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Pikes Peak: 31st Highest Mountain in Colorado

Fast Facts About Pikes Peak


Pikes Peak: 31st Highest Mountain in Colorado

Snowcapped Pikes Peak towers above sandstone cliffs at the Garden of the Gods, Colorado.

Photo © Stewart M. Green Pikes Peak: 31st Highest Mountain in Colorado

Fresh snow blankets the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak, Colorado.

Photo © Stewart M. Green Pikes Peak: 31st Highest Mountain in Colorado

Pikes Peak towers above the Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Photograph © Stewart M. Green

Elevation: 14,115 feet (4,302 meters)

Prominence: 5,510 feet (1,679 meters)

Location: Front Range, Colorado

Coordinates: 38.83333 N /  -105.03333 W

First Known Ascent: Dr. Edwin James and 2 others, July 14, 1820.


Ute Indian Name

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.”

Named for Zebulon Pike

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.

First Known Ascent in 1920

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.

First Woman to Climb in 1858

Julia Archibald Holmes was the first recorded woman to climb Pikes Peak with her ascent on August 5, 1858. She was also the first woman to climb a Fourteener in Colorado. No other woman accomplished that feat for 23 years. Read Julia Archibald Holmes: First Woman to Climb Pikes Peak for the complete story about her landmark ascent.

Most Visited High Mountain in USA

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.

Pikes Peak Marathon

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.

"America the Beautiful" Song

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!

”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!

Rises 7,800 Feet from Base to Summit

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.

Two Major Trails to Summit

Hikers ascend Pikes Peak by the historic 13-mile-long Barr Trail on its east side or via the 8-mile-long Devils Playground Trail which begins at The Crags and runs up the northwest flank of Pikes Peak.

Granite Cliffs for Rock Climbing

Many granite cliffs, found on Pikes Peak above timberline, offer excellent rock climbing adventures. These cliffs include The Pericle, Bigger Bagger, and Corinthian Column.

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