Pikes Peak towers 14,000 feet over the Colorado terrain in Pike National Forest. It sits about 12 miles outside of Colorado Springs and is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The town of Manitou Springs lies at the foot of the mountain.
More than 600,000 visitors come from all over the world to reach the top of the mountain and enjoy the stunning scenery each year. The area has become a popular tourist destination with a variety of natural and historic attractions. Pikes Peak makes the perfect destination for a day trip from Denver!
How to get to Pikes Peak from Denver?
Pikes Peak sits about 100 miles directly south of Denver. The two cities are accessible by multiple major highways, making it extremely simple to travel between them. You can drive, take a train or book a guided tour.
From Denver to Pikes Peak by car
The jaunt from Denver to Pikes Peak takes between two and three hours in a car, depending on your route and traffic. You can drive an almost straight shot on I-25 S, or you can take the more scenic route on the Pikes Peak Toll Road. Either way, you can enjoy the Colorado views on your day trip to Pikes Peak.
From Denver to Pikes Peak by public transportation
Traveling from Denver to Pikes Peak without a car can be tricky. A company called Bustang operates a variety of bus routes throughout Colorado. You can take the South Line from Denver to Colorado Springs. This portion of the journey takes about two hours and costs US$12.
From Colorado Springs, you must then travel a little less than one hour via taxi to Pikes Peak. This portion of the journey is the most expensive part and typically costs from US$70 to US$90. After visiting the mountain, you would then take the same route back to Denver.
Guided tour to Pikes Peak from Denver
Perhaps the most simple way to reach Pikes Peak from Denver is on a guided tour. These tours transport you to and from Denver, provide a guide and driver, free time to explore the area and occasionally some attraction entrance fees.
Guided tours remove the stress that comes with travel planning and allows you to sit back, relax and enjoy the journey to Pikes Peak!
How much does the entrance ticket to Pikes Peak cost?
The Pikes Peak entrance fee can change based on the time of year that you visit. From May 1 to the end of November, entry for adults cost US$15 and children US$5. Your carload can get a discounted rate for up to five passengers.
If you visit Pikes Peak on a day tour, your group may receive a discounted rate. The entrance fee is usually included in the price you pay for your tour, but it is best to confirm with the operator ahead of time.
What is the typical itinerary of a day tour to Pikes Peak from Denver?
Since traveling from Denver to Pikes Peak takes two to three hours, most day trips last eight to nine hours. You will either meet at a common location in Denver, or your tour operator will pick you up directly from your accommodation. The group then heads south towards the mountain!
The tour will first stop at the red rock formations in the Garden of the Gods. You will have time to walk around, explore the formations and take photos. You do not have to pay to enter the Garden of the Gods. From there, you will make your way to Pikes Peak. You can walk, hike or take the train to the top of the mountain.
The group will make its way back to Denver after stopping at Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. Some tours will take you past Manitou Springs or Colorado Springs on the journey home.
Your driver will drop you off at the meeting spot or take you directly to your accommodation. Confirm with your tour operator ahead of time to avoid confusion!
What kinds of tours are available to go to Pikes Peak?
If you decide to take a guided tour from Denver to Pikes Peak, you have plenty of options to choose from. Each tour provides you with a slightly different experience, so you should try to find the one that checks off all of your boxes!
The most common tours from Denver to Pikes Peak include day tours and private tours.
Day tour to Pikes Peak plus Garden of the Gods from Denver
Each day tour will take you from Denver to Pikes Peak with a stop at Garden of the Gods along the way. Day trips provide the perfect opportunity to meet people from all over the world in your tour group. Your booking includes round-trip transportation, entrance fees, a driver and a tour guide.
Private tour to Pikes Peak plus Garden of the Gods from Denver
Private tours let you experience all that Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods have to offer with a bit of privacy. Instead of booking a trip with other travelers, you will only travel with the people you choose to include in your group.
These tours typically follow the same itinerary as day tours, but they provide more scheduling flexibility. Private tours are cost-effective for small groups of people because you pay a flat rate per group, not per person.
How much does a tour to Pikes Peak from Denver cost?
The cost of a day tour from Denver to Pikes Peak varies based on how long the tour lasts, how many stops the group makes, whether or not it is a private tour and which tour operator your select. The prices usually range anywhere from US$139 to US$1,325.
The most budget-friendly option is a guided day trip from Denver for US$139 to US$210. You can book a private tour for a small group of people for anywhere from US$385 to US$1,325.
When booking a day trip, you should consider how much you want to spend, what sites you would like to visit and how many people you want in your group.
What will you see and do in Pikes Peak?
You can spend your free time at Pikes Peak exploring the area of traveling to the top of the mountain. You can reach the summit by hiking, driving, taking a train or biking.
The Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway is the world’s highest cog railway. It starts in the neighboring town of Manitou Springs and takes you to the summit. You can also drive to the summit on the Pikes Peak Highway.
These are great options if you are pressed on time or do not want to hike or bike to the top!
If you have time, you can also visit the nearby Garden of the Gods. The public park is a National Natural Landmark that boasts unique red rock formations. It is a popular place for outdoor activities like hiking, biking and horseback riding. The park has 21 miles of trails and attracts 2 million visitors each year.
These two attractions provide you with stunning scenery, breathtaking views and unique photo opportunities on your day trip from Denver!
When is Pikes Peak open over the year?
Pikes Peak is open to visitors year-round. The park may close during inclement weather, so it is best to call ahead before you visit. Park staff update the line before the park opens and as the weather changes throughout the day. You can call +1 (719) 385-7325 and select option 1 for current conditions.
What are the opening times?
The park opens at different times throughout the year. From the Friday before Memorial Day to Labor Day, the gates open at 7:30 AM. The uphill gate closes at 6:30 PM, Pikes Peak summit closes at 7:00 PM and the downhill gate closes at 8:00 PM.
The park opens later and closes earlier at other times of the year.
When is the best time to visit Pikes Peak?
Pikes Peak and the surrounding areas follow the standard four-season weather patterns. Summer is typically the peak tourist season and boasts average temperatures from 26 to 29 degrees Celsius. July and August receive the most precipitation throughout the year.
If you want to avoid crowds but still experience pleasant weather, consider visiting from March to May, or September to October. You will still get double-digit temperatures and sunshine without the huge crowds.
Be prepared for cooler temperatures if you plan to reach the summit! The top of the mountain has a polar climate and can see snow any time of the year. This is great for fun activities such as dog-sledding!
- Bring a jacket! The top of the mountain is much cooler than the base.
- Get your camera ready to take pictures from the summit and Garden of the Gods.
- Call the park ahead of time to check the local weather conditions.