Here at Aspire, we’re always pushing further into the mountains, reaching closer to the sky.
Colorado offers great opportunities to get way up there where the air is thinner than thin and you can barely catch your breath. Many of us spend our summers checking off 14ers. It’s about as Colorado as you can get!
But for others, climbing to the top of a 14,000+ foot mountain is just too much. Thankfully, a mega hike isn’t the only way to the top, even when the weather turns colder.
The Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
Sure, Pikes Peak is iconic, and you can both drive and hike to the top, but isn’t there something about riding the train?
Let us ruminate on that for a bit. HOWEVER, you can’t deny us here: Taking the Cog Railway is the best way to summit a 14er year-round.
Reasons To Ride The Rail
We can think of at least 7 reasons why you'll love this ride. Motivational speed round: Go!
1. Trains are awesome, and as our founder Kathrin noted in our October newsletter (subscribe here), trains connect us to our sense of childlike wonder. Don’t you agree?
2. The full round trip takes two hours. You can possibly drive up faster, but it’s a stressful climb and decent. And hiking takes FOR-E-VER.
3. The views the views the views! Simply incredible. If you’re driving, you won’t get to enjoy them at all. The railway also has a different vantage-point than the Pikes Peak highway. It’s better!
4. You go through four different climate zones on the two-hour, nine mile round trip.
5. You can ride comfortably, relax, and chat along the way. You’ll also get fun history tidbits along the ride.
6. Wildlife potential: bears, moose, bighorn sheep, marmots.
7. Yes, the donuts at the summit are amazing and yes, they will inflate if you try to take them downhill.
Okay, let’s not let this section get out of hand. On to the next!
Brand-New $100 Million Renovation
Thanks to a recent huge (and well-timed, because COVID) renovation, this classic beauty is clean as a whistle, and even has a new whistle!
The cog railway was closed for three years as it underwent a $100-million renovation, and that hard work shows. It’s stunning! The new train cars are comfortable, the wraparound windows offer panorama views, and the new visitor center at the summit is interactive and offers great history lessons!
Here are some quick facts:
- Formal name: The Broadmoor Manitou Springs & Pikes Peak Cog Railway
- Original construction began in 1890
- First trip to the summit June 30, 1891
- One of only TWO cog railways in the United States
- Highest cog railway in the world
- Open year-round, accessible to all
- A cog railway uses a third center rail to control the train
Pikes Peak Cog Railway & Garden of the Gods Tour
So what if we told you we just added a Pikes Peak Cog Railway tour that ALSO includes time to explore the Garden of the Gods?
What’s the Garden of the Gods?!
Oh goodness. Stunning in its own right, the Garden of the Gods has some of the most stunning natural red rock formations you’ll ever see. It’s a National Natural Landmark for a reason! It’s super easy to wander around on foot and we give you ample time to check it out before you ride the rail.
This is one of our favorite day trips from Denver and a truly signature Colorado experience. There’s really nothing quite like a clear day on the summit of Pikes Peak. And the best news is — the cog railway runs year-round (weather permitting).