Pikes Peak America’s Mountain: the inspiration for Katherine Lee Bate’s “America the Beautiful”… there are no fourteeners quite as breathtaking, or as accessible. You can drive a car-full via the 19 miles of the Pikes Peak Highway, stopping for a picnic and hike at Crystal Reservoir or a snack at Glen Cove, all the while scoping the roadside for wildlife and amazing vistas. But driving a fourteener isn’t for everyone and sometimes you want to sit back, enjoy the scenery and let someone else take the wheel.
For the last 125 years, a popular option for getting to the top without driving was The Broadmoor’s Pikes Peak Cog Railway. A charming and historical train ride where you could enjoy the views and vistas of Pikes Peak, without watching the road ahead. Unfortunately, in March this year, the Broadmoor announced it would not reopen the Cog for the 2018 season while it determines next steps and action plans for replacing infrastructure and equipment.
But don’t let the Cog closure keep you from enjoying Pikes Peak. There are other ways to get to the top, and they are just as fun!
- Take a jeep tour. Adventures Out West offers guided Jeep tours where you can enjoy the scenery of Pikes Peak from an open-air Jeep. Scheduled tours depart twice a day at 7:55 am and 8:25 am from 1335 Manitou Ave. and returns 3-3.5 hours later. Jeep tours include heated rear seats, wool lap blankets, water, snacks, all highway fees and views for a 100 mile. Reservations are recommended, call 719-578-9035. Manitou Springs Adventures, High Country Excursions have Pikes Peak Area Jeep tours leaving three times per day, call (303.204.4950 or 719.761.4100) or email for their tour details.
- Take a chartered bus or shuttle. Colorado Xplorer offers shuttle service to the top of Pikes Peak along the scenic Pikes Peak Highway. The tour includes guided transport on the X-Trekker Shuttle, Highway Toll, and bottled water. Send them a contact request for more information. Gray Line Tours of Colorado offers bus tours to the top of Pikes Peak at 9 am and 1:30 pm. Reservations are recommended. Call (719) 633-1181 or email them for moreinformation.
- For the outdoor adventurer, make Pikes Peak a weekend backpacking trip and hike to the top via Barr Trail (14 miles one way). You’ll want to stay at least one day at Barr Camp. The Barr Trail hike is a full backcountry adventure. You will need to carry or be prepared to filter your own water and carry enough food for your trek. Reservations are required.
No matter the route, don’t miss the world’s highest donut shop, where, since 1916, they’ve been churning out hundreds of donuts daily, and of course, don’t forget to enjoy the miles and miles of views.