Zeb here. I love living in Colorado. Colorado Springs is home to Pikes Peak and many other incredible attractions, but Pikes Peak is the adventure for today.
Take I-25 to Colorado Springs, exit on US 24 to Manitou Springs. At the west end of Manitou Springs, find the Cog Railroad Station. We purchased tickets at the window. We could have made reservations, which is highly recommended, especially on weekends. The entire Cog Train trip to the top of Pikes Peak and back takes about 3 hours and 10 minutes. Great for an afternoon.
The cog train consists of enclosed train cars with large windows that open. The large windows insure a great view no matter where you sit. I sat by the aisle on the way up and by a window on the way down the mountain. I saw so much both ways. Leaving the station you wind through tree covered mountains. Just beautiful! A couple times on the way to the top, we pulled over to let a descending train pass. Most of the trip there is only one set of tracks, so the passing of trains must be well timed.
Wildlife is abundant in the mountains, but we saw only marmots today. Cute large rodents. Just happy they were outside and I was inside. They were playing on a wooden platform at one of the train passing locations. By that point on the trip up, it was quite cold and the humans closed windows and zipped up their jackets.
At the top of Pikes Peak we all scurry off the train.
Some humans hurried to the restrooms, none available on train. Some rushed to take pictures by the sign and some of us walked to viewing areas, admiring the lower surrounding mountains and the sight of Colorado Springs so far below. In 1893 this is the view that inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write “America the Beautiful”.
Through the restaurant and gift shop building, where they make very tasty donuts, something about the altitude and frying process, we saw the parking area for those that drove to the top. A drive that will not soon be forgotten, but my humans loved the train. So did I.
We stayed at the top of Pikes Peak for about 30 minutes. It is beautiful but windy and chilly. The temperature in Colorado Springs was a sunny 90 degrees. A cool 40 degrees and strong cold wind at the top; so bring jackets and, of course, cameras.
As you see from the picture by the sign, Pikes Peak is 14,110 feet above sea level.
This is not Colorado’s highest peak, but one of the most famous. It was discovered by a human with my name, Zebulon Pike. Wow, we are both explorers! This is my Alaska uncle holding me. Don’t wait. Experience the top of Pikes Peak. We prefer the cog train, but the road is also great. Local or visitor, you will love and remember your time at the top of the world. For more information on the cog train visit http://www.cograilway.com