Headed to Colorado? The Pikes Peak Highway entrance is located 15 minutes west of Colorado Springs on Highway 24. The beauty of being so close to the city is that you can spend your time enjoying the mountain instead of getting to the mountains. Plan for your round trip journey to the summit to take at least 2-3 hours depending on how many photos you take.
The safe - scenic highway provides you the opportunity to enjoy Pikes Peak at your leisure. The entrance area elevation is 7,400 feet, you’ll encounter some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world as you wind your way through the historic alpine wonderland of scenery, you will find mountain reservoirs, beyond timberline, sometimes even overtaking the clouds. Along the way to the 14,115 foot summit. Which by the way is not the highest mountain in Colorado.
Along the way, you’ll discover the North Slope Recreation Area, Crystal Reservoir Gift Shop, Historic Glen Cove Inn, and the Summit House. There are three lakes for fishing, picnic areas, hiking trails, and breathtaking views.
Pikes Peak is not a volcano and has never been one. The granite rock which the mountain is made was once hot molten rock located as deep as 20 miles beneath the earth's surface. The molten rock hardened, and the cooled below the earth's surface over one billion years ago. Great forces within the earth's crust pushed the rocks upward through a process called uplifting which created a dome-shaped mountain covered with a thick layer of soil and softer rock.
Erosion and weathering loosened the softer layers and carried them away. After hundreds of thousands of years of erosion and weathering, a tall granite mountain lay exposed like a large piece of stone waiting for the sculptor to shape it. Anyone seeing this ancient mountain would not have recognized it as the mountain we know today as Pikes Peak. It took the movement of huge glaciers that once existed on the peak to sculpt the mountain. The ice glaciers lasted about one million years and that ice age ended around 11,000 years ago.
Acting like a giant cookie cutter, the powerful bodies of ice gouged out the rock and left deep, straight-walled basins like the Bottomless Pit with its sharp drop of 1700 feet. The u-shaped canyons that lead down Pikes Peak were carved by the following "rivers of ice". Other v-shaped valleys owe their existence to ordinary streams.