Location: Front Range, Colorado
First Known Ascent: Dr. Edwin James and 2 others, July 14, 1820.
- The Tabeguache Band of the Ute Indians, who often camped in the valleys below the mountain, called it Tava or “Sun.” Tabeguache means “People of the Sun Mountain.”
- Pikes Peak is named for explorer Zebulon Pike, who described the mountain on an expedition in 1806 to determine the southern boundary of the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase. Pike, naming the mountain Grand Peak, attempted to climb it from the south but deep November snows thwarted his summit bid.
- The first recorded ascent was by Dr. Edwin James, a botanist on Major Stephen H. Long’s expedition, along with two others on July 14, 1820. James’ party set a forest fire on the way down, scorching thousands of acres. Major Long named the peak for Dr. James, but trappers and mountain men continued to call it Pikes Peak.
- Pikes Peak is the most visited high mountain in the United States, with over 500,000 people reaching the summit by hiking, climbing, driving, or cog railway.
- The Pikes Peak Marathon, a grueling test of running endurance, ascends 26 miles up and down Barr Trail every August. The day before the round-trip event is a one-way 13-mile race to the summit.
- In 1893 schoolteacher Katherine Lee Bates was so inspired by the view atop Pikes Peak that she wrote “America the Beautiful,” the unofficial hymn of the United States.
- ]”Pikes Peak or Bust” was the slogan of the 1858/1859 gold rush to the diggings west of today’s Denver near Central City. The slogan was painted on the sides of covered wagons. Yee-Haw!
- Pikes Peak rises 7,800 feet in 7.25 miles from the town of Manitou Springs at its eastern base. This is the greatest elevation rise from base to summit of any Colorado mountain.
- Hikers ascend Pikes Peak by the 13-mile-long Barr Trail on its east side or via an 8-mile trail that begins at The Crags and runs up its northwest flank.
- Many granite cliffs, found on Pikes Peak above timberline, offer excellent rock climbing adventures. These cliffs include The Pericle, Bigger Bagger, and Corinthian Column.