Reaching The Summit Of The United States’ Most Visited Peak

pikes peak At 14,110 feet, Pikes Peak is one of Colorado’s “fourteeners,” mountain peaks reaching 14,000 feet or higher. Although not the highest, Pikes Peak is the country’s most visited mountain, with more than a half million people reaching the summit each year. While hiking is how many people choose to brag about their reaching the top of these dizzying mountains, Pike’s Peak is one of only two fourteeners that can be reached via car. You can take the 19-mile Pikes Peak Highway, which offers excellent views and many lookout points. Moreover, there are companies, like Pikes Peak Mountain Bike Tours, that allow you to cycle down from the summit.

A journey to Pike’s Peak, which is over 200 years old, will take you above the clouds, where you can look down over surrounding mountains, the “Garden of the Gods,” and the city of Colorado Springs. Additionally, you’ll be able to check out the historic Cog Railway, the world’s highest cog railroad. Built in the late 1800’s, the train was constructed during a time when people would ride a mule for two days to reach the summit. Wildlife viewing is also an option, and you can see what animals have been spotted that day at the entrance of Pike National Forest. Some common sightings include black bears, ewes, rams, marmots, deer and elk.

To reach the summit in a more adventurous fashion, many visitors also park at the 16-mile marker on the highway, and hike four miles to the top from there. There are also various hiking trails off the road. On the day I went, I chose to hike around the Catamount Reservoir for beautiful lake views and a peaceful retreat in the woods.

For a more visual experience, check out the gallery below.

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[image above via Jessie on a Journey. Gallery images via Big Stock, Ishrona and Jessie on a Journey]