Pikes Peak in Colorado Journey

A TRULY UNIQUE COLORADO EXPERIENCE that I will treasure forever. 

A ride on the Pikes Peak train is more than a mode of getting from point A to point B: It’s a journey filled with wonder, not to mention bragging rights and one-and-only encounters. If you like train trivia, get ready for some mind-blowing facts. 

The Cog Railway enchantment begins the moment you claim your seat in one of the cardinal-red cars. All of the existing trains have undergone significant enhancements recently (think comfortable new seats and floors, upgraded sound systems and converted axles). Three of the trains are brand new and came all the way to Colorado from Switzerland. That’s right — the Swiss company Stadler is the only manufacturer in the world that makes the equipment needed for The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway. After all, this isn’t any ordinary train: It’s one of two cog railways in the country and approximately 40 across the globe. 

Adding to the Cog Railway’s charms is the fact that it’s the highest altitude train of its kind — chugging to the summit at 14,115 feet — and it’s set on one of the most-visited mountains in the world. (Pikes Peak aka “America’s Mountain,” of course.) 

For a double dose of extraordinary, hike the 13-mile Barr Trail to the top of Pikes Peak where the cozy cars will be waiting to carry you back down, giving your legs a much-needed rest. Or, book a Cog Up/Bike Down trip to take the train to the summit. From there, you’ll clip in and wind down Pikes Peak Highway through almost 20 miles of exhilarating curves and unparalleled mountain views. 

And, seasonal trains will thrill every member of the family. Where else can you ride a shiny red train through snow-tipped evergreens as Santa Claus spreads Christmas cheer in the seat across the aisle? 

I am not kidding when I said this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!


You burn more calories at higher altitudes, so pack some extra fuel for your adventure. The Manitou Depot — where you board the Pikes Peak Cog Railway — has you covered with a variety of snack options to get you up the mountain. 

Once you arrive at the brand-new Pikes Peak Visitor Center, you’ll find even more dining options, including their deliciously famous high-altitude doughnuts. These are the only doughnuts in the world made above 14,000 feet, so make sure to munch a few while you explore the peak. 

Other novel additions at the Pikes Peak Visitor Center — many of which embrace Colorado values like sustainability and environmental stewardship — are sure to delight, too. Stroll the new boardwalk to soak up the views and learn fun facts about the plants and animals you saw on the ride up at The Nature Gallery. Or, download the Pikes Peak Summit Experience app to test your summit smarts: As you pass certain points, called “reader rails,” you can answer questions that unlock digital prizes. 


Here are some things to know before you go so that you can enjoy your experience on The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway to the fullest. 

Book your tickets early to make sure you’re one of the first to savor the new Pikes Peak train experience. The schedule offers numerous departure times throughout the day and you can select your seat in advance for an extra charge. Tickets go on sale January 2021. Make sure you’re in the know by signing up for updates on the Cog Railway’s progress. 

The weather on Pikes Peak can vary drastically from the base of the mountain to the summit. (We’re talking about 30-degree temperature changes.) And sometimes, mountaintop weather can result in closures. Always look before you leave and bring layers and rain gear to ensure you’re comfortable throughout your ride. 

Give yourself time to adjust to our altitude. The Manitou Depot sits at 6,320 feet above sea level and Pikes Peak Visitor Center is a lofty 14,115 feet. We recommend drinking lots of water and waiting a day or two after your Colorado arrival to ascend massive heights or take part in strenuous activity.

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