Getting to the top of Pikes Peak was the only thing my grandparents wanted to do when they came to Colorado. They wanted to stand atop the mountain and take in the view of Colorado, and John and I weren’t going to let them down.
Book your own tickets on the Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, here!
You can ride, drive, or hike to the top...
We chose to ride The Pikes Peak Cog Railway up to the summit of Pikes Peak on August 21st 2021. We rode it not long after the grand re-opening ceremony of the railway!
During 2019, the railway company decided to remodel and refurbish the old trains and cogs and re-opened in June 2021 after a two-year hiatus. 2021 marked the railway’s 130th year of operation.
Watch more from our ride up in my YouTube video below!
We chose the railway instead of driving or hiking up the mountain for the fun, educational experience. We also made this decision, because the road up to Pikes Peak was closed for a marathon the weekend we were visiting.
Check online before making your trek up!
The marathon, a speed drag race, and a few other events shut down the road and trails over the course of each year. Not to mention, the weather can have an effect in any season. It was only 28 degrees at the mountaintop when we went in August, so make a note to check the weather on their website too.
Book tickets beforehand:
We purchased our tickets online at https://www.cograilway.com/ride/ and reserved seats on the right side of the train for a 9 AM departure time.
I mention our side, because the train does not turn around at the top. Pick your side according to the view you want. The left side peers over Colorado Springs and is more open, while the right side hugs the mountainside and provides views of the mountain landscape.
We arrived just a few minutes before our 8:45 AM boarding time and walked right through the depot onto the train. Before too long, we started climbing up the face of Pikes Peak. Steadily, the train took us from the wooded forest, beyond the treeline, and up through the rocky and windy mountaintop. We could even feel the incredible winds rocking the train back and forth!
Our conductor allowed the previous train to come down the final stretch before making the final ascent up into and above the clouds and finally to the top of Pikes Peak. When the train stopped, we were 14,115 feet above sea level.
We only had about 15 minutes on top of Pikes Peak before we had to get back on the train. It was a little rushed for our liking, but it was so cold at the top that we didn’t complain.
There is a gift shop inside the new visitors’ center, and my grandparents bought some souvenirs. They also got some of the famous Pikes Peak doughnuts. They are made with a special, high-altitude recipe, and they were delicious!
There are lookout platforms all around the top near the train station for views down onto Colorado Springs. Sadly, it was extremely cloudy when we were up there, and we didn’t get any good views until we were boarding the train to leave.
We boarded the train and eventually started our descent. We listened to the announcer continue explaining places, history, and stories as we kept looking out for anything we had missed on the way up. The trip down felt much faster, and we were quickly back at the platform.
We all agreed that it was a great, easy, fun way to see one of America’s most iconic places. We just wished the weather had been better, so we could’ve seen more. Maybe next time, we will brave it and make the drive up to spend as much time as we want at the peak
See more from this ride up and down Pikes Peak in my YouTube video below:
See other things to do in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs!
Talkin' 'bout Tacos:
I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read!