Pikes Peak–Driving to 14,110 feet.

2011 09 10 karen 002On September 10, we headed out to drive to the top of Pikes Peak from Garden of the Gods Campground in Colorado Springs, a driving distance of about 25.6 miles, with an elevation change of almost 8000 feet.

We had attempted to drive to the top in 2004, but were stopped at Glen Cove Inn, at 11, 425 feet, due to high winds higher up.  We were told that the winds will likely lessen later.  After waiting a while, we went back down and, later, decided to try to go up on the Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway.  When we got to the top, we found that it was brisk and chilly at 34°F with great views, and the wind was low enough that there were already cars in the parking lot.  The ride on the railway was a great experience, though.

On this year’s trip, the wind was not a problem.  With stops, we made it to the top in around 2 hours.

The road has recently been improved significantly as a settlement of a Sierra Club lawsuit. (A lot of the online references say that the road is not paved on the upper half.   This is old information.)  Except for a section less than a mile long, the road is paved all the way to the top.  The road is on federal land administered by the U.S. Forest Service, but is leased to the City of Colorado Springs for operation.  The toll is used to maintain and improve the road, thus requiring no general tax revenue for the road.

Note:  The images and video segments are sequenced from the bottom of the mountain to the top, but most of them were actually taken at pullouts on the way back down.

Pikes Peak is about 10 miles west of Colorado Spring, Colorado.  It was originally called “El Capitan” by Spanish settlers, but was renamed after Zebulon Pike, Jr., an explorer who led an expedition to the area in 1806.  It is one of Colorado’s 54 fourteeners, mountains rising over 14,000 above sea level.

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