Pikes Peak in Colorado is a majestic 19 mile highway, where you join the birds in the clouds as you approach the top. This mountain reaches a impressive 14,110 feet of elevation as you reach the summit. The drive up the mountain is absolutely breathtaking figuratively and literally with that elevation. I can say with confidence this is a must see if you are in the Colorado Springs area.
Here are a few things we learned along the way to help make your trip unforgettable and I promise Hensley had more fun than her face shows in the picture above.
1. Know there are a few ways to travel to the summit of pikes peak. You can drive your personal vehicle which is the option we chose, you can take take the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, or for the adventurous types you can hike or bike the mountain.
These are all great options and offer a variety of different aspects of seeing the mountain. The railway offers some amazing views. It is almost like a backstage pass up the mountain, but there are a few things to consider:
- The railway is a more expensive cost at $38/person compared to the $12/person ($40/per car up to 5 people) if you drive
- If you drive, you are at your own pace and able to stop and explore as much as you want. If you take the railway there are no stops along the way and once you reach the top you have about 45 minutes before it departs again. The problem with that is restroom and food lines are pretty long and that does not leave much time to check out the amazing views. Just something to consider when planning your trip after talking to some railway riders on the mountain.
- Reservations are strongly encouraged for the railway. Check out the Pikes Peak website for rates and coupon on driving admission.
2. Go early if all possible to avoid crowds. That is something we notice almost everywhere we go when we travel, but it doesn’t always work out. Lets face it, we travel with a 2 year old so we are lucky to get anywhere.
3. Check the weather, because it can effect the views. Upon reading some reviews, visitors stated a lot of what can be seen is based on the weather because of clarity.
4. Remember to bring warm clothes for the top. Temperatures are low year round. We went in July and although sunny, we still needed a jacket.
5. Be prepared to spend the day and take your time. The drive up with one stop took us about an hour. On the way down, we made a few different exploration stops which I would highly suggest, and it took about 2 hours. You will also want to spend some time at the top to admire the amazing views. There are some breathtaking views and places to spend some time at, so allot plenty of time to do so.
6. Pack a lunch and enjoy the views. There are tons of beautiful picnic areas and you don’t waste your time sitting in a hot and crowded souvenir shop trying to grab food. It is a little pricey and concession-stand-type grub. We were so sad we underestimated the time this trip would take and did not pack a lunch and I highly regret it. Also, from our experience once we ate it really helped us not feel so bad from the elevation, so I would recommend if the timing works in your favor to picnic on the way up.
7. Pikes Peak is known for its famous donuts and we love a good donut. To be honest, it was fun to try them, but not my favorite donut of all time. If I had to describe them, I would compare the taste to the white powdered sugar donuts you buy in a pack, but fried and without the powdered sugar. Just my opinion, but try one just to say you did if you are curious.
8. Make sure to bring lots of water and snacks for elevation sickness. Start drinking water in advance of your trip up the mountain. If you are visiting Colorado and you are not use to the increased elevation, I would recommend taking a couple days at least to adjust before taking the drive up to even higher elevations.
9. Type in address from website. I am not sure if this is a common problem or if we are just that terrible with directions, which could be more true, but go to the website for GPS directions. We just typed in Pikes Peak in google maps and lets just say that was not what google was looking for. This tip is just in case someone out there is as terrible at navigating as me.
There you have it! Some tips on making your trip to Pikes Peak even more amazing than it already is. We had an AMAZING time and made memories that will last a lifetime. I wish the same for you and your family! Happy Travels!
If you haven’t had a chance, check out our video on Pike’s Peak!