There is nothing quite like the breathtaking view of Pikes Peak Mountain, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The natural beauty of this mountain will astound you. At 14,110 feet above sea level, it is the highest peak in Colorado. It is also the most visited mountain in North America, and the second most visited mountain in the world, coming in behind Japans Mount Fugi.
Pikes Peak was named after Zebulon Pike, who was the first man to document and attempt to climb to the mountains summit. His attempt failed, it is assumed because he was attempting in the winter weather. Later Edwin James was able to reach the summit, doing so in the summer.
Pikes Peak is an excellent vacation destination. There are a variety of attractions to attend. Most of which are open year round. A few examples would be the Academy Riding Stables, Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, Ghost Town Museum, Western Museum of Mining and Industry, The Garden of Gods Trading Post, Iron Springs Melodrama Dinner Theater and the Echo Canyon River. Along with plenty of others.
There are also other outdoor recreational things to do at Pikes Peak. There is hiking and picnicking at the Crowe Gulch Picnic Area, the 14 mile Elk Park Trail, 18 miles of wildlife viewing, and self propelled non gasoline boats called Bellyboats on the Crystal Reservoir. From May until October 17, fishing is allowed.
There is plenty of wildlife that lives within this mountain. Three of the most noted are the Yellow-Bellied Marmot (also known at the whistle pig), the Bighorn Sheep, and the Black Bear.
The Yellow-Bellied Marmot is a close relative of the woodchuck and the largest of the squirrel family. The marmots are no danger to you, as they prefer flower stalks and assorted grasses to dine on.
The Big Horn Sheep is the state animal of Colorado. The rams weight 150-250 pounds, and ewes weight 125-200 pounds. Pikes Peak has a herd of about 300 head that stay near the timberline year round.
The Black Bear is the largest carnivore, weighing between 200-450 pounds. Bears will eat anything in good supply – fruit, nuts, honey, young deer, elk, birds, eggs and insects. Unless you want to be dinner…….watch out !!!
If you should decide to make Pikes Peak your vacation destination, remember that when heading to the mountains some people may experience high altitude sickness. Peaks rise over 14,000 feet and most attractions are at least 7,000 feet above sea level. Often visitors will experience a headache, nausea or shortness of breath. Altitude sickness can be minimized or prevented by doing a few simple things. Try and stay below 7,000 feet on your first day, and then work your way up to higher altitudes, giving your body time to adjust. There is a lot to see and do at the lower levels. Your body will dehydrate more quickly so be certain and drink more water.
Putting all of the wonderful sights and attractions aside. One of the most memorable and most patriotic things about Pikes Peak is that this is where Katharine Lee Bates was inspired to write the famous words to “America the Beautiful” in July of 1893. She had traveled to the top of Pikes Peak on a carriage ride, and while admiring the beauty the words began coming to her. Later that night she wrote the words sitting in her hotel room. At the summit of the mountain, there is a plaque commemorating that says “America the Beautiful”.
She could not of picked better words because Pikes Peak truly is, AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL.