Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pikes Peak by Cog Railway

One of my favorite things about moving is exploring our new home town. My parents came into town for the long weekend, so we took full advantage by knocking a few things off our Colorado Springs to do list. (Plus the extra set of hands means we can try things with H we may not want to do on our own.)

Pikes Peak was at the top of our to do list. We needed to head up to the top before the first snow or the outing would have to be rescheduled for next spring. You can hike, drive, or ride up to the top of Pikes Peak. We hope to do all three while we are here, but figured the Cog Railway was a good one to start with.

The Cog Railway leaves out of Manitou Springs, an adorable little town. We spent part of the day walking through town doing some window shopping. Jeff tried water out of all the drinking springs - and reported that they all tasted a little "off." We didn't try any of the restaurants in Manitou but I sure made a list of places to try in the future. We also happened to be there the weekend of the Commonwheel Artist Festival. We stopped by to check everything out. Although we didn't purchase anything (except a few children's books from the library tent) we enjoyed the music, activities and wide variety of art. It was a perfect fall day, so any excuse to be outside a little longer....

Anyway, back to Pikes Peak. You will need reservations for the Cog Railway in advance. (They were sold out for all trains this weekend except the early morning one.) There is reserved parking, which is hard to find in Manitou, so cruise on up the hill to the parking lot (which also happens to be the start of the Manitou Incline.) Once you check in and get your tickets there is a short introductory video you can watch before boarding your car and heading up the mountain. The trip is 3 hours round trip, with about 30 min at the top and is narrated on the way up. The scenery is beautiful, so although the ride is long, you won't be bored.

We packed a lunch to bring to the top. We found seats inside and enjoyed lunch plus a Pikes Peak Donut. It was freezing at the top so we were glad to be bundled up and lucky to find a seat inside. Make sure to print a coupon for a free donut for everyone in your group - not only will this save you a few bucks, they let us skip the checkout line and just hand over our coupons. The views from the top are amazing, although we were all feeling a bit lightheaded and out of breath.

I'm going to have to work on acclimating a bit more before our next trip!

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