At 14,115 feet Pike’s Peak is just one of Colorado’s more than 50 'fourteeners' or mountains that are more than 14,000 feet (4,267.2 meters) above sea level. Most of them however are deep in the mountains and require some hiking to get to. Even more so if you want to get anywhere close to the top.
Pike’s Peak however is the exception. Not only is Pike’s peak conveniently located just outside Colorado Springs, you can actually drive all the way to the summit. That's right DRIVE to the top. Hiking all day up the side of a mountain is great if you’re 22 and built like an action figure. But what about the rest of us?! What about the families with small kids? What if you’re simply in a time crunch and don’t want to sacrifice your time when you only have one or two days for vacation?
The list of reasons why you won’t want to miss out on Pike’s Peak is just about as long as the mountain is high. So let’s focus on just the main one, time. If you’re looking for a day trip or even a half day trip, Pike’s Peak is for you.
If you are staying for more than a day or you would rather get out and do some hiking be sure to check out The Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Getting to Pike’s Peak
Pike’s Peak is located just outside Colorado Springs. If flying Colorado Springs has its own local airport. If you can't find a flight to Colorado Springs, Denver International Airport is only about an hour and fifteen minute drive away.
**All of these prices and times were accurate when this article was written. Please confirm before you go by visiting the Pike’s Peak website.
Tips for Driving Pike’s Peak
The drive takes a little more than one hour to get to the top and approximately a half hour to drive back down. You will also want to make sure that you have plenty of gas before you head out. It is only 39 miles round trip but you will use more than ½ a tank of gas. Never pass other vehicles, especially on the turns. Only stop at designated stopping areas to take pictures on your way up or down. The gate attendant will review all other important driving instructions with you before you begin your trip.
Make sure you dress in layers. It might be sunny and warm down at the front gate, but trust me it will be cold at the summit. It doesn’t matter what time of year you are visiting. Also remember to wear sunscreen as well as a hat with a brim.
Take your time when you get out to take pictures, especially if you find yourself out of breath. At the summit you will be standing at an elevation that is more than double what it was down in Colorado Springs, which is already over 6,000 feet (1,828.8 meters) above sea level!
Pike’s Peak Cog Railway
Not interested in driving to the summit? That’s okay! You can take advantage of the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway. This conveniently located train will take you straight to the top while you relax and enjoy the view!
Cog Railway Hours and Fees
The tickets for the train fill up in advance so we recommend you reserve tickets at least 3-5 days ahead of time.
Once you reach the top you will find plenty of parking, a gift shop and some pretty delicious donuts. The bakers won't disclose their secret but supposedly the donuts are made using a special technique since the altitude causes issues when using traditional methods.
Pike's Peak is a great way for anyone to experience the beauty of the Rocky Mountains! The gate fees may seem a bit high at first glance, but trust me when I say that it is well worth it. You really can't beat the opportunity to drive to the top of a fourteener! Remember, drive save, take it slow, bring a sweater and take tons of pictures!
Have you driven to the top of a fourteener before? Leave a comment below and let us know which one!