From the base to the top, the changes were many around America’s Mountain this summer. But despite them, or perhaps because of them, more people than ever have visited Pikes Peak this year.

A record 527,696 people have journeyed up the Pikes Peak Highway so far in 2018, as of Sept. 30. That’s up from last year’s annual count of 498,722, as announced Wednesday by Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, the enterprise of the city of Colorado Springs.

The uptick was expected due to the closure of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Jack Glavan, manager of the enterprise, said in a press release.

Pikes Peak Traffic
Pikes Peak visitors by month. Media Credit: Pikes Peak via Gazette.

Other than by trail, the highway was the only route to the top this summer, and it remains so for the foreseeable future. The Cog’s owners are weighing the possibility of rebuilding the railway as the city of Manitou Springs considers a tax-incentive deal.

“Not only is this the most traffic the highway has ever seen, but hundreds of thousands of visitors reached the peak via shuttle, which launched in June,” Glavan said.

That transportation decision was made because of construction limiting parking on the mountaintop. The new Summit Complex, replacing the aging gift shop and restaurant at 14,115 feet, is scheduled to be built through fall 2020.

Glavan said the shuttle service, funded through Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, “went as smooth as it could in its first year.” The free rides will continue through winter on a limited weekend basis.

Pikes Peak visitation has nearly doubled in the last decade. In 2009, the city’s count was 273,005.

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