An Iconic Railway Returns to Pikes Peak

A massive renovation project pays off

Pikes Peak
The vistas around Tavakiev, also known as Pikes Peak.
Noah Glynn/Unsplash

If you visit the Rocky Mountains, you’ve probably taken notice of Pikes Peak, which boasts the highest summit in the mountains’ Front Range. The mountain’s history extends to long before explorer Zebulon Pike visited it in the 19th century; in the language of the Ute people, the mountain is known as Tavakiev, which translates to “Sun Mountain.” But besides its long history and status as a mountain among mountains, it’s also known for something else — it’s home to the nation’s highest railroad.

In 2017, the Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway shut down because of concerns on infrastructure. At the time, it was known for the elevation to which it carried its passengers: 14,115 feet. As the name suggests, this is a cog railway — something generally associated with trains that are situated on steep inclines. And it had been in place since 1891.

As a recent article by Chadner Navarro at Condé Nast Traveler notes, the Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway has recently reopened after an extensive renovation project. “An expensive renovation project” would also be an apt description, seeing that the cost for the upgrades was in the neighborhood of $100 million. Navarro writes that “every inch of the experience, including the depot and the upcoming visitor center in the summit, was rebuilt, upgraded, or changed.”

All told, traveling via the railway takes 70 minutes, and offers some of the most scenic views in the nation. It’s part of a broader tourism initiative, including guided tours and bicycle paths, both scheduled for the near future. If you’re looking to spend some time sightseeing in the coming months, this is a fine place for it.


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