Over 14,000 feet on Pikes Peak

Activity Date: 
07/12/2009

Today we drove up to Pikes Peak via Hwy 24. The drive on Hwy 24 is pretty scenic with the rocky walls along the side.

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On a map, it looks like a normal road through Pike National Forest to get up to Pikes Peak. However, the highway is actually a local toll road. You have to pay $10 per person or $35 per car to drive up to the top of. Wow, we were surprised at that! The Forest Service/National Park annual pass we have did not give any discounts since apparently this highway is run by the local city.

Well, we're here and we want to go up to the top, so we forked over our $20. Since it's the weekend, we expected it to be busy - and it definitely was. There was a long line of cars at the toll booth and it took us about 20 minutes to make our way through and pay. So, you basically go up the highway to the top in a long line of cars.

We started out at ~5,500' elevation down in town and will be going up over 14,000 at the top. Ute Pass looks back down on Hwy 24.

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We took a ton of pictures! I tried to cull them down to a reasonable amount for the blog, but still....here come a lot of pictures...

The road starts out as nice asphalt.

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And eventually turns into a dirt road about half-way up.

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A nice view of upcoming mountains. Lots of folks were getting out here, maybe it was a restaurant? We didn't stop, so can't say.

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This is one of the nice things about having the "freedom top" convertible for the jeep. The mountains looming over the open roof are really neat. It makes for some great views.

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The forest was thinning out a bit at this elevation.

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We continue our drive up... up... up into the clouds.

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I took a lot of pictures hanging out the window as we drove. Here is a look back down at the road we just came up. We are starting to climb out of the trees.

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This is a really neat picture of the road curving up the mountainside.

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And this view shows the squiggly road all the way back down through the trees. The view up here is fantastic. Pictures really can't do justice.

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Ah.. a good shot of the line of cars we are following. As you can see, we are way above the tree line now.

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Another great view of the mountainside and beyond.

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We finally arrived at the top!

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There is a cafeteria, gift shop, restrooms and the train station at the top. And a very large parking lot for all the cars that made the trip. By the time we got to the top, we noticed that the storm clouds were building up all around. So, we didn't dawdle too long, but did have a good walk around taking in the views.

There is a cog wheel train that comes up from the town of Manitou to the top here. It looked like a nice train. The windows were wonderfully large.

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This is wild -- here is the end of the track where the train stops. Eeek, wouldn't want to overshoot that stop!

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You can see the cog mechanism in the middle of the track (and, of course, more views).

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Another view out over the mountains.

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There goes the first 2-car train...

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Followed by a single car train...

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It looks like it would be a nice ride down. At this point, the thunderstorms were rapidly closing in on the mountain top. Everywhere we looked was a storm dumping rain. We put the roof back on the jeep and headed down.

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Our drive down was into the storms. This is a neat picture of the storm as we drive on into it.

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Well, no pictures on the way down, since it was raining. :)