Pikes Peak, standing east of the main bulk of Colorado’s mountains, is the historic landmark of the southern Rockies, and with a 14,115-foot summit, dominates the landscape like no other Colorado peak. The conspicuous mountain, easily seen from over 100 miles away, was a symbol and beacon for prospectors and pioneers journeying westward in the famed 1850s, “Pikes Peak or Bust” gold rush to the mines west of Denver.
The summit of the great peak, once thought unclimbable by explorer Lieutenant Zebulon Pike and his small party in late November 1806, is now reached by more people every year—via trail, highway, and cog railroad—then any other high mountain in North America. Here’s a look at Pikes Peak by the numbers.
Miles is the length of the Pikes Peak Highway, which runs from Cascade in Ute Pass to the mountain’s summit. The highway, now maintained by the City of Colorado Springs, was built in 1916 for $500,000.
Pikes Peak Granite, the main rock that forms Pikes Peak, originated 1.05 billion years ago as a large mass of molten magma about 20 miles underground. It was later uplifted through the earth’s crust to form a huge domelike mountain.
Total visitors during 2014, with 313,227 driving up the Pikes Peak Highway, 275,864 riding the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway, and an estimated 25,000 hikers. Pikes Peak is the most visited mountain in North America and is reputedly second in the world next to Mount Fuji in Japan.
Feet that Pikes Peak rises in 7.25 miles from the town of Manitou Springs at its eastern base to the summit. This is the greatest elevation rise from base to summit of any Colorado mountain.
Pikes Peak is the 53rd highest mountain in North America.
Miles is the length of Barr Trail, a designated National Recreation Trail that runs from Manitou Springs to the summit of Pikes Peak. It was built as a burro trail by Fred Barr between 1914 and 1918.
The number of days that Texan Bill Williams spent pushing a peanut up the Pikes Peak Highway with his nose in March and April, 1929. Williams wore out 150 peanuts, 12 pairs of gloves, and three pairs of shoes during his schnoz ascent.
Number of times that Matt Carpenter won the round-trip Pikes Peak Marathon, the third oldest marathon race in the United States. Carpenter won the grueling 26.2-mile race between 1988 and 2011, including six times in a row from 2006 to 2011. He set the course record of 3:33:07 in 2006.
The Broadmoor Cog Railway, beginning service in 1889, runs 8.9 miles from its depot in Manitou Springs to the summit of Pikes Peak. It’s the highest railway in North America.
The women’s round-trip record for the Pikes Peak Marathon of 4 hours, 15 minutes, and 18 seconds was set by New Mexican long-distance runner Lynn Bjorklund in 1981. The Marathon was the first American marathon to allow women to race, beginning in 1956.
Price of a single world-famous donut served in the summit house. The high-altitude cake donuts are made light and fluffy with a secret recipe that won’t work below 14,000 feet. Grab a cup of coffee and six donuts for five bucks, then relax and enjoy the amber waves of grain far below.
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