Pikes Peak Facts: Things To Know About 'Mountain Of The Sun'

Christian Mba
Nov 03, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Mar 22, 2022
Pikes Peak Facts: Things To Know About 'Mountain Of The Sun'

This mountain is located in El Paso County and is known as the Mountain of the Sun.

Named after Colorado's General James Pike, Pikes Peak is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state. At 14,115 ft (4302.2 m), it is also one of Colorado's tallest mountains and one of Colorado's 53 fourteeners.

The views from the summit are stunning! Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities year-round with hiking trails and mountain biking trails.

The hike up the mountain is 13.5 mi (21.7 km). You can also enjoy high-altitude doughnuts in the summit house. If you're planning to visit Pikes Peak soon, make sure to read our list of facts first.

Discovery And History

The mountain was first discovered by the American explorer Zebulon Pike. He was part of an expedition that set out in 1806 to explore what would later become the Colorado territory.

Pike had no idea he'd found a huge rocky mountain when he saw it because there were only trees blocking his view from below, but once they reached the summit, they could see all around them. Because of the harsh weather conditions and a lack of warm clothes, Lieutenant Zebulon Pike gave up his effort to climb it.

On July 14–15, 1820, Edwin James, J. Verplank, and Z. Wilson of Major Stephen Harriman Long's expedition made the first recorded ascent.

The history of Pikes Peak is a long and varied one. Native Americans have used the mountain for centuries, and it was also an important landmark for early explorers and settlers.

In 1806, General James Pike led an expedition to the area and named the peak after himself. Later, in 1820, Stephen Long led another expedition, which ended at the base of Pikes Peak.

The mountain is also known as 'America's Mountain' because it inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write her famous poem, 'America the Beautiful,' in 1893 and has inspired several paintings, pamphlets, and photographs.

In 1914, Pikes Peak became one of Colorado's first tourist attractions when Enos Mills opened an inn at the summit. Today, tourists can still visit this historic site as part of their tour package, which includes transportation up and down each day with a guided hike along the way.

Geography And Geology

Pikes Peak is located in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in El Paso County, Colorado, U.S. It is 10 mi (16 km) west of Colorado Springs. Pikes Peak is surrounded by a number of other mountains, including Mount Evans and Longs Peak.

The peak is located on the western edge of the Great American Desert, and it can be seen from many points in Colorado Springs. It is at an altitude of 14,115 ft (4302.2 m) above sea level, with a prominence measuring some 700 ft (213.36 m).

The Cripple Creek gold-mining district is in the southwest. The watershed for this mountain lies within the Pikes Peak region and is a major source of water for Colorado Springs.

The rocks that form the Pikes Peak region are sedimentary. Evidence suggests that this mountain was once a seafloor before it rose up and became part of Colorado's landscape today.

Pikes Peak is made up of granite, which gives it its distinctive color and texture.

The Pike Peak granite formation is a geologic feature in the Colorado Pikes Peak region. It was formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago and consisted of layers upon layers of rocks that have been exposed over time due to erosion or other geological processes.

The Pike Peak granite formation has an interesting history, as it was once part of the ancestral Rocky Mountains. However, due to a process known as 'uplift,' the mountains gradually rose in elevation and became what we see today.

The Pikes Pek granite formation is 1.08 billion years old and was formed during the Precambrian period. Now that we have looked at the geography, let's speak about the best time to visit the mountain.

Pikes Peak has been a popular tourist destination since the 1800s.

The best time to visit Pikes Peak is in the summer when the weather is warm, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy. However, if you're looking for a more challenging hike, you may want to visit in the spring or fall when the weather is cooler.

There are many things to do on Pikes Peak, including hiking, camping, and sightseeing. The summit of Pikes Peak can be reached by several different trails, most of which are strenuous and require a lot of hikes.

Pikes Peak was also known as the \u2018Long Mountain.\u2019

Other Miscellaneous Facts

The Ute people who inhabited Colorado before it became a state called Pikes Peak, 'the sun mountain.' Since the peak of the mountain was the first to receive sunlight, it was given the name Tava, meaning Sun Mountain.

Over the years, the mountain has been named differently by various groups of people. The Arapaho people named the mountain Heey-otoyoo, meaning the Long Mountain. The Spanish explorers called it Montaña del Sol, meaning the Mountain of the Sun. When newspapers began to adopt the name Pike's Peak during Colorado's gold rush in 1859, it became popular.

Pikes Peak was also called James Peak by Stephen Harriman Long. This name was given to honor Edwin James. Zebulon Pike called the mountain the Grand Peak.

The United States Army Pikes Peak Research Laboratory is a research laboratory owned by the United States Army. The laboratory is located on top of Pikes Peak. It has been used to carry out experiments on the impact of high altitude on human physiological and medical parameters of military interest.

Julia Archibald Holmes climbed the mountain on August 5, 1858. She was the first European-American woman to climb Pikes Peak. She mentioned that she would not have missed the glorious sight for anything at all.

Pikes Peak was a popular ski resort from 1930-to 1984. You can find the Pikes National cemetery in El Paso County, Colorado. Veterans, their wives, and qualifying family members can be buried at the cemetery. The 0.58 sq mi (1.50 sq km) cemetery was officially inaugurated on May 25, 2018.

The slogan 'Pike's Peak or Bust' was first used in the late 1800s when people traveled to Colorado to try and summit Pikes Peak. In 1887, gold was discovered in the hills east of Pikes Peak.

This started a gold rush to the area, and soon miners were coming from all over the country to try their luck at finding gold. The phrase 'Pike's Peak or Bust' originated during this time as prospectors made their way west.

The phrase means that you're willing to do whatever it takes to reach your goal, even if it means risking everything. Today, the slogan is still popular among Coloradans and visitors.


What is Pikes Peak famous for?

Pikes Peak is most famous for the annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb or The Race to the Clouds, which takes place on the mountain every year. This race is considered to be one of the most challenging in the world and attracts some of the best drivers and riders from all over the globe.

Who owns Pikes Peak?

Pikes Peak is now owned by the city of Colorado Springs. It's a part of the American National Parks Service, which has jurisdiction over all land in the United States that is used for recreational purposes.

The peak itself is not actually part of any national park or monument. Still, it does have historical significance due to its proximity to other landmarks like the Garden of the Gods and Mount Rushmore.

How old is Pikes Peak?

Pikes Peak was formed due to tectonic activity and erosion, resulting from the uplifting of landmasses along faults caused by plate movement over time. The mountain began to rise about 50 million years ago when two continental plates collided, forcing them apart at an angle that created what we now know as the Rocky Mountains.

Pikes Peak is a part of this mountain range and was created as the land rose.

Is Pikes Peak a volcano?

Pikes Peak is not a volcano. It is a mountain formed by the erosion of molten rocks.

Who is buried on Pikes Peak?

There are several stories about people being buried on Pikes Peak. But Carl Lotave, an artist who lived in Colorado Springs in the early 1900s, is the only person that was actually buried on Pikes Peak.

Does Pikes Peak always have snow?

Pikes Peak typically has a mix of snow and ice on it throughout the year, but the summit is usually snow-free from late May to early September. However, there have been occasions when the summit has remained covered in snow until October.

When was Pikes Peak discovered?

The mountain was first discovered by the American explorer Zebulon Pike.

Who was the first person to climb Pikes Peak?

James Edwin, a 19th-century American botanist, geologist, linguist, and medical practitioner, was the first person to climb Pikes Peak. He made it to the top on July 14, 1820, and claimed that he could see 'a most beautiful panoramic view'.

His account of the journey inspired other individuals, including Katherine Lee Bates, who wrote 'America The Beautiful' after seeing an awe-inspiring view from the top.

When was Pikes Peak National Cemetery opened?

The third national cemetery established in Colorado, Pikes Peak National Cemetery, opened on May 22, 2018. The cemetery is located in El Paso County, and it has been open to the public since its opening.

How long does it take to climb Pikes Peak?

How long it takes to climb Pikes Peak varies depending on the individual, their experience, physique, and weather conditions. In general, hikers have completed the trip in just four to five hours, but experts say it might take as long as nine hours for people with little to no experience.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba picture

Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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