Pikes Peak by Car

When Johnny was here we went up Pikes Peak by Cog railway. This time I decided to drive Marge up on the Pikes Peak Highway. It is now a paved road all the way to the summit.

The 19 mile long highway starts at 7,800 feet above sea level and ends at the 14,110 summit. The highway is on the west side of the mountain. Our campground and the cog railway are on the east side. So this was the first time we are seeing the mountain from this side.

There is a 12.5 mile Pikes Peak race which starts at the 9,390 level and ends at the summit. It has 156 turns and many 1000 foot drop-offs and only a few guard rails. When they started racing in 1916 it was a dirt road. The first winner sped to the summit in 20 minutes and 55.6 seconds. It is the second oldest race in the United States, behind only the Indianapolis 500. The present record is 10 minutes 4 seconds.

It is interesting to note that three generations of Unsers have raced here. Bobby Unser holds the record for the most wins with 13 wins.

Needless to say, Marge and I had a very leisurely drive up and down the highway. We did not time ourselves going up. We made many stops and it took us well over an hour.


We started at the Gateway, which is located on the left in this map. Our first stop was at the Crystal Reservoir. The Pikes Peak race starts just after this point. As we were going up, there were many scenic spots where we had to stop and take in the view.

Viewing Pikes Peak from the Crystal Reservoir.

One of the many 180 degree turns. We are just below the timber line.
The trees get smaller as we go up in altitude.


Glen Cove - Elevation 11,450' - The last pitstop before the summit.

Brake Temperature Checkpoint at Glen Cove. If your brake rotors are above a certain temperature you may not proceed down past this point. They have a cooling off parking lot which you must stay in until the rotors cool.

We are now above the timber line.



We are near the summit. That's the Crystal Reservoir behind Marge.

We made it! Marge is starting to feel the effects of the high altitude.

This time I remembered to wear my Mekkerfest shirt.

Marge viewing the sights below. It is very hard for her to move around at this altitude.

Garden of the Gods as viewed from Pikes Peak.

No trip to Pikes Peak is complete without a picture while standing next to this monument.





I think it is time to go back down!!!

Please.

Just one more picture.

And then another.

Here is another sign on the other side of the visitors center.

We are on the way down. But we still have to stop and enjoy the sights.
Some sights look different when you view them while going down.


I kept the car in first gear most of the way down.



Marge is feeling better. This is a very sharp drop-off and it seems to go down about 2000 feet.

Waiting for a brake temperature check.

We went to mass at the Air Force Academy chapel.
The cadet choir was outstanding.


It happened to be parents weekend and the church was packed.
We got there 15 minutes early, had good seats and a good parking spot.
They are going to close the chapel for renovations for two years.
I am not sure what they will change. Everything looks great.


Back to the 2015 Fall Travel Directory