Last Update: 08/17/2012
Pikes Peak ~280 miles
A ride to the top of American's Mountain!
[click map for larger view]
SUMMARY:"Pikes Peak or Bust" -- this was the goal of gold-miners in the 1850's and now the goal for many Gold Wing riders visiting Colorado in 2010. Wow, some difference in the transportation methods, that's for sure. Lt Zebulon Pike never made it to the top of Pikes Peak, but now you can do what Zebulon could not! The view from the top inspired the writing of "America the Beautiful" -- so do this ride and you'll enjoy the view that inspired this great song.
for spacious skies,
The most visited mountain in North America and the second most visited mountain in the world behind Japan's Mount Fuji, Pikes Peak forms a stunning backdrop for Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods. At an altitude of 14,110 feet above sea level, Pikes Peak is the 31st highest peak out of 54 Colorado peaks over 14,000 feet. It is the farthest east of the big peaks in the Rocky Mountain chain, which contributed to its early fame among explorers, pioneers and immigrants.
This will be a pretty easy and very enjoyable day, with a great ride to and from Pikes Peak. You can do the ride in either direction, but plan to arrive early at the beginning of the Pikes Peak Highway, avoiding afternoon thunderstorms and also dust on the dirt sections (and traffic coming down). Yes, there are still a couple of significant unpaved sections (one below timberline is about 2 miles and one above timberline is about 3 miles) -- the sharp and steep switchback section above timberline is now paved, so this ride is very doable on the Gold Wing; just be cautious on the unpaved sections and watch your temperature gauge. If the weather forecast is for afternoon thunderstorms, ensure that you get up and down the Peak before the storms arrive -- if there are low clouds in the morning, save the trip for another day. However, you may get a nice fall day for your trip to the top of the Peak. It will also be cool/cold near the top, so dress in layers.
The trip south to Pikes Peak will include a nice ride over Hoosier Pass, across South Park (watch for the Buffalo and antelope), and then over Wilkerson Pass as you head east towards Pikes Peak. You'll ride through Woodland Park (home of WingNutZZ) on your way to the entrance to the Pikes Peak Highway. The Highway (they use this turn loosely) is operated by the City of Colorado Springs and there is a charge of $10 per adult. It is suggested that you ride directly to the top (it is much nicer if you get to the top before the hundreds of people arrive on the cog railway) and then make enjoyable stops on the way down. For anyone who would like to go to the top but do not want to ride their bike, they can take the Cog Railway which departs from Manitou Springs -- you do want to ride to the top if you are up to it, however!!
After exiting the Pikes Peak Highway you'll then continue west on US-24 to Woodland Park for perhaps a bite of lunch. From Woodland Park you'll head north on CO-67, paralleling I-25, but on the west side of the Rampart Range and several thousand feet higher. After about 10 miles of sweepers at altitude, you'll come to the Hayman Burn Area (largest ever Colorado wildfire -- more than 130,000 acres burned -- and all this damage the result of a fire intentionally started by a national forest worked [she went to jail]). You'll hit lots of twisties as you drop down towards Deckers and the South Platte River. Take the left road in Deckers for more tight twisties followed by a climb (we call it "horsepower hill" with lots of big sweepers (stop at the Long Scraggy Peak VU overlook on the right just past the top of the climb). Dropping down towards Buffalo Creek you'll get a good view of Mt. Evans in the distance (the Mt Evans Road closes right after Labor Day weekend), hook-up with the South Platte River once again, ride through the historic town of Pine (if you did not eat in Woodland Park, Zoka's is a good restaurant on the right as you enter Pine), and then continue on to Pine Junction and US-285 south/west. Watch for Big Horn Sheep in Grant (there is a really big herd that hangs out here) and then climb to the top of Kenosha Pass before dropping down into the northern part of South Park. Ride back over Hoosier Pass and the return to Frisco and on to Copper Mountain. This will be a truly awesome day!!
GPS Data Files:
[NOTE: After downloading these files to your computer, you need to re-calculate the route in MapSource or your software before transferring them to your GPS.]
Photos From The Pikes Peak Ride