Is It Worth It?

Is It Worth It?
Is It Worth It?

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Is It Worth It?: Pikes Peak Cog Railway



There are a number of ways to get to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado. You could hike, you could drive up the steep highway, or you could take the Cog Railway.  If you choose the latter, your journey begins weeks in advance as we highly recommend purchasing your tickets ahead of time. We almost missed out on the opportunity to ride the railway as there were only a few tickets left on a very specific night, at a very specific time. Tickets are easy to purchase (click here) and we do also recommend paying the extra $5 for parking.

Upon arrival at the Cog Railway Station, you will pick up your tickets from an old fashion window and make your way down to the platform with the rest of the crowd. The railway advises all passengers arrive 30 minutes before departure, however, we would argue you need more like 45 minutes to park and use the restroom before your 1.5 hour journey to the summit.






Around the platform there are shops for travel merchandise, sweatshirts (BRING YOUR OWN!), and a convenice store for food and drinks. The station highly recommends purchasing bottled water for your ascent, but we did just fine with a filled up camelbak bag.



Make note of the train name on your ticket as the time slot you are registered for are divided into two different trains.

When it comes time to board, you will feel as though you are traveling back in time as you sit on rather uncomfortable wooden benches and face your new friends for the next 3 hours. Fortunately for us, we were able to socialize with locals who provided great food recommendations and a retired couple who shared our love of travel and donuts.


One down side to our journey was an afternoon thunderstorm. Fortunately, the windows are manual and move up and down via the silver knobs you see above. Do note, having all of the windows up makes for a stuffy ride. Our group left ours down most of the way, with the exception of a good rainfall towards the summit.





 Along the journey you will be entired by a travel guide who will share with you history and facts of Pikes Peak and the cog railway. For example, the railway tops out at 9 mph and Pikes Peak does not have an apostrophe due to Colorado law! Additionally, your travel guide will entertain you with and overload of pun based jokes (e.g., if you see a male deer up here, you'll owe me a buck! *ba-dum-tis*). Don't worry, if puns are not your favorite you can always get lost in the scenary out your window.



 Upon arriving at the summit, you wait in single file line as you exit the train and take in the beauty all around you. Unfortanately for us, it was a stormy afternoon. Fortunately for us that meant we were greeted by a beautiful rainbow.



At the summit of Pikes Peak you are given between 20 and 30 minutes to explore. Don't worry, when time is close to up they blow three loud train whistles. While most people use this time to run to the restroom and get one of the "World Famous Donuts," we quickly made our way to the view. And what a view it was.





Did you know the views on the way to to the summit of Pikes Peak inspired "America The Beautiful?" It's not hard to see why.


After taking in the beautiful views we decided we should check out one of these "World Famous Donuts" and decided to head inside to stand in the unbelieveably long line. With this long of a line, you would think the donuts would be incredible.


As it turns out, they weren't. While everyone talked about the specific way in which they make them at such high altitude, we were more amazed at how greasy they were. Were the "World Famous Donuts" worth it? No.


After an obligatory photo at the summit, it was time to begin our descent to Manituo Springs.  On the way down, your tour guide is more reticent and that's okay. You spend the 1 hour journey down discussing how beautiful the view was, how accomplished you feel, and you share your photos with your new found friends in Colorado.



So, was the Pikes Peak Cog Railway worth it? Would we do it again?

Yes, however next time, we'd buy our tickets more in advance and hope for clearer skies.  



5 comments

  1. It looks amazing! shame about the doughnuts but I bet the trip was still worth it

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  2. A valley of Rainbow - that something you don't see everyday. xx

    www.annanuttall.com

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  3. Gorgeous photos. I wonder why there was a law about an apostrophe. Haha!

    Mimi | According to Mimi

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  4. They didn't say they were good donuts, just "world famous"! Love the rainbow--not everyone gets to experience that.

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  5. We went two years ago at the end of May and we only were able to make it 3/4th of the way up, due to the train being surrounded by 5 feet of snow. It was still worth it, but I would have loved to see what you saw at the summit!

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