Pikes Peak, located in Pike National Forest and just 12 miles west of downtown Colorado Springs, is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. With an elevation of 14,115 feet, Pike's Peak is one of Colorado's famous "fourteeners." The mountain is named in honor of American explorer Zebulon Pike who, ironically, never made it to the summit!
Unlike Zebulon, we DID reach the summit on our September 2019 trip to Colorado Springs!
|Cog rails on the top of Pike's Peak|
|Dedication to Zebulon Pike at the top of the summit|
Before driving up the mountain we checked into riding the Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway, the world's highest cog railroad operated from Manitou Springs to the summit. Unfortunately, the railway is going through renovations and temporarily closed. This would be the first of three areas on the mountain that we found under construction.
|One of many switch backs along the road to the summit|
|Last of the tree line as we neared the summit. A little snow/ice still left on the side of the mountain.|
|Can you find the rock climbers?|
When we stopped at the gates to pay our entrance fee we were told that we could not drive all the way to the top because of the construction and that we would have to park at one of the stopping points and take a shuttle to reach the summit. When we explained that we Remi with us, and didn't want to leave a young pup in a hot vehicle alone we were given a pass to drive to the top!
There are several visitor centers on Pike's Peak which have gift shops and/or restaurants. We stopped at the visitor center at Crystal Reservoir and visited the gift shop. This looked a lot different than when we were there in 2018 as there is construction on the dam of the reservoir and most of the water had been drained. After a quick break we headed on to the summit itself.
|Someone volunteered to take our picture. I'm glad we didn't break the camera!|
|The summit house REALLY needs an update. Glad it is under construction!|
|We found the big fellow at the summit house!|
At the top of the summit we found more construction as a new summit house is being built. We were still able to take in the views and to visit the gift shop where we indulged in one of Summit House's special doughnuts which they fry up to 700 per hour. We bought 3 doughnuts - 2 to try on the summit and 1 to see what would happen if we transported it to lower altitudes. Supposedly, the doughnuts collapse or go mush when taken off the mountains but we didn't notice a change.
|Pike Peak's famous doughnuts|
Even though the view from the top was spectacular.....the air was thin and altitude sickness was creeping in. It was time to get to lower altitudes!