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Pikes Peak picture in Colorado Springs
Reaching Pikes Peak picture in Colorado Springs
Pikes Peak picture in Colorado Springs
Pikes Peak picture in Colorado Springs
Reaching Pikes Peak picture in Colorado Springs
Pikes Peak picture in Colorado Springs

Price & Hours

  • Prices vary by tour
  • Hours vary, see website for details

Details

  • Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.6
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

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. The 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." Today, the famous Colorado Gold Rush slogan, "Pikes Peak or Bust," now applies to tourists: Every year, thousands of hikers tackle the climb in search of spectacular photo ops and adrenaline junkies get their fair share of thrills along the winding 19-mile Pikes Peak Highway.

No matter how you choose to reach the summit, travelers say that you would be remiss to miss a visit to Pikes Peak. But a word to the wise: You may want to skip the drive if you're afraid of heights, as recent visitors described the trek as a bit scary – though almost all are in agreement that the trip is worth it for the panoramic views. Even if you're not afraid of heights, you should drive carefully as weather conditions may make the road hazardous and the climbing altitude can make drivers feel dizzy or lightheaded. Fuel up before you start your journey – there are no gas stations along the scenic highway. You'll also want to set aside at least two to three hours to make the drive. Note: If you're visiting during peak hours (8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.), you'll be required to take a complimentary shuttle up to the summit. Shuttles provide round-trip transportation to three parking lots. Even if you're not required to take the shuttle, many visitors suggest using it to fully enjoy the views. Because of the altitude changes, you'll want to pack layers for your journey.

The entrance to the Pikes Peak Highway is located about 10 miles northwest of central Colorado Springs in Cascade, Colorado. The mountain is open to exploration throughout the year (weather permitting). From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the uphill gate 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 gate until 8 p.m.). These hours are more limited between Labor Day to Memorial Day, so plan ahead before you go. Depending on the season, access to Pikes Peak costs between $10 and $15 for adults and $5 for children. If you're driving, you can pay a flat $35 to $50 carload entry fee (which varies by season), which will cover admission for up to five people. For more information, visit the Pike Peak Country Attractions website.

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#1 Garden of the Gods It's easy to see how this natural landmark earned such an ethereal title: These magnificent red rock formations look as though deities themselves could've carved them. However, the ... Read more » Courtesy of Colorado Springs CVB

#2 Pikes Peak 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 ... Read more » Courtesy of the Colorado Springs CVB

#3 Manitou Springs Let's get one thing straight: Manitou Springs is not a part of Colorado Springs, and residents here won't hesitate to remind you of that. Unlike its much larger ... Read more » VisitCOS

#4 United States Olympic Training Center This facility in Colorado Springs is the flagship training center of the U.S. Olympic team and the active headquarters of the U.S. Olympic Committee. The 35-acre complex houses ... Read more » Courtesy of the Colorado Springs CVB

#5 North Cheyenne Canon Park If you're visiting Colorado Springs during the summer, consider spending a day at North Cheyenne Cañon Park, located about 6 miles southwest of town. This park comprises more than ... Read more » Hundley_Photography / Getty Images

#6 United States Air Force Academy If you feel a need for speed, then plan a visit to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Not only is the academy a must for any lover of the ... Read more » Beverly & Pack / Flickr

#7 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Animal lovers say that the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a must if you're visiting Colorado Springs with kids. Located south of the city on the side of Cheyenne Mountain ... Read more » VisitCOS

#8 Old Colorado City Sitting just west of the downtown area is Old Colorado City, the original capital of the Colorado Territory. Founded back in 1859, this area was once a hotbed of activity ... Read more » VisitCOS

#9 Red Rock Canyon Arizona and Utah aren't the only states that boast rust-colored rocks – Colorado has them, too. And you don't have to stray too far from Colorado Springs to get ... Read more » mark byzewski / Flickr

#10 Mueller State Park When you don't feel like driving nearly three hours to Rocky Mountain National Park, Mueller State Park offers a convenient alternative. Located about 30 miles west of Colorado Springs ... Read more » Courtesy of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources

#11 Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum After you've toured the historic streets of Old Colorado City, consider making a stop at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. Housed in what was once the early 20th-century El ... Read more » sfgamchick / Flickr

#12 Western Museum of Mining & Industry To get a taste for the city's rich history as a Colorado Gold Rush mining town, stop at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry. Here, you'll learn ... Read more » VisitCOS

# Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site Read more » Scott Book / Flickr

# National Museum of World War II Aviation Read more » inabeanpod / Flickr

# Colorado Wolf Adventures Read more » Adria Photography / Getty Images

Garden of the Gods picture in Colorado Springs
Pikes Peak picture in Colorado Springs
Manitou Springs picture in Colorado Springs
Statues at the U.S. Olympic Training Center picture in Colorado Springs
Helen Hunt Falls picture in Colorado Springs
Air Force Academy picture in Colorado Springs
Giraffe at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo picture in Colorado Springs
Entering Old Colorado City picture in Colorado Springs
View From Red Rock Canyon picture in Colorado Springs
Mueller State Park picture in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum picture in Colorado Springs
Western Museum of Mining and Industry picture in Colorado Springs
Rock Ledge picture in Colorado Springs
National Museum of World War II Aviation picture in Colorado Springs
Colorado Wolf Adventure picture in Colorado Springs
Garden of the Gods picture in Colorado Springs
Pikes Peak picture in Colorado Springs
Manitou Springs picture in Colorado Springs
Statues at the U.S. Olympic Training Center picture in Colorado Springs
Helen Hunt Falls picture in Colorado Springs
Air Force Academy picture in Colorado Springs
Giraffe at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo picture in Colorado Springs
Entering Old Colorado City picture in Colorado Springs
View From Red Rock Canyon picture in Colorado Springs
Mueller State Park picture in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum picture in Colorado Springs
Western Museum of Mining and Industry picture in Colorado Springs
Rock Ledge picture in Colorado Springs
National Museum of World War II Aviation picture in Colorado Springs
Colorado Wolf Adventure picture in Colorado Springs

The Garden of the Gods earned its name from these out-of-this-world sandstone pillars. Courtesy of Colorado Springs CVB

The Colorado Gold Rush slogan, "Pikes Peak or Bust," now applies to the many adventurous travelers who crest the mountain's summit every year. Courtesy of the Colorado Springs CVB

Many visitors stop in Manitou Springs on their way to or from Pikes Peak. VisitCOS

Courtesy of the Colorado Springs CVB

You'll find this beautiful waterfall in North Cheyenne Cañon Park. Hundley_Photography / Getty Images

Fans of the movie "Top Gun" shouldn't miss the chance to see the dogs in action at the United States Air Force Academy. Beverly & Pack / Flickr

VisitCOS

Old Colorado City attracts visitors with its old-timey charm, shops and galleries.  VisitCOS

Red Rock Canyon's colorful cliffs – formed by millions of years of erosion – provide an intriguing backdrop for a hike. mark byzewski / Flickr

Located about 30 miles west of Colorado Springs, Mueller State Park offers hikers 55 miles of trails. Courtesy of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources

Formerly the El Paso County Court House, this beautiful building is now home to the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. sfgamchick / Flickr

VisitCOS

Scott Book / Flickr

inabeanpod / Flickr

Adria Photography / Getty Images

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