- Type: Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: Half Day to Full Day
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Rising 8,000 feet above Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak -- aka "America's Mountain" -- has been beckoning to visitors since the 19th century. Gold brought the pioneers here, but it was the richness of the mountain's natural beauty that motivated them to stay. Views from this pink granite mountain were so stunning, they inspired Katharine Lee Bates to pen the words to the patriotic song, "America the Beautiful." The vistas continue to draw visitors from across the country; the famous Colorado Gold Rush slogan, "Pikes Peak or Bust," now applies to tourists in search of an adrenaline rush. Every year, thousands of hikers tackle the climb in search of spectacular photo ops.
No matter how you choose to get there, recent summiteers say you must visit. According to one TripAdvisor user: "Everyone must experience a view like this at least once in their lifetime. This is one for the bucket list." If you're not up for the climb, you can drive the Pikes Peak Highway to the summit. You can also enjoy an old fashioned, three-hour train ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which takes passengers from the mountain's base to the summit and back down again.
The entrance to the Pikes Peak Highway is located about 10 miles northwest of central Colorado Springs. The mountain is open to exploration throughout the year (weather permitting). The uphill trail opens at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. (note that the summit remains open until 7 p.m., and the downhill trail until 8 p.m.). Access to the trails costs $12 for adults and $5 for children, and drivers will have to pay an additional toll for access to the Pikes Peak Highway. The Pikes Peak Cog Railway costs $34 per adult. For more information, visit the City of Colorado Springs' website or the railway's official website.