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Pikes Peak

The second-most visited mountain in the world is an easy day trip from Colorado’s capital. 

Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain is a 14,000-foot (4,300-meter) high mountain famed for its incredible vistas, high-altitude railroad and opportunities for adventure. It was named after explorer Zebulon Pike, who led an expedition to the area in 1806. Visit the summit of Pikes Peak at any time of the year to gaze across the spectacular Rocky Mountains. The view from here was the inspiration for Katherine Lee Bates' famed poem, America the Beautiful.

Jump on board the famous Pikes Peak Cog Railway for a 190-minute round-trip ride on the world’s highest cog railroad. The train travels beside Ruxton Creek in the Englemann Canyon, past Minnehaha Falls and on through “Hell's Gate,” a natural opening through the mountains. The final half of the trip is a steep climb up Pikes Peak and a traverse above the timberline, with views across valleys, lakes and mountain ranges. You are invited to temporarily disembark at this point but stop-offs are capped at 40 minutes to limit the effects of altitude sickness. Any headaches or feelings of nausea tend to subside on the journey back down the mountain. 

If you have an adventurous spirit, climb to the summit on foot via the spectacular Barr Trail, but be warned: it’s not an easy hike. The 12-plus miles (19 kilometers) of gravel trail ascends more than 7,800 feet (2,400 meters). You will wind your way through forests, across meadows, over creeks and up rocky ascents. It can take anywhere between six and 10 hours. Hikers are advised to never attempt the climb alone or during bad weather.

While Pikes Peak is open all year round, it is best to visit in spring and summer. In winter, sections of the railroad can be blocked by snow and the weather drops below 10 F (-12 C) at the summit. There is a small restaurant at the top, but it can get busy so pack a lunch if you don’t want to wait in line. It’s also wise to book tickets for the cog railway online in advance. 

Pikes Peak is about 70 miles (113 kilometers) south of Denver. The area around the mountain is popular with outdoor adventurers, particularly for hiking and white-water rafting. If you have a car, you can drive to the Pikes Peak summit via the toll road. The 38-mile (61-kilometer) round-trip ride takes about two hours. Parking at the top is limited.

Popular Activities at Pikes Peak

It's worth giving yourself heaps of time at Pikes Peak. Here are some of the best things to do:

Want to experience this famed attraction in an unforgettable way? Then you can't miss a Pikes Peak & the Air Force Academy.

Have a look at our Colorado Springs things to do page to discover many more activities while you're here.


Guide to Exploring around Pikes Peak


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Lodging Near Pikes Peak

See all 481 Properties near Pikes Peak
Great Views From the Jacuzzi!!
Great Views From the Jacuzzi!!

Great Views From the Jacuzzi!!

Divide, CO
     
    4.7
    of 5, from 69 reviews
    0.0 out of 5.0

    Situated on a river, this historic property is within 9 mi (15 km) of Mueller State Park, Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine, and Wildwood Casino. Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad and Old Homestead House Museum are also within 9 mi (15 km).

    2BR Mountain Cabin With Complimentary Breakfast Basket
    2BR Mountain Cabin With Complimentary Breakfast Basket

    2BR Mountain Cabin With Complimentary Breakfast Basket

    Cascade, CO
       
      0.0 out of 5.0

      Situated in Cascade, this historic cabin is within 6 mi (10 km) of Arcade Amusements, Cave of the Winds, and Ruxton's Trading Post. Miramont Castle and Manitou Springs Cave Dwellings are also within 6 mi (10 km).

      The Cascade Room is a Cozy Creekside Accommodation at the Base of Pikes Peak
      The Cascade Room is a Cozy Creekside Accommodation at the Base of Pikes Peak

      The Cascade Room is a Cozy Creekside Accommodation at the Base of Pikes Peak

      Cascade-Chipita Park, CO
         
        4.7
        of 5, from 24 reviews
        0.0 out of 5.0

        Situated in Cascade, this romantic property is within 6 mi (10 km) of Arcade Amusements, Cave of the Winds, and Ruxton's Trading Post. Miramont Castle and Manitou Springs Cave Dwellings are also within 6 mi (10 km).

        Cliff House at Pikes Peak $112
        Cliff House at Pikes Peak

        Cliff House at Pikes Peak

        306 Canon Ave, Manitou Springs, CO
           
          4.7
          of 5, from 1,641 reviews
          4.0 out of 5.0

          Situated in the historical district, this historic hotel is 0.2 mi (0.4 km) from Arcade Amusements and within 3 mi (5 km) of Garden of the Gods and Cave of the Winds. Red Rock Canyon is 2.7 mi (4.3 km) away.

          Enjoy This Home High Above the City on Pikes Peak Mountain Cascade Colorado
          Enjoy This Home High Above the City on Pikes Peak Mountain Cascade Colorado

          Enjoy This Home High Above the City on Pikes Peak Mountain Cascade Colorado

          Cascade-Chipita Park, CO
             
            4.9
            of 5, from 12 reviews
            0.0 out of 5.0

            Situated in Cascade, this vacation home is within 6 mi (10 km) of Arcade Amusements, Cave of the Winds, and Ruxton's Trading Post. Miramont Castle and Manitou Springs Cave Dwellings are also within 6 mi (10 km).

            Caboose Suite Sleeps 2-3
            Caboose Suite Sleeps 2-3

            Caboose Suite Sleeps 2-3

            Cascade-Chipita Park, CO
               
              4.8
              of 5, from 37 reviews
              0.0 out of 5.0

              Situated in Cascade, this romantic property is within 6 mi (10 km) of Arcade Amusements, Cave of the Winds, and Ruxton's Trading Post. Miramont Castle and Manitou Springs Cave Dwellings are also within 6 mi (10 km).

              Cottage Rental in the Mountains at Pikes Peak Near Colorado Springs & Manitou
              Cottage Rental in the Mountains at Pikes Peak Near Colorado Springs & Manitou

              Cottage Rental in the Mountains at Pikes Peak Near Colorado Springs & Manitou

              Cascade-Chipita Park, CO
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0
                Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins $114
                Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins

                Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins

                4680 Hagerman Avenue, Cascade, CO
                   
                  4.6
                  of 5, from 16 reviews
                  3.5 out of 5.0

                  Situated in Cascade, this bed & breakfast is in the same area as Cave of the Winds, Garden of the Gods, and Pikes Peak. Area attractions also include Red Rock Canyon and Manitou Incline.