Colorado Springs: Pikes Peak Mountain Sightseeing Bus Tour

Updated on May 13, 2018
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Flowers viewed going up Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs.
Flowers viewed going up Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. | Source

America the Beautiful

This towering mountain in Colorado Springs dominates the landscape. Naturally, when my mother and I were visiting Colorado Springs while on vacation one year, we wanted to see the top of this "purple mountain majesty" and did so by purchasing tickets on a Gray Line sightseeing bus tour.

Why was the term "purple mountain" used?

For those who might not know, the well-known anthem "America the Beautiful" was inspired when Katharine Lee Bates gazed at the wonder of Pikes Peak which is over 14,000 feet in elevation. She was a professor of English literature at Wellesley College who happened to ride to the top of this Pikes Peak in a wagon in the year 1893.

Purple Mountain Majesty
Purple Mountain Majesty | Source

The words of the first verse of "America the Beautiful" are as follows:

"O beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain. For purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed His grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea."

It is such a beautiful song, and Pikes Peak is an appropriately beautiful sight!

Bierstadt painting of Pikes Peak
Bierstadt painting of Pikes Peak | Source

Pikes Peak

Driving up to the summit of Pikes Peak would have been a daunting task for one who is used to the flat topography of Houston, Texas. My mother and I were leasing a car while on this Colorado vacation and decided to just be a passenger on a Gray Line tour of this mountainous climb of over 6,710 feet. It is riddled with turn after turn on a graded road with some sheer drop-offs.

Once we started the ascent we were even happier that we had made that decision!

Pikes Peak highway from about 13,000 feet
Pikes Peak highway from about 13,000 feet | Source

Bus Tours

Often when on vacation we have taken advantage of bus tours when we are in new places. Not only do the bus drivers and tourism guides know the lay of the land but also impart information about what one is viewing.

The Gray Line tour that my mother and I chose to take to ascend Pikes Peak was well worth the money.

Crystal Reservoir Visitor Center
Crystal Reservoir Visitor Center | Source
Close-up of a columbine flower—the Colorado state flower.
Close-up of a columbine flower—the Colorado state flower. | Source

Crystal Reservoir

A stop was made part way up the mountain, at the mile six marker at the Crystal Reservoir visitor center. Stopping at this point in the ascent up Pikes Peak gives people a chance to see the beautiful Crystal Reservoir and walk around a bit to become more acclimatized to the altitude and purchase refreshments or use the restrooms if desired.

We took the time to ambulate, take photos, and generally enjoy the scenery.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
View of Crystal Reservoir on our way up Pikes Peak in Colorado.My mother and me with Crystal Reservoir in background.Photo taken at the Crystal River visitor center.
View of Crystal Reservoir on our way up Pikes Peak in Colorado.
View of Crystal Reservoir on our way up Pikes Peak in Colorado. | Source
My mother and me with Crystal Reservoir in background.
My mother and me with Crystal Reservoir in background. | Source
Photo taken at the Crystal River visitor center.
Photo taken at the Crystal River visitor center. | Source

Activities at Pikes Peak Mountain

At Crystal Reservoir it was easy to see that mountain climbing classes were being held. We saw quite a few people making their ascent with the help of instructors.

Hiking, fishing and boating is also enjoyed at this high elevation mountain lake and locale.

Mountain climbing classes at Crystal Reservoir
Mountain climbing classes at Crystal Reservoir | Source

Ascending Pikes Peak

Looking out the Gray Line bus windows towards the mountain as we were ascending Pikes Peak in July, we saw numerous blooming wildflowers amidst the rocks.

Scenery viewed from the bus windows going up Pikes Peak.
Scenery viewed from the bus windows going up Pikes Peak. | Source

Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

There are adventurous auto racers that race this road on an annual basis some of which is not even paved but gravel.

Crazy! That is my sole opinion after traveling up this mountainous road with the relative assurance of having a seasoned bus driver escorting us. That was scary enough for me!

1916 was the date of the first Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race.

The course is over 12 miles long and consists of 156 turns and just about 5,000 feet of elevation gain. There are very few relatively straight stretches of highway, and in those rare instances, some of the winning cars have exceeded 130 miles per hour!

For race car drivers such as the ones who compete in the Indianapolis 500, this is just another test of their skills and competence in handling their souped-up race cars.

Looking at a car venturing up Pikes Peak.
Looking at a car venturing up Pikes Peak. | Source
Pikes Peak Highway
Pikes Peak Highway | Source

Pikes Peak Summit

The air is thin at the summit of Pikes Peak. From that vantage point if the day is clear one can see as far as Kansas and even New Mexico. There is a restaurant/souvenir shop at that location that actually offers an oxygen bar for those people who are having a bit of difficulty in breathing.

Naturally, most people wish to have their pictures taken at that landmark location and my mother and I exchanged cameras with other tourists and snapped photos so that we could each take home proof of our having been to the summit of Pikes Peak.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Summit of Pikes Peak with my mother.
Summit of Pikes Peak with my mother.
Summit of Pikes Peak with my mother. | Source
Source
Monument to Olympic winners at the top of Pikes Peak.
Monument to Olympic winners at the top of Pikes Peak. | Source

Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Climbing nine miles up with a vertical ascent of 7,539 feet one can choose to get to the top of Pikes Peak by riding the highest cog railroad in the United States instead of driving or hiking.

Yes, some adventurous and athletic types really do choose to hike up Pikes Peak!

Many people ride this cog railway and see mountain scenery from that perspective.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
People arriving on the Pikes Peak cog railway.
People arriving on the Pikes Peak cog railway.
People arriving on the Pikes Peak cog railway. | Source
Source

Zebulon Pike

He was an explorer and soldier who attempted climbing the mountain in 1806. Pikes Peak now bears his name even though he never made it to the top.

His mapping of the area was most important and furthered exploration of the west.

View of the cog railway track and beautiful rainbow at the top of Pikes Peak.
View of the cog railway track and beautiful rainbow at the top of Pikes Peak. | Source
View from the top of Pikes Peak.
View from the top of Pikes Peak. | Source

As you can probably see from these Colorado Springs vacation pictures, a sightseeing bus tour of Pikes Peak or a cog railroad trip to the top makes for a unique experience.

One is rewarded with spectacular scenery as one travels through five different life zones. On a clear day it almost seems as though the horizon from this top of the world perspective is limitless.

Pikes Peak Mountain

A markerPikes Peak Mountain -
Pikes Peak, CO, USA
get directions

Have you visited Colorado Springs and gone to the top of Pikes Peak Mountain?

See results

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Peggy Woods

    Comments are most welcome!

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Thanks Au fait,

        It is interesting that you are using colors on your Pinterest boards. Thanks for the pin, 5 star rating and votes on this Pikes Peak hub.

      • Au fait profile image

        C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

        Gorgeous photos and videos! I didn't know America the Beautiful was referring to Pike's Peak as the 'purple mountain majesty.'

        You are so right when you say there are some crazy drivers racing around those sharp turns and roads with no guardrails to keep them from going over cliffs. Check out my article on the Colorado National Monument and read how they had to fish (usually teenage boys) out of the bottom of that canyon several times a year.

        Voted up, BAI, shared, and pinned to my 'Purple II' board -- because of the flowers. Also, 5 more stars!

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hello cclitgirl,

        We did have a great time seeing Pikes Peak and much of the Colorado Springs area. Thanks for your comment. Worried about the wildfires there that are threatening much of Colorado Springs this month of late June, 2o12. Do you still have anyone living there?

      • cclitgirl profile image

        Cynthia Calhoun 5 years ago from Western NC

        I'm a Colorado Springs native and have been to Pikes Peak several times. It looks like you had a great time! I'll have to link to this hub in one of my upcoming hubs. Thanks for sharing this. :)

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi KoffeeKlatch Gals,

        Often we would do that...take a sightseeing bus tour on new areas whether it was Pikes Peak or different areas of the country. Not only can one see more but generally one is advised of things that one might never have known if it were not for tours. That way the pictures have more meaning. Thanks for visiting this Colorado Springs hub.

      • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

        Susan Hazelton 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

        Great pictures and videos. I think going on a bus tour is a great relaxing way to go. When you are driving, you're missing so much of the scenery. On a bus tour you can sit back enjoy and take all the pictures you wish.

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hello Prasetio,

        You are always so complimentary and I appreciate your comments and vote. Glad that I could show you this Pikes Peak portion of our Colorado Springs vacation with pictures and words however inadequate. It is an experience going up and back down that mountain! Love and peace to you.

      • prasetio30 profile image

        prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

        Wow.... I find complete information about Colorado Spring Vocation. That's would be a great trip. You did it again, Peggy. I love your report and all stunning pictures here, including the video. Well done, my friend. I give my special vote to you. Take care!

        Love and peace,

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Billy,

        If you have not vacationed in the Colorado Springs area, there is much to see besides Pikes Peak...although that is the dominating mountain in the area. Colorado is such a beautiful state! Have more to write on that subject!

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hello glowingrocks,

        You must like Colorado from your comment. Thanks for commenting on our Colorado Springs vacation and sightseeing tour bus tour of Pikes Peak. Happy to have included the pictures that I took on that occasion.

      • billyaustindillon profile image

        billyaustindillon 7 years ago

        Pikes Peak I am totally unfamiliar with - thanks for the tour update, beautiful shots and I can see you and your family had a fun, fun time. Another great tour in your vacation series.

      • glowingrocks profile image

        glowingrocks 7 years ago from New York

        Colorado!Thanks for sharing

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hello ByChanceTV,

        That's great! Enjoy your Colorado Springs vacation and get some of your own pictures of Pikes Peak and the surrounding area. If you have not been there previously, you might wish to check out some of my other Colorado hubs to give you an idea of some the other sites that can be enjoyed while there. Thanks for the comment.

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Cheryl,

        Glad to hear that you enjoyed these pictures of the portion of our vacation we spent in Colorado Springs, specifically the sightseeing bus tour of Pikes Peak. Colorado Springs is such a scenic part of the beautiful State of Colorado. Thanks for the comment. Hope you get to see this in person someday.

      • Cheryl J. profile image

        Cheryl J. 7 years ago from Houston, TX

        Peggy,

        Another great hub on Colorada Springs vacation. You have memorable photos and great videos of this lovely place. I would love to take the bus tour to Pikes Peak. A great adventure.

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hello William,

        That would be a genuine concern for sure! hoping that one's brakes and gears of one's vehicle were in tip top shape as one descended Pikes Peak. That is another reason that my mother and I chose to take a sightseeing bus tour of Pikes Peak instead of doing the driving in a rented car. You must have some great memories from your days spent at Fort Carson. Thanks for your comment on this Colorado Springs hub.

      • William F. Torpey profile image

        William F Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

        I used to look at Pikes Peak every day, Peggy W, when I was stationed at Fort Carson in 1957. The only thing I remember now about driving to the summit of Pikes Peak was the apprehension I felt as I wondered when my brakes would hold on the long, scary ride down that mountain.

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Hello, hello,

        Indeed our world is a beautiful place. Thanks for looking at our Colorado Springs vacation photos of which our sightseeing bus tour of Pikes Peak was featured. Much to see and do in and around Colorado Springs! Appreciate your comments as always. :-)

      • Hello, hello, profile image

        Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

        Such a wonderful, wonderful world. Thank you for sharing it.

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi nifty@50,

        We have only visited and vacationed in Colorado. It would be wonderful to have been able to live there for the 4 years you mentioned. Am sure that you probably saw much more than just Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. Correct? Thanks for your comment.

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hello Om Paramapoonya,

        Glad in that case that you could tag along on this sightseeing bus tour of Pikes Peak. For sure that gets you out of your concrete jungle at least for a few moments while you gaze at these pictures of our Colorado Springs vacation. Thanks for the comment.

      • nifty@50 profile image

        nifty@50 7 years ago

        Lived in Colorado four years, always think of Pike's Peak. Thanks Peggy for sharing!

      • Om Paramapoonya profile image

        Om Paramapoonya 7 years ago

        What a peaceful and lovely place to be. As a poor girl stuck in a concrete jungle, I really appreciate this virtual tour. :)

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Thanks again, SUSIE DUZY! You must really like these pictures of Pikes Peak! :-)

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Pamela,

        Thanks for the votes up on this Colorado Springs vacation hub with pictures of our sightseeing bus tour going up Pikes Peak. Our country is so magnificent in scenery and it is nice to be able to share photos in this way with people who may never have visited places like this. Appreciate your comment.

      • SUSIE DUZY profile image

        SUSIE DUZY 7 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

        Great pics. good to see

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Gus,

        Glad to hear that you liked these pictures. The days my mother and I spent in Colorado on vacation were packed with sightseeing and memories. Happy to be able to share some of them here on HubPages. Thanks for the comment.

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hello Austinstar,

        I agree with you in that Colorado Springs is a beautiful place to visit and also a great vacation spot. So much to see and do! Pikes Peak certainly is one of those things to experience if there. Thanks for the comment.

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hello SUSIE DUZY,

        So happy that you enjoyed these pictures showing Pikes Peak and surrounding views as we ascended that tall mountain via our sightseeing bus tour. Thanks for the comment.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

        Peggy, This looks like an awesome vacation. I loved reading all your descriptions and seeing pictures and videos. You did a fantastic job on this hub. Voted/rated beautiful.

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hello Micky,

        So happy to hear that you enjoyed these pictures of Pikes Peak taken on my mother's and my Colorado Springs vacation some years ago. Thanks for the comment.

      • GusTheRedneck profile image

        Gustave Kilthau 7 years ago from USA

        Hi Peggy - Once again your photos are really fun to see.

        Gus :-)))

      • Peggy W profile image
        Author

        Peggy Woods 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi dahoglund,

        You nailed it on the head. Had I been doing the driving up Pikes Peak instead of being on that sightseeing bus tour, my eyes would have been GLUED to the road and I would have missed seeing much of the scenery. That was a highlight (the high part...for sure!) of our Colorado Springs vacation. Thanks for the first comment.

      • Austinstar profile image

        Lela 7 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

        Colorado Springs is a beautiful town and certainly in a beautiful location. I loved going there as a consultant. It would be fun to go back on a vacation.

      • SUSIE DUZY profile image

        SUSIE DUZY 7 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

        Beautiful pics. Thanks

      • Micky Dee profile image

        Micky Dee 7 years ago

        Very nice as always dear Peggy. You've found great videos too! Thank you and God bless you.

      • dahoglund profile image

        Don A. Hoglund 7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

        There are advantageous, at times, to taking the bus tours.When driving yourself it is often hard to really look at things without being distracted from the ddriving.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wanderwisdom.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://wanderwisdom.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)