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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 lots of time at Pikes Peak. Here are some of the top things to do:

Dying to know what else there is to do at this celebrated attraction? We suggest purchasing a Pikes Peak & the Air Force Academy.

If you're looking for more activities, check out our Colorado Springs things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Pikes Peak


Trip Type
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Map

Lodging Near Pikes Peak

See all 305 Properties near Pikes Peak
Secluded and Cozy! Breath Taking Views!
Secluded and Cozy! Breath Taking Views!

Secluded and Cozy! Breath Taking Views!

, Cascade
     
    0.0 out of 5.0

    Situated in Cascade, this cabin is in the same area as Cave of the Winds, Manitou Springs Cave Dwellings, and Pikes Peak. Area attractions also include Garden of the Gods and Manitou Incline.

    Cozy Mountain Duplex Close to Manitoue Springs-woodland Park-santa`s Workshop $175
    Cozy Mountain Duplex Close to Manitoue Springs-woodland Park-santa`s Workshop

    Cozy Mountain Duplex Close to Manitoue Springs-woodland Park-santa`s Workshop

    , Cascade-Chipita Park
       
      0.0 out of 5.0

      Situated in Cascade, this vacation home is in the same area as Cave of the Winds, Manitou Springs Cave Dwellings, and Pikes Peak. Area attractions also include Garden of the Gods and Manitou Incline.

      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
         
        4.6
        of 5, from 17 reviews
        0.0 out of 5.0

        Situated in Cascade, this romantic guesthouse is within 6 mi (10 km) of Manitou Springs Cave Dwellings, Cave of the Winds, and Miramont Castle. Manitou Springs Heritage Center and Arcade Amusements are also within 6 mi (10 km).

        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
           
          4.9
          of 5, from 8 reviews
          0.0 out of 5.0

          Situated in Cascade, this vacation home is within 6 mi (10 km) of Arcade Amusements, Manitou Springs Cave Dwellings, and Cave of the Winds. Ruxton's Trading Post and Miramont Castle 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
             
            4.9
            of 5, from 22 reviews
            0.0 out of 5.0

            Situated in the mountains, this guesthouse is within 6 mi (10 km) of Manitou Springs Cave Dwellings, Cave of the Winds, and Miramont Castle. Manitou Springs Heritage Center and Arcade Amusements are also within 6 mi (10 km).

            Adobe Inn at Cascade $149
            Adobe Inn at Cascade

            Adobe Inn at Cascade

            4675 Hagerman Avenue, Cascade
               
              4.9
              of 5, from 48 reviews
              3.0 out of 5.0

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

              Cliff House at Pikes Peak $161
              Cliff House at Pikes Peak

              Cliff House at Pikes Peak

              306 Canon Ave, Manitou Springs
                 
                4.7
                of 5, from 1,497 reviews
                4.0 out of 5.0

                Situated in the historical district, this historic hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Arcade Amusements and Manitou Springs Cave Dwellings. Garden of the Gods and Cave of the Winds are also within 3 mi (5 km).

                Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins
                Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins

                Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins

                4680 Hagerman Avenue, Cascade
                   
                  4.7
                  of 5, from 12 reviews
                  3.5 out of 5.0

                  Situated in Cascade, this bed & breakfast is within 6 mi (10 km) of Manitou Springs Cave Dwellings, Cave of the Winds, and Miramont Castle. Manitou Springs Heritage Center and Arcade Amusements are also within 6 mi (10 km).