Near Colorado Springs, Colorado, over 14,000 feet and a view that is hard to beat!
Tigger took a drive up Pikes Peak this summer but learned that firs there are some things you should know before doing so!!
There are a few ways to get to the top of Pikes Peak at 14,115 feet above sea level! A guest can hike, bike, ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway or simply DRIVE up there (Not really Simply... There is a lot you should know before DRIVING!!)
Everyone should first know the vehicle regulations for the drive up and down. This is a difficult drive for any vehicle and should be taken seriously! Tigger's entourage drove in a brand new Prius and still had a few challenges. Every guest should be very familiar with the mountain driving tips. If you are unsure, you can also ask the attendant at the entrance gate. These tips are very, very important!
Now, about the drive it self... in one word, "BREATHTAKING"!
The entrance gate starts at 7,800 feet elevation. There is an entrance fee which is paid at this gate which is staffed throughout the open hours but knowledgeable attendants.
The whole drive up the mountain has frequent pull-outs to stop, get out of the vehicle and take photos. The drive up to the Crystal Reservoir Visitor Center at 9,160 feet is really a good 'warm up' for what lies ahead! This beautiful area offers more hiking options along with fishing, picnic facilities, restrooms and even a cafe. There is also a medical station here for first aid needs.
The next leg takes visitors up to Glen Cove at 11,440 feet elevation. Plan to stop here either on the way up, the way down or even BOTH!! Be aware, on the way down the temperature of your brakes will be checked here. If it is over a certain temperature they will ask you to stop and park a while as they cool so this is really a great downhill stop!
Glen Cove offers similar facilities as those found at Crystal Reservoir just on a smaller scale.
Shortly after passing Glen Cove guests will pass the Timberline. It is almost shocking how fast the trees peter out and the only thing growing above about 11,600 feet is grass and Yellow-Bellied Marmot which were EVERY where along the way! Lucky guests may even spot Bighorn Sheep and Black Bear but these are far more elusive!
Ultimately, the Summit Complex is the most visited peak in the western hemisphere as more than 600,000 people visit annually! This complex is still undergoing further plans for development but still offer a restaurant, large gift shop and restrooms! The ample parking space allows just about any quantity of guests.
Now, a word about health. Tigger is a very fit Tigger but at first, the thin oxygen at this elevation took him by surprise!! The excitement of getting there helped with the visit at the peak at first, but after about five minutes the lack of oxygen slowed him down. Tigger bounced a little more slowly and held on to the rails when necessary. It was not 'dangerous', just a little surprising when the dizziness begins to creep in!
Tigger thoroughly enjoyed everything about the day's trip... even when he bounced a little too high and got stuck on a snow bank AND a rock face! After all, Tiggers can bounce really high but he discovered years ago he cannot climb DOWN trees at all!
The drive up Pikes Peak is very challenging! Carefully read the recommendations published on the web site before...