Pikes Peak, Colorado

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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Early explorers who expressed doubts that Pike's Peak would ever be climbed would probably be surprised to learn that you can either drive to the top or take a train. Nevertheless, they can perhaps be forgiven because the most easily visible side is also the sheltered and glaciated side.

Distant view of Pikes Peak from the east.
Pikes Peak, ColoradoPikes Peak from Woodland Park These photos were taken in October, 2002. It was cool but pleasant at the base of the mountain but in the teens at the summit.
Pikes Peak, ColoradoLeft and below: the cog rail station in Manitou Springs.
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Pikes Peak, ColoradoThe central rack rail. Note the double rack design with offset teeth
Pikes Peak, ColoradoA cog from a locomotive. The offset tooth design provides smoother gear meshing and greater security.

However, guides on the train note that if all else fails, at the bottom of the track are two large springs: Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs. (Thank you, thank you, you're a great audience. Put the bat down, sir.)

Pikes Peak, Colorado The longest straight segment on the line.
Pikes Peak, ColoradoLeft and below: Spacious skies, check. Purple mountains' majesty, check. Fruited plain, check. It was the view from this vantage point that inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write "America the Beautiful."
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Pikes Peak, ColoradoTimberline.
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Pikes Peak, ColoradoLeft and below: at the summit looking north.
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Pikes Peak, ColoradoWhen they say "end of the line," they mean it.
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Below are panoramas from the summit looking north, east, south and west respectively. There is no single vantage point offering a complete 360-degree view.

Pikes Peak, ColoradoLeft and below, views of the summit terminal.
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Pikes Peak, ColoradoThe old summit terminal
Pikes Peak, ColoradoLooking west. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are on the skyline.
Pikes Peak, ColoradoThe steep north face of Pikes Peak, headwall of a cirque.
Pikes Peak, Colorado"In recognition of the notable career of Zebulon Montgomery Pike, soldier - explorer, the people of Colorado have placed this tablet on the summit of the great mountain first seen by Pike November 15, 1806. General Pike was born at Lamberton, now Trenton, New Jersey, January 5, 1779. Died April 27, 1813 after a victorious attack on York, later Toronto, Canada. Buried at Madison Barracks, New York. This tablet commemorates the one hundredth anniversary of Pike's southwestern expedition."
Pikes Peak, ColoradoLeft: boulder field on the summit.

Below: descending the mountain.

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Pikes Peak, ColoradoLeft and below: passengers who were laid back on the trip up are leaning forward on the way down, and vice versa.
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Pikes Peak, ColoradoThis is the longest straight stretch on the line.
Pikes Peak, ColoradoLeft and below: occasional spurs allow trains to pass. 
Pikes Peak, Colorado--
Pikes Peak, ColoradoJointed granite near Manitou Springs
Pikes Peak, ColoradoLeft and below: Victorian buildings in Manitou Springs.
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Pikes Peak, ColoradoLeft and below, antique steam locomotives formerly used on the Pikes Peak cog railroad. Note the tilted cabs and boilers.
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Pikes Peak, ColoradoPikes Peak Batholith along U.S. 24 west of Manitou Springs
Pikes Peak, ColoradoContact between gently dipping Paleozoic sandstone and Precambrian granite along U.S. 24 west of Manitou Springs.
Pikes Peak, ColoradoLeft and below: unconformity between Paleozoic sandstone and Precambrian granite just off U.S. 24 west of Manitou Springs.
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Created 14 July 2003, Last Update 01 July 2012

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