While we generally spend our time hiking and taking scenic drives through the Smoky Mountains, we recently ventured to higher elevations in Colorado and were blown away by the views, beauty, and grandeur of God’s creation in the Rocky Mountains. Pike’s Peak is located in Cascade, CO about an hour south of Denver and 20 minutes from Colorado Springs.
Pike’s Peak, also commonly called America’s Mountain, is one of Colorado’s 14ers. There are 58 mountains over 14,000 feet in elevation in Colorado known as the 14ers. Driving to the top of Pike’s Peak is an exhilarating experience. Every outdoor family should experience it at least once. It was a highlight of my visit to the beautiful state of Colorado.
How long will the drive to Pike’s Peak take?
According to Pikes-Peak.com you should allow about 1.5 hours for a round trip drive to Pike’s Peak. We recommend you allow an additional hour for picture taking, bathroom breaks, and souvenir shopping.
How much does it cost to drive to Pike’s Peak?
There is a fee to enter Pike’s Peak
May 1- Nov 30:
$15 per person over age 16
$5 for children between 6-15
$50 Family rate for 5 or more in a vehicle
Dec 1- Apr 30
$10 per person over age 16
$ 5 for children between 6-15
$35 Family rate for 5 or more in a vehicle
What are the Hours of Operation of Pike’s Peak?
Weather permitting, Pike’s Peak is open 9am-5pm daily. However, last entry into the park is 3pm and all cars must be exiting the summit no later than 4pm
What should I bring with me on my drive to Pikes Peak?
It’s important on any road trip to pack the right things. Remember, you are going to be climbing from an elevation of 7400 feet to over 14,000 feet. Temperatures, weather, winds, and altitude will all be changing. At a minimum, we recommend you do the following.
- Have at least 1/2 tank of gas before entering the park. There are no gas stations inside.
- Bring and DRINK plenty of water. I know you think you are going to be driving and not hiking, BUT YOU STILL NEED WATER! The altitude change is significant.
- Layer your clothing. We visited in October. It was near 60°F when we entered the park, but a cool 30’s when we arrived at the summit. A coat, scarf, gloves, and hat would all make it a more enjoyable experience.
What Will I See At The Top Of Pike’s Peak?
Stunning Scenery & Unbelievable Views
We were fortunate to arrive at Pike’s Peak on an extremely beautiful October day. The skies could not have been bluer. In fact, the day after we were there, a storm front moved in and we woke up in Denver to snow and gray skies. We were so glad we chose the day before to visit Pike’s Peak.
The Interesting Residents of Pike’s Peak
This guy gets around everywhere.
Of course, we had to stop and take a picture with Big Foot…well, at least with his sign!
I was surprised to discover that Santa also lives on Pike’s Peak! Who knew?
There were moments where the sky was so blue and the grade was so steep, that it felt as if we would drive right over the edge of the world. I imagined it was what the ancient world believed would happen when Christopher Columbus set out to sail off the edge of the earth.
The World Is A Vast Place and We Are But A Speck
It’s hard to explain which is more exhilarating, the view of the streaming flash of cars 2-3 thousand feet above or the view back down when you are one of the flashing cars yourself.
We did experience some mild altitude sickness as we ascended Pike’s Peak, but we continued drinking water and it was manageable. I will say I was in awe of those we passed biking their way up the mountain. In the words of Garth and Wayne, “We are not worthy, we are not worthy”.
Pike’s Peak Is The Ultimate Road Trip
It was very cold and windy, but very beautiful at the top. Ranking up there with the views of Glacier Point, it was one of the most breathtaking sights I have ever seen. Only thing that would have made it more majestic would be snow. You can see what that looks like over at Nomad by Trade’s review of driving to Pike’s Peak
If you are in the Colorado Springs area and can make time for this adventure, don’t miss it! It’s one to remember.
Campfires & Concierges also has some great ideas if you plan to visit Colorado in the summer and if you love scenic mountain roads like Pike’s Peak, don’t miss Rocky Mountain’s Trail Ridge Road and here’s another one to conquer from Quirky Travel Guy.
If you plan to spend some time in Denver, here is an article to read aboutHistorical places to visit in downtown Denver.
How many Colorado 14ers have you been to?
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