Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, in North America. The ultra-prominent fourteener is located in Pike National Forest, west by south (bearing 263°) of downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado. The mountain is named in honor of American explorer Zebulon Pike, who was unable to reach the summit. The summit is higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude.
I drove to the summit with my dog. It was such an awesome experience. The park rangers tell you to turn off your ac and put your car in the low gears (to help with your brakes), which was great because then you roll down your windows and get to experience it even more! The drive up is nice because there aren't too many side stops so it seems secluded, but also you don't feel confused of where to stop and where not to. I stopped at every opportunity, took my time up and down, and got done in about 4 hours. The first half of the drive is fine for the faint of heart but the second half gets a little scary for those of us afraid of heights. It's totally worth it though. I did get a terrible headache and lightheaded once I got close to the top, but nothing I couldn't bear. The top has beautiful views but is slightly anti-climatic because it's just a gravel parking lot, railway station, porta potties, and a sign. BUT the views are great and the trip up is amazing.
I'm not sure what was cooler, the drive up to Pikes Peak, or the views when you finally got there. It's a breathtaking drive with a ton of switchbacks, and when you get to the summit you feel like you're on top of the whole world (you can also ride the cog train up, which I hear is pretty rad too). Be sure and try the amazing donuts they make at the summit!
Two things to watch out for before you drive up: First, have a half tank of gas in your car--they ask you about this when you pay the entry fee, but there isn't a gas station in the area so make sure you're well-stocked in Colorado Springs before starting the drive. Second, they aren't kidding around when they tell you to put your car in low gear. I forgot to on my way down and was riding my brakes all the way until the mandatory brake check, at which point they told me that my brakes were riding dangerously hot and made me wait for about 20 minutes or so until they had cooled down.
We drove to the top and I was scared to death...found out me in a vehicle and heights isn't my thing. Take me outside, I'm fine with the heights - but driving I kept picturing a plummeting death. I even tried to look up statistics, but it would seem they don't publish things like this. Plenty of vids of the racers crashing, but nothing on the "average" drivers. It does happen because there are countless blog posts about "witnesses," but again that is up for debate. So -- if you are freaking a bit about it, just make sure you have a reliable driver. Luckily, my husband is a Marine, trained to drive a militarized vehicle, and practiced on the hills/mountains of California, but I was still a bit of a pain in the petunia. For example, every time we rounded a tight turn I made a weird noise that had his hands sweating.
It you get anything out of this rambling review - just have a confident driver. And know that they should always keep their eyes on the road, so make LOTS of stop - if just for the driver's sake. It took us close to 3 1/2 hours. We made most of the stops. We played in the snow. My husband broke out the guitar and played on the overlook at 12K feet. Drive it though - that cog train thing - for one it's overpriced and two - you don't stop and SEE things. The top of the mountain is NOTHING. It stunk, there is nothing but a gift shop, a bit of snow and lots of rock. It's kind of ugly. There isn't really a good view, because you are so high, so it's washed out - and BRIGHT. The views are lower...when you get to the top - it's more of a WOOOOO I DID IT! Walk around and let's go back down.
The RANGERS are awesome, they do break checks (we got a B+ BTW) and will have you "rest" if you are a bit hot after you get below the tree line.
I think I rambled enough. Do it - and don't Google Pike's Peak accidents.
*Construction going on currently* - they are building a new gift shop and restaurant at the top (with a scenic outlook), so we parked at Mile 13 and took a shuttle to the top. Let me tell you - I AM AFRAID OF HEIGHTS, had a panic attack about mile 17; but IT WAS WORTH IT. So beautiful. The roads are paved, but narrow from mile 13 - 19; also not a lot of guard rails. The drivers are excellent - they've done this for years! I wish I had cash to tip both of them, as they did great. My husband got to the top and immediately climbed all over the outlooks up there. The food at the top was basic cafeteria food, so do yourself a favor and pack your own goodies! If you actually drive it, go slow - most people understand you are there to "see" .. pull off and make a day of it. And follow the directions or you will mess up your car! Can't wait to visit again!
This is awesome I rated it 5 stars because it’s sooooooo beautiful
the Drive is awesome, the Views are awesome, the Tram ride was awesome.....just go here, If your as big as i am maybe take things a little slow, and its cold bring a jacket!!!
A MUST do experience! Great views, awesome road.
This was amazing. A little snow and ice but made it to the top. Be comfortable driving down hill in a low gear or your brakes will smell. Stop halfway down, visit the store and give your car a brake. Otherwise it was an amazing drive and the views were spectacular.
If you have an older car, don't do it. Automatic highly recommended. It would be worth renting a car if you have an older, manual car.
We are planning our trip for the summer, and the website states that the COG train is officially out of commission for the foreseeable future! Wish us luck as we were not prepared for the drive up the mountain! 😬
Worth EVERY white knuckling turn. I'm not one for heights. The view was as breathtaking as the air. Simply amazing!
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