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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


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Lodging Near Pikes Peak

See all 339 Properties near 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

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

, Cascade-Chipita Park
     
    4.7
    of 5, from 22 reviews
    0.0 out of 5.0

    Situated in Cascade, this romantic property 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 11 reviews
      0.0 out of 5.0

      Situated in Cascade, this vacation home is within 6 mi (10 km) of Manitou Springs Cave Dwellings, Cave of the Winds, and Miramont Castle. Manitou Springs Heritage Center and Iron Springs Chateau 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 28 reviews
        0.0 out of 5.0

        Situated in the mountains, this romantic property 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).

        Cliff House at Pikes Peak $88
        Cliff House at Pikes Peak

        Cliff House at Pikes Peak

        306 Canon Ave, Manitou Springs
           
          4.7
          of 5, from 1,543 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 $68
          Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins

          Rocky Mountain Lodge & Cabins

          4680 Hagerman Avenue, Cascade
             
            4.7
            of 5, from 13 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).

            Adobe Inn at Cascade $129
            Adobe Inn at Cascade

            Adobe Inn at Cascade

            4675 Hagerman Avenue, Cascade
               
              4.9
              of 5, from 50 reviews
              3.0 out of 5.0

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

              Deal! Luxury Guesthouse for 2 Near Pikes Peak/mountain Views and 5 Star Reviews
              Deal! Luxury Guesthouse for 2 Near Pikes Peak/mountain Views and 5 Star Reviews

              Deal! Luxury Guesthouse for 2 Near Pikes Peak/mountain Views and 5 Star Reviews

              , Cascade-Chipita Park
                 
                5.0
                of 5, from 1 reviews
                0.0 out of 5.0

                Situated in the mountains, this historic property 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).

                Views Includes Only Other Mountains & Forests, yet you are 20 min From Cities
                Views Includes Only Other Mountains & Forests, yet you are 20 min From Cities

                Views Includes Only Other Mountains & Forests, yet you are 20 min From Cities

                , Cascade-Chipita Park
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0

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