Pikes Peak area is incredibly IG-worthy and offers so many different opportunities to get out there and adventure. Visiting the Colorado Springs area actually makes the jaunt to Manitou Springs (where our journey will begin) very easy!
Make Sure To Visit Pikes Peak
For what I would call the ‘frosting on the cake experience’ we traveled from the bottom of Pikes Peak to the top and its mesmerizing from top to bottom.
From photo ops to fun stops, Pikes Peak summit travels are something you want to experience while in the Colorado Springs area.
A big thanks to Visit Colorado Springs for hosting us!
Elevation Fact about Pikes Peak
In case you don’t know Pikes Peak is one of the highest summits in the USA at 14,000 + in elevation. Get ready to rock (haha) the elevation in the Southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains!
A quintessential of any destination experience is knowing how to tackle it and explore, I got you! Feel free to use these 15 tips for visiting Pikes Peak Summit you want to keep tucked away, so when you visit you are prepared.
Epic Experience: Pikes Peak
I am definitely an adventure junkie, even with a fear of heights I survived the 14,115-foot elevation! Travel is about Crossing things off the bucket list no matter what age you are. You can say I crossed a huge checkmark off my list.
I love it when I find an adventure that lets me visit an area and truly grab and hold onto wanderlust.
Epic in its own right, Pikes Peak is just one part of the adventure, but the getting there and back are more!
If you love conquering destinations, but don’t want to drive, let me share some insight with you. You don’t have to drive to get there.
No. 1: Visit Pikes Peak EARLY Like Morning Early
Wake up sunshine and greet the day. Get moving. If you are booking an outfitter, book them early, and go up first thing. This is one very popular destination and as the day wears on, it gets very populated.
For those driving themselves, parking can get sparse at the top and you might have to be shuttled from the parking lot to the summit top. Avoid that by simply going early.
No. 2: Visiting Pikes Peak West of Colorado Springs Hire a Jeep Tour Outfitter
Reserve a space with a Pikes Peak Jeep outfitter and enjoy a Jeep Tour via the Pikes Peak Highway and travel throughout the Pikes Peak region.
Jeep tours of Pikes Peak allow you to sit back, and watch the view, taking the driving responsibility out of your hands, so you can keep your eyes fixed on everything AROUND you.
Plus there are plenty of stops along the way and you don’t have to worry about braking coming back down Pikes Peak highway!
No. 3: Jeeps Rule & Keep Braking Cool a Pikes Peak Must Know
For those that are going to drive, I totally suggest a Jeep. Jeeps are made for the terrain, the mountains, the challenges, etc. Also, when you descend your brakes will not heat if you are driving in L or low range.
We noted that the Jeeps were doing better than most. How do I know that? We sat in a line at Glen Cove and there was a Ranger testing brake temperatures. Do note that excessive brake heat causes brake failure. The Pikes Peak Rangers have the right to pull you over and ask you to stop until your brakes cool.
In fact, we saw a few people get set aside for a while, however, the Jeep drivers, were moving right on through at only 102°!
No. 4: Schedule A Jeep Tours – Don’t Drive: Insider’s Scoop for Pikes Peak
There’s plenty of space inside of a Jeep for up to 4+ your driver and the pocketed seats make it possible to tuck and store those phones. Why would you store a phone while you drive? Well, the turns are a bit creaky Y’all and you will be holding onto the seat or the handles above. Enough said.
Additionally, you want to drink, all that you can on the way up and yes there are plenty of bathroom options along the way (not talking about watering the bushes either!). So take the water into your system because elevation and altitude will knock you out if you don’t!
As A Tourist in the area, you may not know this about Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak highway is 2 lanes big, one lane up and one lane down. Additionally, there are hairpin turns, very limited pull-off spaces during the ride up and down, making it tough to just get out and see.
You gotta know where to go, and this is why I suggest a Jeep Tour Outfitter. Again, as I stated before the driving pressure is off you and onto the company, which I highly suggest. Do make sure the company you hire has newer Jeeps and that they are reliable, and that is ALL I am going to say.
No. 5: No Matter How You Visit Pikes Peak Make Sure To Pack These Things
- Bring a cooler, and stash it in the nice back cargo space.
- Make sure to pack a jacket for the change in climate as well as your snacks.
- You will get hungry as you go because you can not speed and you can expect the ride up to be at least 1 hour and the ride back the same if not longer due to low gear and the roads.
No. 6. Stop at Crystal Reservoir on your Pikes Peak Visit
Captivating, pristine, dynamic, are words, that might describe Crystal Reservoir, but there are many more! 136 acres of non-swimmable lake, with plenty of hiking, fishing and non-motorized boats are what you will find here.
Do note, that if you are allergic to bees, be cautious as there are very many (you are in the midst of nature, lol). Hang a bit more towards the gift shop and a bit less away from the lakes’ edge. Also, there are prime photo spots here as you can see and it is quite a busy bathroom stop!
The terrain here is slippery so if you do not have hiking boots or tennis shoes with solid bottoms, you will slide. Tennis shoes work great as do hiking boots.
No. 7 Pikes Peak: The Big Foot Stop
Have you heard about Big Foot sightings around the USA? I mean it seems to be the norm. In fact, you might even have heard that Big Foot has been seen at Pikes Peak. Where Niko Travels tried out the Big Foot Crossing.
No surprises then right?
Well, here’s your surprise, you can photo in front of the Big Foot sign and then move on along. Of course, just because you think that he is not real, you better think again as you can see there is a big footprint, who else could have made that?
No. 8: It’s Easier + Better To Make More Stops Descending than Ascending Pikes Peak
Tour like the outfitter pros, stop more on the way down than the way up. Not only does it allow your brakes to rest and cool, but it also allows you the chance to acclimate to the ever-changing elevation as you descend.
Plus, the stopping points on the way down, are a bit more plentiful when pulling over and more advantageous as you are on the ‘good’ side of the highway.
You’ll see in many of our photos, we were descending and on the downside when photo’ing.
No.9 Summit House At The Top Of Pikes Peak
You’ve arrived and it’s your big moment, take a photo here in front of Summit House. Declare your journey to the top with a photo!
Inside you’ll find a gift shop, restroom, and donuts, which we will chat a bit more about as we move through the rest of the tips. Once outside the doors of the gift shop prepare for WOW.
No. 10 Pikes Peak Summit The Big Moment
It is a breathtaking beauty that will astound and entrance, while at the same time if you are scared of heights might scare the ever-living daylights out of you.
No. 11 Clouds or Not Look Over The Edge of Pikes Peak
There’s no way you want to miss what’s below and straight ahead, because this is a YOLO moment, so open your eyes, step away from your camera. Enjoy. Now repeat all of that and snap photos. The experience is everything but is nothing if you are ONLY behind the camera.
No. 12: The Weather at The Top of Pikes Peak
We enjoyed beautiful weather at the bottom about 80°F but by the time we got to the top, it was so cold, that the coats were not enough. I would suggest light pants, jeans, for the whole trip. You’ll need that jacket or hoodie when you get to the top and prepare for the wind to be blowing!
No. 13 Pikes Peak at The End of the Tracks
Don’t forget to seek out the end of the tracks up there, yes there are tracks, and get your photo. The backdrop is beyond jaw-dropping and almost unrealistic don’t you think?
There are cliffs, with huge rocks and on really clear days you can see 5 states, but that did not happen for us. We got rolling clouds which is just as well with me! In fact, here we are at 14,115 feet! So stop, let your head balance out, I got dizzy and needed just a minute to let it pass.
For a moment I felt like someone was crushing my head then as quickly as it came it passed. However, use caution because the altitude could incapacitate you when looking over the edge and you could fall (I am being totally serious).
I may not seem like I am totally over the top, but remember, I am so afraid of heights. Behind me are heights and a cliff and whatever else I refused to look down at.
No. 14 Pikes Peak Donut Treat – Eat It Fast
Here is what the donut looks like, plain and simple and totally diet-killing but oh well, because YOLO (how old is that word? ha!) And down it went into my belly with more water of course! Famished from the views, this was an ideal snack!
You can get yours right in the Summit House! Trust me you will smell them before you see them. Let me add that the donuts were nut-free, and the fryer was free of x-contamination, beyond that I can not tell you anything about allergen-friendly, because it fit our needs!
No. 15: The Descent For Photo Opps + Pikes Peak
Remember this is a trip to remember so snap those photos, stuff up your IG feed and live in the moment, I certainly did! It’s fun to have these photos and remember those things we did together as a family and this is the perfect way to do just that!
Watch the Edges When you Photo
Don’t go crazy, and watch your footing. Getting too close is Never a good idea, but realistically it is not challenging to capture great photos.
Travel is all about the adventure, and the destination, so snap and enjoy. Also, phone service is spotty at best, until you are at the very bottom or top!
Pikes Peak Tourism
Pikes Peak is about the ride, the scenery, and the ‘I came, I saw, I experienced’ aspect, so if you drive, you can’t do all of the aforementioned. The experience is definitely a way to travel deeper!
You will crave those travel photos on the way up and down. Do expect some of the roadsides to be without guard rails and there is oncoming traffic. When you realize what is NOT next to you, it might make a larger impact than you can imagine.
Want to know more about Pikes Peak?
Here’s a wealth of background info & tour suggestions -> Pikes Peak & Colorado Springs!
Enjoy your adventure and hang on tight, the hairpin turns will get you! It’s fun around every corner and the depth of topography is amazing!
Lavishly live travel out loud! ~ DANA xo