Visitors will soon get a chance to experience iconic Pikes Peak — America’s Mountain like never before. This summer, The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway return along with a brand-new Summit Visitor Center awaiting adventurers at the top.
The Cog, which has been climbing Pikes Peak since 1891, offers countless breathtaking views of the Pikes Peak Region. The Railway was closed for about four years for renovation and will soon resume service complete with 19 miles of newly constructed track and new and refurbished Swiss cog rail cars. As the cars ascend the mountain, riders will catch a glimpse of pristine reservoirs nestled among the peaks of the Front Range, as well as the city below.
Whether getting up the Peak by rail, car, foot, bike or bus – there’s another adventure waiting at the summit! The brand-new sustainably built Summit Visitor Center offer a myriad of ways to awaken your curiosity. The inside contains new accessible and interpretive exhibits that share fun facts on the mountain’s history, geography, recreational opportunities, conservation initiatives and more. The exhibit gives visitors the chance to weave their own personal experiences into the mountain’s story. Outdoors, interpretive rails around the summit will describe the environment and views and identify key landscape features.
And of course, a visit to the top would not be complete without a world-famous Pikes Peak donut, made fresh daily with the same recipe that has been passed down since 1916. But for the first time ever, guests can now customize their donuts – adding toppings including sugar, cinnamon, cocoa or nutmeg. A new and improved food court offers a variety of new fresh food options and beverages, including a Pikes Peak Melt sandwich that uses locally sourced ingredients and a trail mix bar that allows visitors to customize their snack experience. Guests can also visit the gift shop to grab some souvenirs from their trip to the summit.
A top priority when planning and building the Visitor Center was caring for the summit’s environment. Development and construction teams worked tirelessly to preserve the natural state of the mountain while accommodating the ever-growing number of visitors. The project is also striving to become the first Living Building Challenge certified project in Colorado – an initiative that encourages design solutions that improve surrounding environments. The Visitor Center placed extra focus on sustainable aspects of the project involving energy, building materials, resilience, site ecology, site water and wastewater. The Center aims to achieve net-zero energy, net-zero waste and net-zero water consumption and is designed to save more than 350,000 gallons of water per year over the current system.
As visitors enjoy the many new experiences on top and surrounding America’s Mountain, they can begin checking off tasks from this year’s Ultimate Pikes Peak Challenge! Think you have what it takes to call yourself a true Pikes Peak Adventurer? The official challenge will launch at the end of May, complete with a list of 25 challenges to complete around the Pikes Peak Wonders Region. Challenges include visiting the Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center, kayaking across a reservoir on the mountain and even locating the Big Foot crossing sign on the Pikes Peak Highway. Participants can earn merit embroidered badges for completing a variety of combinations of tasks and wear them with pride, showing the world they conquered (and cared for) America’s Mountain! Learn more about the Ultimate Pikes Peak Challenge here.