Pikes Peak Cog Railway
The Broadmoor’s Pikes Peak Cog Railway – 125 Years of Unforgettable Journeys
In operation since June 30th, 1891, The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway is a one-of-a-kind Colorado adventure that transports you to the 14,115-foot-high summit of Pikes Peak from a safe, comfortable seat on the world’s highest cog train.
During your journey, the cog railway will transport you across four distinctive life zones ranging from the lush high plains to the fragile alpine tundra. Pristine aspen groves and dense pine forests will give way to serene mountain streams and steep boulder canyons as you climb to the timberline and beyond. You may even be lucky enough to spot local wildlife during your ascension, from elk, deer and bear to playful yellow-bellied marmots and majestic Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.
The Train Route
Spanning 8.9 miles of track, the train ride to the summit is an experience within itself. The first third of the trip is along Ruxton Creek in Englemann Canyon, where the steep track follows a cascading stream through dense stands of Englemann spruce, Colorado blue spruce, and Ponderosa pine trees. The train then passes through what is known as "Hell's Gate”, which despite its ominous moniker, is just a natural gateway in the mountains. By the time the train reaches Deer Park, passengers may catch a glimpse of local mule deer. At the halfway point, we pass by Mountain View and into the bristlecone pines – some of which are over 2,000 years old, making them some of the oldest living things on earth.
Once we climb above timberline, trees stop growing and the views become even more expansive. This is also where passengers frequently spot yellow-bellied marmots and Bighorn sheep. The yellow-bellied marmot is the most populous animal on Pikes Peak. During the remaining three miles of the trip, guests can see the eastern stretch the Great Plains beyond the border of Colorado and Kansas. To the south, the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) Range stretches south to New Mexico. On the western horizon, just slightly to the southwest, lies the Collegiate Range.
At the Summit
The summit of Pikes Peak is a National Historic Landmark (NHL) that holds a special place in American history. It was this incredible view that inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write the famous lyrics to “America the Beautiful” after her trip to the summit in 1893. As you stand atop “America’s Mountain”, you will easily understand where that inspiration came from. The summit provides spectacular views of four states, as well as the peaks of the Continental Divide, the cities of Denver, Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs, and the historic gold camps of Cripple Creek and Victor.
Passengers are allowed 30 to 40 minutes on the top of Pikes Peak, and we strongly recommend that you plan accordingly. During this time, you can take pictures of the magnificent views (the north side of the summit is the most dramatic), as well as enjoy a light meal at Summit House or pick up snacks at the Cog Wheel Market. We also suggest taking advantage of the café’s gift shop and bathroom facilities. In the high season, the Summit House serves thousands of people daily and long lines are common. Passengers can also bring food and beverages purchased from the Cog Railway Market aboard the train.
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