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Southwest USA 2001
Colorado

(Page 2 of 6)

  

Pike's Peak

  

In the USA, they love building roads up to the tops of mountains, and Colorado is no exception.

We drove up to the top of Pike's Peak, near Colorado Springs. The road ascends from an elevation of 7600 feet to the top of Pike's Peak at 13,665 feet, an elevation gain of 6065 feet (more than a vertical mile) over a distance of 19 miles!

This is part way up, looking up towards the top, which is the rightmost peak visible here. 

 

  
There are many switchbacks along the road, as it twists and turns up the mountain.

When you come down, you must stop half way down and have your brakes checked. If they're too hot, they won't let you continue until they cool down.

 

  

The road ascends at a constant grade of 9%, which is fairly steep.

This is near the top, well above treeline.

 

  
One of the many spectacular views along the way.  I couldn't look at much of the scenery - I was concentrating on staying on the narrow road.
  

There are no guardrails anywhere along the road. Often there's a scary drop off over the edge of 1000-2000 feet or more.

The speed limit is 20 or 25 mph. But having a speed limit is almost redundant - I certainly had no urge to go any faster, either up or down. The edge was too close.

 

  
There is a cog railway up to the top. That would be quite a trip.

The mist that you see in the near distance is actually snow - it snowed while we were up here.

  

Another log view from the top. 

It's too far away to make out in the photo, but from the top you can see Colorado Springs in the far distant plain below, about 1 1/2 vertical miles below.

Quite a drive! A real white-knuckle ride, but we would do it again!

 

  

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