“Get Pikes Peak tickets and take a trip to the summit”
The Pikes Peak Highway provides you the opportunity to enjoy 19 miles of mountain terrain, with frequent pull-offs for you to get out, stretch your legs, and take photos. You’ll be treated to breathtaking views, four different Colorado life zones and unique animal sightings, like the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, yellow-bellied marmots and (rumored) Big Foo
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.
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.
It was a bit costly at $15 per passenger (not per car) but overall worth it for the view and the experience. We drove up and parked at mile 16 and got a free shuttle to the top. The shuttle was great as I got to experience the view instead of concentrating on driving. And the driver was super friendly and told us some cool facts about the area. We spent some time at the top taking in the amazing views. We also tried the “world famous” doughnuts at the top. The donuts themselves were meh but we enjoyed the experience. Funny enough, the donut shop was one of the only places I bought a souvenir on my whole trip as it came as a package of 2 donuts a drink (hot chocolate) and a mug. The way down we went on a short trail to an overlook near the parking lot and got some more good pictures. The way down was just as fun a drive if not better than the way up. So worth $30? Sure, especially for what will probably be a once in a lifetime experience for us.
*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!
Loved this park! Every staff or Ranger we encountered were friendly. Summit is currently under construction so only limited cars can go to very top. Free shuttles take you from Devil’s Playground to the summit. Bus drivers told great stories and really made the trip interesting. Views were amazing throughout the drive and at summit. Gift shop, cafe, and bathrooms on the summit. Gift shop at summit was not surprisingly pretty pricey. Our whole family enjoyed this stop, would highly recommend! Go early or late in day to avoid traffic.
We had a great time. Try some of the doughnuts on top they were good.
We came here in September of 2021, about 17 years from when I lived in the Springs. Back then, I had gone to the summit via the cog railway in Manitou Springs, which was amazing. Always wanted to make the drive though and finally got the chance. Wow! The lower half of the drive is amazing in itself, but the north half past the brake check station……holy cow! Better focus on the road as a driver because there is literally nothing between you and nothingness on some of those switchbacks. Where there are pull offs, take advantage of them. There are views for days! The summit itself has been completely renovated and remodeled. Amazing new building with a gift shop and cafe.
It’s something you have to do but OMG! Terrifying! Apparently altitude can make you have to pee a lot so good thing there are bathrooms along the way. It’s a lovely drive until about mile 13 and then it gets real. Gift shops along the way-“worlds famous donuts” are worlds worst donuts and over priced but eating helped calm our nerves and relieve our shaky muscles. Check weather before you go-have to reserve a time slot online first too! Take water and you have to have at least a tank of gas before you start. Have fun!
If you get the chance to go to the top of Pikes Peak DO IT!! We took the Cog Railway up to the top instead of driving to the top. It was an amazing trip and ride to the top of the mountain. You definitely feel like you are on the top of the world.
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