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Pikes Peak: “America’s Mountain” in Colorado Springs

The one question no one ever has to ask is: “I wonder what there is to do in Colorado Springs?” In fact, unless you’re one of the lucky few who call this area home, you will be hard-pressed to do everything they have available. Before even opening the door to the Great Outdoors, you are looking at a very long list of attractions that include everything from trains to museums to a stunning zoo, fantastic dining opportunities, and so much more. There is no shortage of adventures to be found in this location that also plays home to a vibrant artistic community.

Pikes Peak

And then…if you’ve set aside enough time for your vacation (I would suggest at least a month), you can put on those hiking boots or gather the fishing gear from your travel bags or get ready to soar across a zip line looking down upon breathtaking nature and head out to one of the most beautiful sights you will ever witness in your lifetime.

One of the greatest iconic locales in America is Pikes Peak. The history, alone, is amazing to learn about. From Native American tribes to early Spanish settlers during the 1700s, this mountain holds the ‘whispers’ of so many cultures that called it home. Shaped by glaciers millions of years ago, Pikes Peak serves as the dramatic backdrop to Colorado Springs.  

Hiking to the summit is more than a challenge. In fact, in 1806, when Lt. Zebulon Montgomery Pike set out to climb the mountain, he was stopped in his tracks by a blizzard and went on to announce that no man would ever master the 14,110-foot mountain now named after him and his attempts. Unfortunately for Pike (yet, quite fortunately for others), there are now two trails that actually lead to the impossible-to-reach summit. But, beware…these are not easy hikes by any means. Barr Trail and the Crags Trail are long, strenuous, and only with proper preparation will you come away with success.

View from Pikes Peak 14,115 ft.

When it comes to Barr Trail (the most popular), you’re talking about a 13-mile (one-way) hike. It may not seem like a lot of miles; however, the trail rises 7,400 vertical feet in elevation from Manitou Springs to the incredible summit of America’s Mountain. Though parts of the trail are a bit easier, allowing everyone to take in the forestry, wildflowers, and rock formations, the full hike calls for an advanced skill set to take on the six to ten hours it will take to reach the top.

If choosing Crags Trail, you still need to own an intermediate skill set, and can also bring along the athletic family dog for company, if you wish. Round-trip, unlike Barr, this trail is shorter and has less elevation gain to the summit. It also provides some of the most amazing views, like the Continental Divide to the west, and you have much less of a crowd to worry about. You can set your eyes on the Devils Playground, cross the Pikes Peak Highway; and, hike through a maze of rock formations that will soon bring you to the top.

When it comes to driving through this magnificent area, the stunning Pokes Peak Highway, built-in 1915, winds through this lush scenery of lakes, mountains, wildlife, and more. West of Colorado Springs, the round-trip journey takes between two to three hours, but goodness knows, you’ll want to stop for as many photos as possible along the way. Off the highway, you’ll find three lakes perfect for anglers: Crystal Reservoir and North and South Catamount Reservoirs, set in what is called the North Slope Recreation Area. Biking trails, as well as boating, is available, and you can even rent a non-motorized boat at the Crystal Reservoir Visitor Center.

It is time to have yourselves an adventure of monumental proportions by enjoying all there is to do in Colorado Springs. For more information on this sparkling destination, head to www.visitcos.com/things-to-do/ today.

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