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How long for acclimatization before doing Pike's Peak?

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posts: 6
reviews: 2
How long for acclimatization before doing Pike's Peak?

We will be driving from Arkansas to Colorado Springs for two days. We are in our early 70's, and in good health, as far as we know. Would it be advisable to ride the cog to Pike's Peak the following day after our arrival?

Northport, NY
posts: 40
reviews: 34
11. Re: How long for acclimatization before doing Pike's Peak?

OK because I was born in St Croix and would give anything to live in Fairplay now (rather than NY) tha's not the reason I would recommend you read the site at the link from StCroix2. While there this summer we learned that you sould increase your height by 1000 ft each day, however, the caveat is that it matters were you are sleeping-not so much where you are during the day. So, give yourself a day ad then go but do not plan to be able to take any train back. You must ride down on the train that brought you up (the give you a half hour at the top) You can go to the Pikes Peak site online and pick up a coupon for a free donut (each) and be SURE to take warm clothing as well as water. In August it was 40 degrees at the top.

posts: 6
reviews: 2
12. Re: How long for acclimatization before doing Pike's Peak?

We made the trip to Pike's Peak by cog railway just fine. I wasn't bothered at all by the high altitude. My husband experienced a little dizziness at first, but it passed in just a few minutes. We also went to Silverton on the Durango-Silverton train, again with no problems. We just walked slow and easy, once we got to Silverton. At Mesa Verde, we backed off the hike down to Spruce Tree House. We felt that it was just a little too strenuous for us. We had a wonderful trip, and are glad we got back home in Arkansas, before the snow storm hit in Colorado, this week. Gwendy

posts: 166
reviews: 1
13. Re: How long for acclimatization before doing Pike's Peak?

Glad you had a good experience here, Gwendy and that is was worth the trip. :)

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 55,535
reviews: 42
14. Re: How long for acclimatization before doing Pike's Peak?

Hi Gwendy, glad to hear! Did you do the Cog Railway next day or did you stay put first day?


posts: 6
reviews: 2
15. Re: How long for acclimatization before doing Pike's Peak?

Uden, we arrived in Colorado Springs Sunday afternoon. On Monday, we went to the Air Force Academy in the morning, then to Garden of the Gods in the afternoon. The next day, we rode the cog to Pike's Peak. That afternoon, we drove to Alamosa, stopping by the Great Sand Dunes on the way. Thursday was the Durango-Silverton train ride, Friday we drove to Moab, Utah and saw the Arches National Park. Saturday afternoon, drove back to Cortez, Colorado, and Sunday went to Mesa Verde National Park. Monday to I-40, and back to Arkansas. A great trip!!

Jacksonville, FL
posts: 73
reviews: 22
16. Re: How long for acclimatization before doing Pike's Peak?

Regarding Cripple Creek -- I believe it is at 10000 feet. Maybe more. I went when I was on vacation from a sea level area. I was light headed and it was hard for me to breathe. Walked around ok, but didn't want to stay too long at the casinos.

BTW - On the map the trip looks like it will take about 45 min but in reality with all the switchbacks and curves, it took us like 2 hours from the Springs.

Not much there except the casinos and some history. Awesome views though.

Colorado Springs, CO
posts: 32
reviews: 397
17. Re: How long for acclimatization before doing Pike's Peak?

I just did the Cog Railroad with my son on Wednesday (2 days ago). I have lived in CS for 2.5 yrs. Yes, altitude sickness is real. It takes 2 weeks to get adjusted to the altitude our Dr told us when we moved here. The best thing to do is drink LOTS of water. Our Dr said due to the lower oxygen at higher altitudes, our bodies get the extra oxygen we need from the water (H2O), plenty of water.

Since I have lived here for 2.5 yrs, I am used to the high altitude but still go sick 2 days ago at the top of Pikes Peak.....very, very dizzy & lightheaded and heart palpitations. The Cog RR knows this happens to everyone so they limit your stay at the top to 20 min but since I was with a field trip and there were lots of kids needing donuts and bathroom break, we stayed up there like 35 min - a bit long as I was having a very hard time not passing out. I wonder how the employees can stand to work up so high?

While I was there, there was an older lady there also with a cane. She was sitting down in the restaurant area and needed an employee to help her as she was almost non-responsive from the altitude. The employee kept asking her how she was to keep her talkative and explained to her about the low oxygen and how our bodies need it and get it from water. She kindly offered to bring the woman a cup of water. There is water fountain and they sell bottled water.

But the good news is that the harsh altitude sickness problems like that I only experienced at the top summit, not on the cog RR itself. Once we got on the train to head back, within 10 min I felt totally fine. We did bring water bottles on the train and drank them on the way up and back, even when we were not thirsty - to keep up our oxygen.

The views along the cog RR are beautiful! Worth the trip! The seating on the Cog is tight - you will be touching knees with the person who is sitting across from you unless that person is a child (the seats face each other).

The trip up takes 1 hr 15 min as does the trip down. Use the restroom before you go - it is much nicer than the one at the top.

Hope this is helpful.

Colorado Springs, CO
posts: 32
reviews: 397
18. Re: How long for acclimatization before doing Pike's Peak?

Oops! I now see that you have already been to CS! Hope you had a nice trip to the top of Pikes Peak and didn't have the issues at the top like I did!

19. Re: How long for acclimatization before doing Pike's Peak?

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