Pikes Peak

On July 4th, I got to do something I had always wanted to do for the longest time. And that is to climb Pikes Peak on Independence Day! While most people were fast asleep, Danielle and I were on our way to the trailhead around 3am that morning in order to get a good early start as well as a decent parking spot. Here’s some more info about the hike:

  • Date Hiked: July 4th, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: 14 Miles
  • Route: Northwest Slopes via the Crags Trail. Class 2
  • Total Elevation Change: 4,300 Feet
  • Summit Elevation: 14,115 Feet

Getting There

The shortest route up Pikes Peak is accessed from the Crags Trailhead located not too far from Divide, Colorado. While driving on US Route 24, you will want to keep an eye out for Colorado 67 as it does come up rather quickly.

After turning onto Colorado 67 and driving for about four miles, stay on it until after you pass Mueller State Park and you will see a dirt road on the left side that you will want to take. This dirt road is windy and will take you through the Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp on the way to the trailhead parking lot about three miles later.

The Journey

Shortly after 5:30am, we began the journey to the summit. The trail starts out crossing the peaceful Fourmile Creek and it felt tranquil to walk through the forest as many birds were beginning to sing.

Fourmile Creek at the start of the trail.

After a couple miles, the trail begins to get noticeably steeper. It was also pretty cool to be up at the edge of treeline right as the sun was beginning to rise.

The sun beginning to rise on July 4th, 2019.
The view to the west a little later.

Pretty soon, we found ourselves above treeline. The views were starting to really open up now. More people were also starting to ascend the trail too. Slowly but steadily, we were making progress towards Devil’s Playground!

Danielle ascending through one of the steeper areas above treeline.
Pretty nice above treeline.
The trail as it zigzags through the terrain.

Hiking above treeline was a lot of fun throughout this hike. The scenery always seemed to be changing and it was just truly remarkable to finally be able to experience it.

The trail as it goes through some cool rock formations.

When we reached the Devil’s Playground, the trail began to get a lot more interesting. While staying parallel to the road to the summit, the trail starts to get much more rockier and the summit even comes into view too. Only one patch of snow was still on the trail, but it was pretty easy to hike through it.

Looking out towards the surrounding smaller peaks with the plains in the distance.
They call them the Rocky Mountains for a reason.
The route ahead.
The Pikes Peak road down below.

The final portion of the hike just below the summit definitely requires a lot of good concentration in order to stay on the trail. Although cairns lead the way, we made sure to take our time during this stretch.

Finally getting close!

And after what seemed like an eternity, we finally made it to the summit!

The Summit

The views at the top are just so incredible. To the east, Colorado Springs and endless views of the plains are visible. And to the west, the views of nothing but mountains greets you. Being at the summit of America’s mountain was truly a remarkable feeling and we were just so proud of ourselves for actually getting out and making it to the summit.

We stayed up on the summit for about an hour and went into the Pikes Peak Summit House to eat some Cheeseburgers before heading back outside to take some more photos.

Looking to the northeast.
We even made custom shirts for this remarkable occasion!

The Return Trip

We left the summit at a perfect time because a thunderstorm was beginning to develop directly over Colorado Springs. About 45 minutes after we had left the summit, the storm would continue to grow and eventually move up and over the top of the peak.

Luckily, we were far enough away when all of that happened!

Further down, we also saw a mountain goat hanging in a super steep area.

A mountain goat hanging out.
Love this photo!

The only thing I regret about this whole excursion was forgetting to bring sunscreen.

But aside from that, it was truly a July 4th I’ll never forget!

Author: David Higham

Spending time in nature calms my soul.

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