Rocky Mountain High – Pike’s Peak Cog Railway

In the final hours of our sibling bachelor party weekend for my younger brother we found ourselves in the Manitou Springs area of Colorado after driving through Garden of the Gods National Park.  We attempted to drive up Pike’s Peak and were stopped at the main gate due to snow.  We decided to see if the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway was running and by golly it was.

Pike’s Peak boasts one of the oldest and highest “cog railways” in the United States.  (They are, it seems, jealous of New Hampshire’s cog train.) Riders can buy a relatively expensive ticket ($37) at the depot whilst enjoying some delicious roasted nuts and hot chocolate.  (I say hot chocolate because the coffee was terrible and cold. Boo.)

Big Horn Sheep, Yellow Bellied Marmots, Deer, Elk, and Bears live on Pike’s Peak and can be seen on the ride unless it is snowing!  As an alternative riders can relax and watch the beautiful rocky scenery go by as they are climbing/chugging/cogging up to 14,115 feet above sea level.  One will see gorgeous pine trees, waterfalls, aspen trees, and eventually a blank wild land too high to sustain much vegetation.  (I was slightly worried when I read the sign that said not to ride the train if you were pregnant, prone to heart disease, had difficulty breathing, etc etc etc.  I was worried I might not do well in the altitude but I felt great the entire time.)

The ride was about three hours with a thirty minute stop along the way.  Bring your jacket, gloves, and hat because the train is not heated and many of the passengers choose to open the windows for better photo taking.  Please remember to be a kind human and shut said window if your seat mates are getting hammered by the snow coming in through your window.  (Thank you!)

Have you ever taken an interesting train ride anywhere?  Have you ever ridden a cog train?


Pike’s Peak Cog Train Depot


Map in the depot


“All aboard!”


Tickets, hot chocolate, and a window seat!


Ever wondered what a cog looks like in the snow?


We are climbing!


A view from hanging out the window in the snow.



Just your friendly snow plow at aprox 9,000 feet elevation.  PacMan is going to eat that snow for dinner.


Still climbing


Snowing and cold but we were able to de-train (is that a word?) and walk around before heading back down the mountain.


Cold Feet

To read more about my Rocky Mountain adventures click here…