Pikes Peak - An Inspirational Mountain

The majestic, purple mountain

Towering over Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak has been inspiring artists, explorers, gold seekers and presidents for over 200 years. In 1806, from out on the fruited plain, Zebulon Pike first beheld the majestic, purple mountain. He named it Grand Peak but early trappers and soldiers refused to call the megalith anything but Pikes Peak. Zeb felt compelled to climb the challenging alp as he led a party of trailblazers in a failed attempt to reach the summit. Upon his return, he wearily admitted that the mountain would probably never be climbed.

The half-marathon distance from base to the summit was finally attained in 1820 and by 1873 the U.S. Army had established a military installation at the top of Pikes Peak. President Ulysses Grant hoped that meteorological data gathered from the summit of the high peak would assist in predicting volatile weather patterns circulating toward the east. He believed the valuable information would be critical in forecasting the wicked storms which often sank freighters on the Atlantic Coast shipping lanes.

Massive Pikes Peak dominates the southern skyline and is an enduring symbol of the entire Front Range. When gold rushing 59ers set out for Cherry Creek and Denver in a quest for mineral riches, they emblazoned their rickety wagons in fresh paint with the famous words "Pikes Peak or Bust!" Katharine Lee Bates was so inspired by the extraordinary view from the pinnacle that she wrote the lyrics to America the Beautiful. The popular anthem is a superb tribute to the unique beauty and vastness of the American landscape.

An inspirational mountain

Under spacious skies

Zebulon Pike thought the peak would never be climbed

By 1873 a military base operated at the summit

Pikes Peak dominates the skyline

"Pikes Peak or Bust!"

Katharine Lee Bates was inspired by the views

Unique beauty and vastness

The yellow-bellied marmot is a local inhabitant


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