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Pikes Peak - Train Ride or Drive

Nature Coast...
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Pikes Peak - Train Ride or Drive

I will be visiting CO Springs in early July. Does anyone have any input for going up Pikes Peak? Should I take the train up, drive up or make time for both? Also any tips on what time of day is best? Thanks for any suggestions.

Colorado
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1. Re: Pikes Peak - Train Ride or Drive

Both have their pluses and minus (in my opinion) so I'll list them and let you see what sounds better:

Train Positives:

1) You don't have to drive (see road negative)

2) Your on a set schedule so you know when you'll be back

3) They have a decent play by play comentary from the conductor

4) More of a unique experience overall being in the cog train.

5) Possibly better odds of seeing wildlife as everyone on train is looking out and it's not along a road.

Train Negatives:

1) Your on a set schedule, so you only have short time up top. This is probably my biggest negative of the train, I recall feeling a little rushed at the top

2) Somewhat expensive verus drive

Road Positives:

1) Set your own pace, stop as you want, take all the time you want up top.

2) Cheaper, particularly for larger group

Road Negatives:

1) Drive has a few hairy spots, so if timid about heights or mountain driving, may want to consider train.

2) Your going your own pace, and the scenery is great, so you can spend good portion of the day on the drive. I recall being surprised how long it took us to get from Colorado springs, to the top, and back.

I probably missed a few in every category but those are what I recall. Keep in mind either one is a great experience, so no matter what choice you make, it will be great.

Colorado
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2. Re: Pikes Peak - Train Ride or Drive

Also, for best time I'd say as early in the day as possible. Afternoon thunderstorms are always a possibility, so best to be up top before noon.

It's unlikely, but not unheard of for there to be a bad storm w/ lots of hail that could shut the road down for awhile. Again not real likely but possible.

Westminster...
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3. Re: Pikes Peak - Train Ride or Drive

If you're driving your own car from Florida, it won't operate very well since it won't be tuned for high altitude. Especially at the higher altitudes (10000+) and it would be fairly expensive to get a tow back down.

If you're flying here and renting a car, most companies prohibit driving any car off road -- even 4x4s.

My reccomendation is just take the train. It's a unique experience and you can just sit back and enjoy the view. Be sure to visit their website as they have coupons on there usually. It's $31/adult when you're here. The coupons are usually $5 off so $26/adult so $52. It's not chump change but for the unique experience it's worth it.

I'd go up in the afternoon. It will be warmer at the top then but it forces you to make the whole day around your trip. In July, you won't have to worry about afternoon thunderstorms coming up like in August.

http://www.cograilway.com/

Colorado
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4. Re: Pikes Peak - Train Ride or Drive

The toll road would not be considered "off-road" as it's a (well) maintained road by the city. Might have a few patches of washboard, but overall kept in very good shape. It's also mostly paved except last 7-8 miles I think.

I've also seen plenty of tstorms roll through in July, so again whichever method you take up, highly recommend doing it early.

Oh yeah, bring a jacket at the least, even in July it can be cool and/or windy up there, regardless of weather down in Springs.

LR

Nature Coast...
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5. Re: Pikes Peak - Train Ride or Drive

Thanks so much for the input. It will be a tough decision, but your info will help me in considering the options. Thanks for taking the time to help.

Bartlesville...
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6. Re: Pikes Peak - Train Ride or Drive

I have made the trip up Pikes Peak via the rail on two occasions and declining the opportunity to drive. As the main driver, I would rather ride the rail and get a full opportunity to look around. If you are the main driver on the drive up, it would not be very advisable to be gawking around. The train really is a lot of fun.

Nature Coast...
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7. Re: Pikes Peak - Train Ride or Drive

Good point! I am not the main driver so I hadn't thought about that, but I'm sure my husband will appreciate getting to relax and see a little more of the sights on the way up. I think we will take the train up, then if we have time later in the week and want to see more we can drive up. Thanks.

Will I need to make reservations for the train, and if so how far in advance? We will be there the week of July 4th.

Lubbock, TX
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8. Re: Pikes Peak - Train Ride or Drive

pixiesnake - if you take the train, please note the cars have two seats on one side of the aisle and three on the other. Try to sit on the side with three seats - better view for most of the trip.

I've done both. You'll really age your transmission and brakes on that short trip. And, as previously mentioned, the driver might have to concentrate so much on the road just ahead that he/she won't enjoy the view.

Colorado
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9. Re: Pikes Peak - Train Ride or Drive

I'd make reservations if you are coming in July.

Probably don't need to be months and months in advance though.

Also, that is good seating advice. The train doesn't really turn around up top, it stops and essentially goes in reverse back down, so whichever side you are on, you see both up and down. I've sat on the side with 3 seats, so you are sort of on the outside side of the train, which does have better views because you dont' have the mountain sloping up in front of you like the other side does.

Chicago, IL
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10. Re: Pikes Peak - Train Ride or Drive

this is probably a dumb question, but I was wondering... do cars ever go off the side? How dangerous is it to drive up? -debbie