trails for hiking, a water surface area of 136 acres and over 3 miles of shoreline for enjoying the cool, mountain breezes skimming over the water.
The North Catamount Reservoir is slightly larger with 210 acres of surface water and 6 ½ miles of shoreline. Mountain biking and hiking is enjoyed from several designated trails and like Crystal Creek, offers several designated and maintained picnic areas. Note to those who enjoy fishing, North Catamount Reservoir allows only artificial flies and lures. Not to worry however, the trout love them and most people have no trouble reaching their bag limit of four.
The South Catamount Reservoir is the smallest of the reservoirs at 120 surface acres and just 35 parking spaces. This intimate yet comfortable area provides hiking and mountain bike trails, developed picnic sites and almost four miles of shoreline for bank fishing and relaxing.
Half a million people make the trek to Summit House each year, rewarded with panoramic views of some of the tallest peaks in the United States. Visitors can drive the Pikes Peak Highway, traverse the non-technical, yet relatively steep Barr Trail on foot, or take the Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway from the base to the summit. Once at the top, enjoy a delicious lunch in the restaurant and shop for souvenirs in the quaint gift shop before you head back down the mountain. The summit area is handicap accessible and pets are welcome (bring your leashes.)
The trip to the summit is about two hours round trip by car and the climb will consume approximately ½ tank of fuel so be prepared. Drivers are encouraged to use lower gears, especially during the trip down, to conserve both fuel and avoid overheating the brakes. Because of the altitude, those with chronic or severe medical conditions should consult their doctor before making the trip. Also, infants under three months should not make the ascent. The Pikes Peak Highway toll is $10 per adult and $5 per child. There is a maximum toll per car of $35 so load up the mini-van or SUV and enjoy your day!
If making the ascent on foot, hikers using the 13-mile Barr Trail should expect steep elevation changes and varying weather conditions. Snow is possible as late as June above the timberline. For a less strenuous climb, hikers can take the Pikes Peak Cog Railway from the base to Barr Camp, and make the ascent from there.
Visitors looking for the most scenic climb should consider the Railway. In operation for over 100 years, this timeless tribute to days gone by takes visitors through magnificent mountain passes up grades as steep as 25% through the unique use of a gear, called a cog wheel, to roll down the track. Traditional railroads use friction against the rails, limiting their ability to climb. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is the highest railway of its kind in the world. During the peak summer months rates for adults are $32 round trip. Group rates are also available. Box lunches can be purchased at the Manitou Springs Depot, making the climb even more enjoyable. For information on the cog railway, call 719-685-6401. For those visiting the Denver area without transportation, full service packages are available from Grayline Tours. Contact 800-348-6877 for more information.
Getting To Pikes Peak.
Head south out of Denver on Interstate 25 to Exit 141 (Hwy 24) and head west toward the mountains. Take the Pikes Peak Toll Road and follow the signs. For the Cog Railway, drive four miles down Highway 24 to the Manitou Avenue exit and go west 1 ½ miles to Ruxton Avenue. The Railway is located at 515 Ruston Avenue, Manitou Springs.
Visitor Information & Articles.
Pikes Peak Attractions
Pikes Peak COG Railway
Pikes Peak - America's Mountain
Pikes Peak - Dream Colorado Springs
Pikes Peak - Wikipedia
Read about more Denver Day Trips.
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