Yesterday we went on the Pikes Peak Highway. We were excited to do something that none of us had ever done despite living in Colorado most of my 48 years of life! While the views were breathtaking, I have to tell you that my impressions were in general very poor.
First of all, it’s expensive. They charge per person instead of per vehicle. Something that frustrates me is public places being priced out of the grasp of the average family. We paid $39 to drive past the toll booth. For context, it costs $20 to get into Rocky Mountain National Park for one day.
There's no arguing that the views driving up aren't exhilarating! The summit is basically a bare parking lot with so much trash, it’s heartbreaking. Step to the edges and you know why you came. For sure. It’s amazing!
However, the bathrooms inside the gift shop were filthy. The gift shop itself is tiny. Not a big deal until the cog train arrives, then it's oppressive. If you're claustrophobic, forget about it!
The employee who checked us out was bragging to the guy in front of me that the employees have competitions to see who could drive up and down the mountain the fastest. Unless you've been there and driven the road, you won't understand the audacity of that admission.
The trip down was also mainly uneventful other than following a big diesel truck all the way down despite several stops including those meant simply to get away from said truck. It was the proverbial bad penny although I’m sure the people were nice enough! The contrail was not!
While on our stops, we visited with the rangers, picked up miscellaneous trash we saw (both on the top and along the way…makes me sad) and when people would come up from behind, we'd pull over letting them go past...we weren't in a hurry and didn't want to feel pressure to go too fast.
After several attempts to avoid the diesel truck, we came up on it and it as stopped in the road taking pictures. As we started driving again, I begged my husband to just go past it. It was making all of us inside the car, especially our daughter, sick.
Anyway, as we approached the building where we'd paid to get in, I asked my husband to stop and get a couple of maps to keep as souvenirs.
When he got back in the car, he said that the female ranger he’d talked to had told him that she'd received four complaints about us passing people (plural). And she was really nasty about it too.
Where my husband is calm and rational, I’m fiery and passionate. After the visit we’d had, those we’d let pass, the diesel fumes, the trash we’d picked up, generally been good visitors, the injustice was too much. I made him go back so that I could give her a piece of my mind. I didn't yell, I didn't use bad language, but I basically told her what I thought of that little piece of business.
At the very least, we were a paying guest. We could have been gently reminded of the rules. In my interaction with the establishment since, it turns out that the calls they received were for a “dark blue” van. Ours is grey.
I have no doubt that there was one call regarding us going past the truck. And I stand by our going past it. We were able to see the road ahead and didn’t endanger anyone. It wasn’t a race, and we weren’t doing it simply to get down faster.
I'll spare you the details of my conversation with the ranger, but I will never ever go back. We’ve been all over the state of Colorado and never been treated like this. And while being charged more than a little? No thank you. There are many places you can see sweeping vistas and such.
After doing some research, we found better instructions to the trail head. It seems the parking area has been closed. Probably due to the Waldo canyon fire that shut the other trails up there down. We're going to try walking in maybe next weekend. I'll post again then
Too many people. In parking lot at the top exhaust fumes from all the cars will have you gasping for air, if you weren't already from lack of oxygen. In spite of that, the views are awe inspiring and if you hike away from the road and the very damaged ecosystem it is very beautiful. Maybe it is a good thing that most people will never make it that high into the mountains. The delicate ecosystem above timberline can't handle the abuse. The whole trip made me sad. I'll never drive to the top of a mountain again. Hiked it in my 20's. I guess I'll aspire to that again in the future.
Beautiful drive... we went during the beginning of February so the restaurant at the top was closed. We went 19 miles into the park. The last mile was closed due to road conditions which is understandable for that time of year. Unbeatable views for as far as the eyes can see!
Melissa M. on Pikes Peak Highway: Cascade to the ...
Stunning scenery! At times my fear of heights kicked in towards the top. But! The entire trip to the summit is well worth those 3 or 4 times I found myself gripping the seat. The reservoirs, the trees, the fresh smelling air...beautiful!!
Such an amazing drive with wonderful sceneries. I just moved from California, and I never understood why my husband was always raving about Pikes Peak until He drove me there. I have to admit that I have fear of heights, so the drive kind of scared me at certain spots. It was worth it, and will go back there again and again. Saw lots of mountain goats, marmot & chipmunks. Crystal Reservoir is a great place to stop & snap pictures.