Colorado has 58 mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet, known locally as “fourteeners” or “14ers.” This is more than any other state and includes the 14,115-foot Pikes Peak, where standing at the summit in 1893 inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write the poem “America” that today is known as the song “America the Beautiful.”
Conquering a 14er is usually quite the process, but fortunately for groups, Pikes Peak is one of the most accessible. Reach it by car, guided tour, bike, hike, or The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which was originally built in 1891 and has been owned and operated by The Broadmoor since 1925. It’s the highest railroad in America, the highest cog railway in the world, and one of Colorado’s top attractions. The railway reopened last May after a $100 million renovation of the tracks, cogs, railcars, and depot.
Treat the most adventurous on your team to Broadmoor Outfitter’s new Cog Up/Bike Down that involves taking the train up to the top and biking down Pikes Peak Highway, which translates into a 19.5-mile guided downhill ride with an elevation drop of more than 7,000 feet. There is a safety briefing while guests gear up with full face helmets, elbow and knee pads, gloves, high-visibility vests, and custom-built GT 29-inch cruiser bicycles. While open to most ability levels, some biking experience is required.
Another option is hiking up or down the 13-mile Barr Trail, with the cog railway available to ride in either direction. Or simply ride both ways for the ultimate relaxation and scenic views.
Make time to visit or meet in Manitou Springs, situated at the base of Pikes Peak. Located only 6 miles from downtown Colorado Springs, the community has been a tourist town since the 1870s, when visitors discovered the healing waters the Ute Indians had been drinking for years. Today, there are eight naturally carbonated mineral drinking springs—each with its own unique taste—that can be visited at no cost. The Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau provides complimentary reusable spring water cups, maps, and detailed charts of the mineral makeup of each spring. Manitou Cliff Dwellings and Cave of the Winds Mountain Park also are popular attractions to consider.
Reach new heights with your group with an outing that is sure to inspire with fantastic views and memorable experiences.