Just outside of Colorado Springs, the towering Pikes Peak mountain stands as an American icon. Katharine Lee Bates wrote the song “America the Beautiful” after surveying the great western lands from atop this very mountain, and today, visitors can enjoy the same view that Bates did, looking down across the rolling plains and jagged peaks of the Rocky Mountains. While 1850s gold miners once trekked to this area via covered wagon and made the climb by mule, modern visitors can enjoy the views while driving the scenic Pikes Peak Highway, which offers incredible views along the way to the 14,115-foot summit. On the mountain you’ll find interpretive programs along with great picnic spots and a handful of lakes that are ideal for fishing and hiking.
The easiest way to the top is the Pikes Peak Highway, a toll road that leads to the peak. Outdoor adventurers can opt to make their own way up the 13-mile Barr Trail. Or if you prefer to make the trip by train, buy a ticket for the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the highest cog railway in the world. The track up the mountain is 8.9 miles long, and it takes just over three hours roundtrip.
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