Pikes Peak | WWF

The 2nd most popular mountain in the world

What and where?
Pikes Peak is the most eastern big mountain in the Rocky Mountains range, located 10 miles west of Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is named after Zebulon Montgomery Pike who first attempted to climb the mountain in 1806. The first man to successfully climb the peak was Dr. Edwin James in 1820.

It is the most visited mountain in North America and the 2nd most visited mountain in the world behind Japan's Mount Fuji. Pikes Peak forms a stunning backdrop for Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods. At an altitude of 4,300m above sea level, Pikes Peak is the 31st highest peak of Colorado's 54 peaks.

Its location contributed to its early fame among explorers, pioneers and immigrants and made it the symbol of the 1859 Gold Rush to Colorado with the slogan, 'Pikes Peak or Bust'. Pikes Peak is a federally designated National Historic Landmark.

More than 500,000 people reach the summit house every year by the Pikes Peak Highway, Barr Trail or the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. The 19-mile Pikes Peak Highway, paved part of the way, is open year round, weather permitting. Barr Trail is the longest of any trails leading to the top of the 54 mountains in Colorado over 14,000 feet, and offers the greatest base-to-summit elevation gain in the state at just over 2,500m. Unlike most other similarly tall mountains in Colorado, it serves as a visible landmark for many miles to the east, far into the Great Plains of Colorado.

About 15,000 people a year attempt to climb Pikes Peak on foot. The 13-mile trail begins at the base of Pikes Peak in Manitou Springs. Each year the Pikes Peak Marathon, a 26 mile round trip foot race up Barr Trail and then back down each August, draws thousands of runners from all over the world. It is also the site of a famous annual automobile race, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb or 'Race to the Clouds'.
    © iStockPhoto / Steve Krull
The grand red spires of the Garden of the Gods Colorado with majestic snow covered Pikes Peak in the background.
© iStockPhoto / Steve Krull