The day we went, the top was totally socked in with clouds and sleet. We were warned at the gate where you pay that it was possible we would be turned around if conditions worsened, but we got all the way up.
I've been abover 10 or 11,0000 feet before, but this was the first time I experienced some altitude effects. The drive up was scenic, but cloudy. It was cool passing the tree line and seeing other sights along the way, but the last 5000 feet were in the clouds. The road edge looked like it was just the end of the world. I thought it was cool but some were nervous.
At the top, we exited the car and that was when I felt light-headed. Nothing serious, but all in our group felt it. We went inside which was very crowded and offered the typical tourist souvenir items. We just looked around and since you couldn't even see more than 100 yards, we headed back down. After a few thousand feet, it started to clear and we had awesome views so pulled over at a couple of places to take pictures and explore a bit more. That made it worth it.
Plan on a couple hours at least. The drive up and down is slow. We managed to get behind someone going half the speed limit on the way up. Stick to the speed limit though as it could be slippery. On the way down, they check your brake temperature and have you pull over for a 15 cool down if your brakes are too hot.
If you're visiting and have time, this is a stop that you probably want to make just to say you did, but if you're short of time and can only do one stop in the Colorado Springs area, I recommend Garden of the Gods.
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