• The Route

    The Route


New trains, new depot, new Summit Visitor Center, new track, and one of the most unique experiences in the world. It’s historic: we’ve been climbing to the top of Pikes Peak since 1891. It’s emotionally moving: this place inspired “America the Beautiful” written by Katharine Lee Bates, whose experience in 1893 on top of Pikes Peak moved her to pen the poem that became one of the most patriotic songs honoring America. We take you to the top of Pikes Peak, America’s Mountain, but this journey is so much more than that… it’s a lifetime experience.

We’re always pushing ourselves to lead the way. That’s why we’re making the experience even better. We’re following the tracks of history, proud to be rooted in Manitou Springs. But this is more than building a state-of-the-art cog railway to the top of Pikes Peak. It’s the stories you’re living, the people you meet along the way and the sights that leave you breathless.

red train coming down mountain on sunny day


Your train ride takes you 9 miles up to the summit of Pikes Peak but your journey transports you back in time. Enter Pike National Forest, travel along Ruxton Creek, by Diamond Rock, within the steep, rocky walls of Englemann Canyon, past stacked boulder formations, a striking waterfall, and through Deer Park.

Move up Son of a Gun Hill, through the Icebox, a cool shaded canyon, past the remains of Halfway House Hotel, eventually moving above timberline, where the views get more expansive. And with each turn or climb, hear the stories of historical points and significant people who shaped the region along the way.

Empty train tracks and green trees on a mountain


The view from Pikes Peak isn’t the only sight waiting for you. Part of the adventure is what you see along the way. Pikes Peak abounds with fascinating wildlife, and visitors frequently see elk, deer, and yellow-bellied marmot en route, plus Pikes Peak is home to one of Colorado’s largest bighorn sheep herds.

Colorado blue spruce, Ponderosa pine and the one of the oldest living species of trees, the Bristlecone pine grows along the route. It is estimated that some of the Bristlecone pines on Pikes Peak are over 2000 years old! From the unique experience onboard to everything you see outside your window, this is going to be your favorite vacation story.

Aerial view of building on top of a mountain


You’ve reached the top, now what? Some have described the Pikes Peak summit as the “gateway to heaven.” Pause, inhale, look around, and take it all in. Both the Collegiate and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges catch your gaze as well as the mining town of Cripple Creek and on a clear day you may even see the skyscrapers of Denver. Explore the newly constructed visitor center where you can learn about the mountain’s history. Instead of riding the train back to the Depot, you may feel compelled to hike down the mountain on the 13-mile Barr Trail, or bike down the twisting Pikes Peak Highway for a thrilling adventure and see Colorado in a whole new way.

Interior of empty train with seats


Food and drink purchased in one of our two unique gift shops are allowed on your cog railway experience. Prior to boarding, just make sure to purchase delicious fresh roasted cinnamon glazed nuts, frozen fruit bars, ice cream treats, trail mixes and local Colorado snacks. Unique souvenir water bottles and canned beverages are also available to quench your thirst. Sorry, no outside food is allowed on the train.

Aerial view of waterfall in canyon on sunny afternoon


Your unique cog railway experience can be but one of many adventures here. Explore the many things to do in historic Manitou Springs or visit the majestic Seven Falls, a natural wonder nestled in the South Cheyenne Canyon. Walk along the creek, dine at the base of the falls, hike the trails or opt for a more thrilling adventure. Cross two, 150-foot rope bridges, ride zip lines, and take a 180-foot controlled rappel at The Broadmoor Soaring Adventure. Need a place to stay? The legendary Broadmoor has a spirit of adventure to match yours.

Soaring Adventures 1
Aerial view of resort hotel on sunny morning with mountains and blue skies