Sunday, September 19, 2021

What's New On Pikes Peak!


At the beginning of September, a former colleague of my husband was visiting Colorado Springs with her husband for a convention.  We live about an hour away in the Denver area, but we offered to drive them up to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs on a day they were free, and after they acclimated to the elevation of Colorado Springs. We heard that many new features were being built on the top of the 14,115 foot (94302.32 m) mountain which would be interesting to see in progress.  Pikes Peak also called "America's Mountain" is one of the most visited mountains in the world and a top tourist attraction for the State of Colorado. Annually, nearly 1 million people reach the summit via the Pikes Peak Highway, The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, or, for the more adventurous, the Barr or Crags hiking trails. Pikes Peak is an American icon, and the summit is a National Historic Landmark that holds a special place in America's heart.

We have made many drives up to the summit of Pikes Peak, and in this post, you can see a more detailed ride up and down the mountain. In this postyou can learn about the town of Manitou Springs which lies at the base of Pikes Peak, and within this post, you can see a trip we took on the Cog Railroad up to the summit of Pikes Peak with my younger brother who was visiting one year. 


Although the sky was uncharacteristically hazy, due to western wildfire smoke in the atmosphere, the view on the drive up was still breathtaking.



As you can see in the photo above there are many switchbacks in the road up the mountain.



 

There are also some places along the drive where you feel as if you are going to drive right off into the clouds!



For the faint of heart, The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railroad does the driving for you and is fully narrated with interesting historical facts. The Cog Railroad has been functioning since 1891, but in the last few years, it has been completely overhauled by its owner, The Broadmoor Hotel and Spa, with new trains, new tracks, a new depot, and a new Pikes Peak Visitor Center to become one of the most unique experiences in the world. 



There was still snow on the ground from a light snowfall that occurred a few days before and the views from the summit, although hazy in the distance, went on for many miles.


There were still many construction vehicles and work in progress at the summit.  It is amazing to think of how those large construction machines and supplies drove up to the mountain top and have worked, weather permitting, constructing new view platforms, a new parking lot, new walkways, and a new Visitor Center Complex! As you can see in the collage above most of the mountain top at one time was a boulder field. The older Visitor Center built in the '60s was being knocked down.


The new Visitor Center is open although finishing touches were still being made inside and around it.


The new Pikes Peak Summit Complex, which includes the Visitor Center, a Utilities facility, and a High-Altitude Research Laboratory. has large windows to see the views, a gift shop, restrooms, an interactive display room, and a cafeteria. My husband and friend sampled the legendary high-altitude donuts.




We also watched another cog railway approach the summit from the back porch of the Visitor Center.



A wall of the original 1873 Summit House has been preserved.  Click on the photo to enlarge it to read the informational placard about it in the collage above. 



There were many other interesting informational placards on the new railings--click twice on the photo collage above to enlarge them to read them.


There is also a new modern Summit Sign! It has the new exact measurement of 14,115 feet on it.  We all posed for photos by it. The original 1907 US Geological Survey medallion can be seen on the ground in front of the sign.  


The drive down the mountain was also exciting. We stopped for a while at an area called the Devil's Playground where I took a photo of our friends taking a selfie. 

The Devil's Playground Trail (also known as the Crags Trail) traverses approximately 7 miles and 4,300 feet starting from a trailhead located near the Crags Campground (Woodland Park, CO) and terminating at the summit of Pikes Peak, elevation 14,115 feet. The trail is located entirely on the USFS Pike National Forest.


We continued on until we had the mandatory stop for a brake check at the Glen Cove station on our descent.  Even though my husband followed all the Pikes Peak suggested driving rules our brakes measured hot and we were told to pull over to cool them for a half-hour. It was the first time that happened in all our drives but this was also the lightest traffic we encountered in all our trips up and down the mountain so we may have been going a little faster than usual.  We were able to buy coffee and peruse the gift shop during our stop so all was well.  

We had a wonderful time on the mountain and afterward our guests treated us to a delicious lunch. It was so nice to spend the day with our friends and we know they enjoyed the rest of the time they spent in Colorado. Meanwhile, my husband and I are excited to plan to return next summer to Pikes Peak to see the completion of all the improvements and to enjoy the views again!

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31 comments:

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

The area you live in is awe inspiring!

Jeanie said...

I would have been a nervous wreck driving on those roads but the payoff is a fascinating visit and fabulous views. I can see why you wanted to take your friends there. I know it had to be a memorable day for all of you -- and what is better than time with friends doing something fun and exciting! What a terrific day!

Denise/My Home of All Seasons said...

I loved this post. I'm in Parker, Colorado and it has been years since I've been up there! It seems the older I get, my fear of heights becomes harder to master. Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing!

ellen b. said...

Yikes! I would not want to be the passenger on some of those curves! How nice to enjoy this trip with colleagues! Amazing scenery.

Tom said...

...things have changed a bit since I was there in 1960.

Janice said...

That drive would test my anxiety meds! Thanks for sharing.

Sharon Wagner said...

I wish we would have done this when we visited Colorado Springs. Great vistas!

NCSue said...

Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2021/09/in-abstract.html

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

What an amazing photo where it looks like you could drive off into the sky! I would be a nervous wreck! lol Beautiful drive with so much to see! Wish I was there!

Donna @ Modern on Monticello said...

You have such a beautiful state to explore! Thanks for sharing your adventures. #HomeMattersParty

stevebethere said...

What fab photos looks lovely there thanks for taking us on your journey :-)

Have a scenictastic week 👍

Joanne said...

What amazing views... but I think that drive up and down would make me nervous!

Jim said...

Marvellous.

Lydia C. Lee said...

Wow. Quite a spot there! #WWOAT

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Pikd'x Peak is amazing - wow

Ruth Hiebert said...

WOW! In about 1969 or so my parents took us on a road trip and Dad wanted to drive up Pikes Peak. With a lot of persuasion from Mom, we didn't do it. In some ways I am sorry now that we didn't go up. What awesome views!

William Kendall said...

Excellent views!

Angie said...

Pat - with age, I have developed a slight fear of heights, and I think it also has something to do with feeling out of control. So that picture of "driving off the road into the clouds" gave me the heebie-jeebies! I am glad to see they preserved a section of the former visitor's center, and I found the information on the Altitude Adjustment to be fascinating! Thanks for sharing your trip with everyone at Mosaic Monday!

Veronica Lee said...

Spectacular vistas, Pat.

You have such a beautiful state to explore!

Fun60 said...

I would love to take that railway to the top. The scenery looks spectacular.

diane b said...

The train trip would be fun. You sure are on top of the world there. It must be fun to see new things every time you go there. Do you really need ads on your blog that get in the way of reading your post? Today I couldn't even click them off.

Einari Sinappi said...

Fantastic Vistas! My favorite is the one with clouds and the road turning left. Can´t get much more closer to the skies. A great photo!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Pat

What a wonderful trip, the drive looks a little hair-raising at times. I would have been spooked. It is nice you can take the train ride up instead of driving. The visitor center looks beautiful. Lovely views. Take care, have a great day!

the 4 M's said...

Wow! That is a really cool place to visit. I love that view where it appears you are in the clouds. The driving and winding roads, I probably would not enjoy but being at the top would be worthwhile.
www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

dee Nambiar said...

Thank you for the trip to the top of Pikes Peak. I enjoyed seeing the sights. We missed this place on our visits to CO.
Love the pic of the switchbacks!

Thanks again. :)

Lowcarb team member said...

Goodness me! You were up so high!
Lovely photographs you've shared, so pleased you had a great visit.

All the best Jan

April J Harris said...

What an interesting place to visit, Pat, and what amazing views! Thank you for sharing Pikes Peak with us at Hearth and Soul.

handmade by amalia said...

What a treat for your friends. And for us. Great views.
Amalia
xo

betty-NZ said...

How exciting to be at the top of the Peak! I'm glad you shared all these photos and information with us.

Thanks for sharing your link at My Corner of the World this week!

yonosoymillenium said...

Hi, I loved this post, so I can travel through what you show us. I love to travel or see trips. Thanks
I have loved your publication, I did not know your blog, do you want us to follow? I'd love to. Cheers

Light and Voices said...

Greetings and Salutations! My dad went to Pike's Peak a long, long, long I mean really long time ago. The picture of him and his sister on top of Pike's Peak background Men and Ladies' toilets. LOL! I giggle every time I see that photo. Cog Railroad would be an interesting ride down; but make sure the engineer doing this isn't young, wears a winter jacket and not his first time on the job. LOL! Lovely photographs as usual. Area is awe inspiring.