Cog Railway to Pikes Peak

Manitou Springs Travel Blog

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Manitou Springs train station

I made reservations 5 days ago just because of Labor Day weekend. It's $30.00 for one round trip ticket. You have to arrive 30 minutes early to buy your ticket. What's nice about it is that you are assigned a car and a seat.  When I arrived at the train station it was cool so i bought me a sweatshirt. If it's cool here imagine what it will be at the top at 14,110 feet.

We left at 8:00am from Manitou Springs and started our one and half hour ride by train to the top of Pikes Peak.  The scenery is so beautiful. In the begining you are surrounded by trees. As you climb in elevation the trees start to thin out and the air becomes cooler. The tempature at the bottom was 60 degrees F. at the top it was 37 degrees F.

Cog Train at Manitou Springs
When you reach the top there are no trees and nothing but boulders and rocks. Your elevation is so high that you get altitude sickness. I started to feel dizzy and and you have to take your time walking around. You get short of breath. Our guide suggested that we drink plenty of water and take it easy. There is a gift shop and cafe at the top. Everyone headed in for coffee and hot chocolate. Oh, I had to pick up a couple of shirts and a magnet from the gift shop too. You can drive up to the top also. The road is paved and gravel. The views from the top were fantastic. It was such a clear day we could see into New Mexico. You only have 30 - 40 minutes at the top and it's back in the train and to your assigned seats for the one and half hour trip back down the mountain.

Much of the fame of Pikes Peak is due to its location near the eastern edge of the Rockies.

Nearing the top of Pikes Peak. A one and half hour train ride from Manitou Springs
Unlike most other similarly tall mountains in Colorado, it serves as a visible landmark for many miles to the east, far into the Great Plains of Colorado. As one drives south on Interstate 25 towards the city of Colorado Springs, it comes into view from a distance of more than 130 miles (210 km). On a clear day, the peak can be seen from Denver (over 60 miles (97 km) north), and from locations near the Kansas border to the east.

Pikes Peak is made of a characteristic pink granite, called Pikes Peak granite. The pink color is due to a large amount of potassium feldspar. The granite was formed by an igneous intrusion in the Pre-Cambrian, approximately 1.

Reaching the top of Pikes Peak. They have a cafe and gift shop.
05 billion years ago, during the Grenville orogeny.

During the period of exploration in Colorado, many would refer to the mountain as "Pike's Peak," after Zebulon Pike, the man who first documented it and attempted to climb to its summit. The attempt failed to reach the summit for this attempt was made during the winter months. The snow drifts were reported chest high at the time of the climb.

Edwin James was successful to reach the summit in his attempt during a summer month's attempt. Later, some suggested "James' Peak," after Edwin James, the first man who successfully climbed to the summit. However, in this area there was another "James' Peak" which made identification of the peak a confusing issue. The name went back and forth until it was settled with a uniquely identifiable name.

Originally the peak was called "Pike's Peak", but in 1891, the newly-formed US Board on Geographic Names recommended against the use of apostrophes in names, so officially the name of the peak does not include an apostrophe.

Me at the top..14,110 feet!!!
In addition, in 1978 the Colorado state legislature passed a law mandating the use of "Pikes Peak" only. Even so, the old name is often seen.

The first non-natives to sight Pikes Peak were the members of the Pike expedition, led by Zebulon Pike. After a failed attempt to climb to the top in November 1806, Pike wrote in his journal (emphasis added):

...here we found the snow middle deep; no sign of beast or bird inhabiting this region. The thermometer which stood at 9° above 0 at the foot of the mountain, here fell to 4° below 0. The summit of the Grand Peak, which was entirely bare of vegetation and covered with snow, now appeared at the distance of 15 or 16 miles (26 km) [24–26 km] from us, and as high again as what we had ascended, and would have taken a whole day's march to have arrived at its base, when I believed no human being could have ascended to its pinical (sic -- "pinnacle" was intended).
Cog railway train ride from Manitou Springs to Pikes Peak. A one and half hour train ride to the top.
This with the condition of my soldiers who had only light overalls on, and no stockings, and every way ill provided to endure the inclemency of the region; the bad prospect of killing any thing to subsist on, with the further detention of two or three days, which it must occasion, determined us to return.

 

 

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Manitou Springs train station
Manitou Springs train station
Cog Train at Manitou Springs
Cog Train at Manitou Springs
Nearing the top of Pikes Peak. A o…
Nearing the top of Pikes Peak. A …
Reaching the top of Pikes Peak. Th…
Reaching the top of Pikes Peak. T…
Me at the top..14,110 feet!!!
Me at the top..14,110 feet!!!
Cog railway train ride from Manit…
Cog train at the top
Cog train at the top
Me at Pikes Peak
Me at Pikes Peak
Manitou Springs
photo by: ejames01