Home » About Pikes Peak - America's Mountain

Pikes Peak is a mountain that can be enjoyed by all

Pikes Peak is one of Colorado’s famed “14ers” – a series of mountain peaks with summits above 14,000 feet.

What makes it stand out from other Colorado mountains is its accessibility. You can make your way to the stunning summit visitor center via a fully paved road, cog railway, shuttle tours, and a vast hiking and biking trail network. Or you can just relax and admire its beauty from Colorado Springs and surrounding communities.

pikes peak hiking
The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Garden of the Gods Dog

Pikes Peak is a big mountain. Here are the top 4 things you should know.

Experience and explore

There are a lot of ways to enjoy the mountain, and they all leave from different depots and trailheads, so be sure you know where you’re headed. Addresses are below for these popular ways to reach the top:

Weather and road conditions

Expect the top of Pikes Peak to be 30-40 degrees (F) cooler than the weather in Colorado Springs at any given time. Rain in town often means snow on the Peak and snow in town means A LOT of snow on the mountain. Double check road conditions and weather before you head out.


Reservations are required to drive your personal vehicle to the summit from May 26 – September 30. None are needed in the off-season. Reservations are always recommended for the Cog Railway, Jeep tour, shuttle tour, and bike tours. 

No reservations needed to hike.

Elevation & other useful tips

14,115 feet of mountain is a lot of room to explore. Here are some helpful tips to make sure you enjoy the mountain while leaving something for future generations. 

Ways to explore Pikes Peak

Getting to the top of the world

While there are plenty of ways to experience Pikes Peak, the most popular (and breathtaking) destination is the summit – sitting at 14,115 feet. 

A series of roads, rails, and trails all lead to the Summit Visitor Center, perched high above it all. It’s the perfect place to take in the views, grab a bite to eat, snap a few selfies, and pick up some official Pikes Peak merch.

Whichever way you decide to get there, we’ve got tips to help you get the most out of your alpine adventure.

Most Popular

Drive a car

Best if you want to take your time

If we mapped out the options for enjoying Pikes Peak on a scale of ease and affordability, driving your own vehicle would top the list. By far the most popular way to summit, driving gives you the freedom to take things at your own pace. Bring a picnic, fishing poles, and hiking boots to make a day of it!

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How it works:

Make a timed summit reservation online (May 26 – September 30, none needed in off-season) and purchase your admission ticket at drivepikespeak.com. Take Highway 24, follow the signs and stay the course as you pass through a residential area to the entrance gateway. Then slowly wind your way up the mountain, passing high-altitude reservoirs, gift shops, and photo-ops before making the final ascent above tree line to the summit.

Key information

Reservations & Tickets

Reservations are required to drive to and park on the summit from May 26 – September 30. None needed in the off season.

Admission tickets are necessary and can be purchased online with your timed entry reservation or at the gateway at the time of entry.

Helpful hints

Driving tips

Sells out fast

Ride the train

Best if you want a unique experience

The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway will get you back into some of the more rugged areas without having to lace up your hiking boots. This relaxing ride will take you through several biomes, past quaking aspens, towering boulders and if you’re lucky – a critter or two. All from the comfort of newly remodeled and refurbished trains. 

Cog railway

Be sure to make reservations early! The train sells out about 2 weeks in advance during the summer season.

Key information

Reservations & Tickets

The Cog Railway regularly sells out, especially in July and especially on the weekends. Plan ahead and book your trip early.

Helpful hints

Take a guided shuttle tour

Best if you want to sit back and relax

Pikes Peak Tours by Gray Line specialize in luxury shuttles and friendly knowledgable tour guides that will be your new best friend by the end of the trip. Take your ride in style —  let them keep an eye on the road while you keep an eye on those views!

Pikes Peak tour by Gray Line Red Bus driving up the highway.

Pikes Peak Tour by Gray Line is not currently running individual tours but is available for large chartered tours.

Key information

Reservations & Tickets

Reserve online or call for chartered tours.

What to expect

Jump in a Jeep

Best if you want to travel in true Colorado fashion

Adventures Out West Jeep Tours are perfect for those looking for a bit of adventure (it’s in their name!) Their custom Jeeps are specifically built to optimize your views and experience the open-air fun of a jeep without sacrificing comfort.

Blankets are provided but make sure to bring some warm clothes with you

Key information

Reservations & Tickets

The folks at Adventures Out West will always do their best to fit you into a tour, but there are only so many Jeeps and so many drivers in their fleet. Book ahead so you don’t miss out!

What to expect

Ride a bike

Best if you want to feel the wind in your hair

Remember the joy of riding your bike down a big hill as a kid? Well this is one of the biggest hills around. Hop in a custom Jeep for a beautiful drive up America’s favorite mountain, or book the Cog Railway and bike tour through Broadmoor Outfitters. At the summit, you will gear up with a bike, safety gear and warm layers for that cool mountain air. Ride through different biomes, watch for wildlife, smile and laugh all the way down the road.

Challenge Unlimited Pikes Peak By Bike Biker Wave

Bike tours leave first thing in the morning, so be sure to bring lots of layers. 14,115 feet is chilly!

What to expect

Hike up the hill

Best if you want a big workout and bigger adventure

Pikes Peak is one of many mountains in Colorado over 14,000 feet in elevation, and one of the tougher ones to climb. This hike is 13.5 miles with an elevation gain of 7,400+ feet — and that’s just up. If you’re from a lower elevation, spend several days in Colorado Springs to acclimate before you go. Bring plenty of water, there’s nowhere to fill up along the trail. And make sure you have a plan to get back down. This one is a real “glute-kicker”! Be prepared so you can conquer this climb and not the other way around.

Hiking up a mountain isn't for the faint of heart. If you haven’t hiked a 14er before, we highly highly highly recommend you do your homework, train and prepare for anything.

What to expect

If you have never hike a fourteener, this is not the place to start. Seasoned Colorado hikers train before climbing Pikes Peak and many will tell you it’s one of the toughest to climb that we have.  Know what you’re getting into before you go!

Helpful hints

The Pikes Peak Region

Pikes Peak is the dominating feature of the Colorado Springs skyline. However, the region covers a much larger area. Cities and small towns surround Pikes Peak, all with unique views and activities.

Colorado Springs

11.8 Miles from the base of the highway
The second-largest city in Colorado, Colorado Springs has TONS to see and do including the top park in the United States, Garden of the Gods!


81.4 Miles from the base of the highway
Just a short 1 hour drive South of Denver, Pikes Peak and Colorado Springs has tons to see and do! It’s a perfect day trip or long weekend for you and your family!

Cañon City

56 Miles from the base of the highway
From amazing views at the Royal Gorge Bridge to the best whitewater rafting in Colorado, Canon City is a short yet beautiful drive for amazing family fun!

Cripple Creek

35.8 Miles from the base of the highway
Cripple Creek is a quirky mountain town on the backside of Pikes Peak. One of the richest gold camps in U.S. history (and still active today), it has lots of great legends to explore and free range donkeys!

History & Culture

Pikes Peak, which is proudly listed as a national historic landmark, was once home to the Ute Indians and — even earlier — to the Clovis Culture. Learn more about history of the mountain and the people who have called it home in the articles and resources below.

The Early History of Manitou Springs

As we cruise into a new decade for the town, we thought it might be fun to take a jaunt back in time to the early days of Manitou Springs.
pikes peak highway road

The History of the Pikes Peak Highway – 75 Years of High Elevation Fun

It’s the 75th anniversary of the day the highway moved under the care of Colorado Springs, cementing our relationship with America’s Mountain.
Susan Anderson aka Doc Susie

Influential Women of the Pikes Peak Region

March is Women’s History Month and Colorado Springs has plenty of ways for you to honor exceptional women of the past, present and future.
garden of the gods sustainable

Sustainable Travel in the Pikes Peak Region: Staying Green in Colorful Colorado

Sustainable travel isn’t just about carbon offsets & transportation choices; they're lots of ways that you can be conscious when you visit Colorado Springs


From the end of May through September, you will need a Timed Entry Permit to drive your vehicle all the way to the summit.  Those can be found at DrivePikesPeak.com.

We highly recommend you make reservations for Challenge Unlimited-Pikes Peak by BikeAdventures Out WestPikes Peak Tours by Gray Line and the Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway.

Budget at least three hours to drive the highway. Tours typically take about 4 hours, Biking down the Peak is approximately 6 hours, and hiking the Peak is anywhere from 8 hours to 2 days, depending on fitness level.

Pikes Peak is one of the more difficult fourteeners to climb in Colorado. We recommend at least 2 gallons of water per person, heavy duty hiking boots, plenty of food, and lots of layers of clothing.  Bear spray is probably a good idea too. Get more tips from barrcamp.com

Vehicles must have the ability to shift to a lower gear to help slow your descent down the mountain with over-heating your brakes. 

Wheelbase cannot exceed 19ft or 24 feet in overall length.

No Pull-Behind Trailers or Campers regardless of size. This includes bicycle and motorcycle trailers.

No ATV or OHV’s allowed

No Mopeds or Scooters that do not meet these  requirements:

    1. Any scooter that meets the motorcycle motor vehicle regulations according to the Colorado State Statute are allowed on the Pikes Peak Highway.
    2. More than 50cc or 4476 watts
    3. Certificate of title and vehicle registration (license plate and title)
    4. Proof of valid insurance

See drivepikespeak.com for more details.

The summit of Pikes Peak is typically 30-40 degrees colder than it is at the base.

A lot of folks are bothered by the altitude and there doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to it.  We recommend giving yourself a few days to get used to the elevation of Colorado Springs before you head up the mountain.

Be sure to drink lots of water, and even start a couple of days ahead of time. Dehydration is the leading component of altitude sickness.  Eating before you go up is a good idea too.

The highway is open year-round, depending on weather. We recommend you call 719-385-7325 for road conditions before heading out for the day.

Why can it be so stressful to plan something that’s supposed to be so much fun? We get it. That’s why ordering your FREE vacation planner to Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region is like having your own travel planner on speed dial.