Situated 10 miles west of Colorado Springs in Colorado, Pikes Peak is North America’s most visited mountain and the world’s second most visited mountain after Mount Fuji. Out of the 54 peaks in Colorado, it is the 31st highest peak at an elevation of 14,100 ft above sea level. A part of the Rocky Mountains’ Front Range, it forms a striking backdrop for the Garden of the Gods and Colorado Springs. It is also designated by the federal government as a National Historic Landmark.
Pikes Peak is made up of pink granite known as Pikes Peak granite. Its pink color is attributed to a significant level of potassium feldspar.
Pikes Peak takes pride in its various visitor centers. To reach the mountain, visitors can take the Manitou and Pike’s Peak Railway, a cog railroad that operates from Manitou Springs to the summit. Cars can take the 19-mile partly paved Pikes Peak Highway. This road will be completely paved by 2012. Barr Trail is the most famous route to the summit where guests can walk, bike or hike the trail. Each year, more than half a million guests reach the summit house by the 19-mile Pikes Peak Highway; many of them take the Pikes Peak Cog Railway.
The mountain hosts three notable events. The 26-mile Pikes Peak Marathon is held every August, drawing many runners from across the world. The Pikes Peak Auto Hill Climb, an annual motorcycle and automobile hillclimb, and the AdAmAn Club New Years Fireworks display are also held in Pikes Peak.
Pikes Peak was first sighted by early Spanish settlers who initially named the site “El Capitan.” In 1806, Zebulon Pike, to whom the mountain was named, launched a failed expedition to reach the top. In 1820, Edwin James became the first European to reach the peak. Construction of the carriage road to the peak started in 1886 to 1888, and after a year or two came the construction of the Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railroad. In 1948, the Pikes Peak Highway was built as a toll road with the Department of Agriculture’s approval. Since June 1948, the highway has been ran by the City of Colorado Springs.
Pikes Peak summit has been the location of the US Army’s Pike’s Peak Research Laboratory, a medical research lab intended for the evaluation of the effects of high altitude on humans and medical parameters for the interest of the military. From 1939 to 1948, it was also the site of a ski resort.