Pikes Peak, Colorado

Everything the RV Renter Needs to Know

Pikes Peak is one of the best-known summits in North America, and especially one of the most prominent in Colorado. Soaring tall above the Rockies, it’s visible from a good chunk of the state, including from nearby attractions like Garden of the Gods and the town of Colorado Springs. It’s particularly well known for being a 14er (that is, 14,000-plus feet tall) that’s easily summited by people of all ages and abilities.

Named for its discover Zebulon Pike, you can do something that he was never able to accomplish—which is summit the mountain. Not only that, but you can enjoy a wide variety of other recreational activities in and around the peak that are sure to make your vacation a winner. Whether you focus your entire trip around Pikes Peak or make it a stop on a wider road trip of the great American west, it’s a spot that must be on your list. 

Why Visit Pikes Peak in Your Rented RV?

There’s something about a good American road trip out west that’s both romantic and adventurous. The roads seem to go on forever, and the majestic peaks rise up out of nowhere and watch over you as you travel, only getting larger as you continue to get closer. Pikes Peak stands tall above Colorado, and with so many other sights to see in the state, it’s a clear forerunner for top attractions. After all, it inspired “America the Beautiful.”


The hiking in Colorado is some of the best in the country. And at Pikes Peak, it’s every bit as good as you would imagine. There are eight total trails in and around Pikes Peak, and they range from just over a mile to almost 13. And there are trails for both newbies and experienced hikers.

Barr Trail is one of the most popular ways to reach the summit of Pikes Peak. It’s rated as a Class 1 trail, but let’s be clear: this hike is no walk in the park. It’s almost 13 miles one way, and the ascent is almost 13,000 miles upward. It switches back several times, and the weather can be unpredictable. If you’re planning to tackle Barr Trail, make sure to pack plenty of warm clothes and lots of food and water.

Pikes Peak Highway

Another way to the top of Pikes Peak is Pikes Peak Highway. Starting at Ute Pass, the highway is a 19-mile stretch of road that runs to the summit. Like Barr Trail, there are a number of switchbacks, and it’s best to take your time traversing the road. After all, that’s the best way to see all of the incredible scenery along the route.

There are pull offs along the way for you to stop and enjoy a photo op, plus stretch your legs. You’ll see a number of sights along the way, too, like reservoirs, Glen Cove Inn, and Bottomless Pit. It’s worth a note that this road is maintained as a toll road, and it may cost you anywhere between $4 and $40 to make the three-hour round-trip excursion, depending on the season and the number of travelers with you.

The Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway

A train, going up and down a mountain? Believe it. The Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway is the highest rail system in North America—by a significant amount. It operates using a cog system, allowing it to maintain friction while climbing and descending the mountain. It makes several trips a day from its base station in Manitou Springs.

The railway has a long history, and you can see several of the past engines in Manitou Springs. Of all the ways to summit the peak, this way is easily unique, given the train’s long history and the engineering feats required to traverse nearly nine miles up such a steep and impressive climb.

Pike Forest

Pikes Peak is more than just the mountain itself. Surrounding it is Pike Forest, with more than 1.1 million acres of forest land, reservoirs, and glorious pine trees. You can fish, ski, boat, and hike within the forest, all with Pikes Peak looming over you nearby.

You’ll pass through Pike Forest if you’re hiking up to the summit of Pikes Peak. But there’s more than that here, too. You can and should visit Devil’s Head Lookout, a fire tower with incredible views. Eleven Mile Canyon is a fly fishers paradise, and Manitou Park is a wooded wonderland.

Summit Complex

Way, way at the top is the Summit House, welcoming visitors with famous doughnuts, coffee, snacks, salads, and sandwiches—plus a gift shop. Now, there’s an even bigger upgrade welcoming travelers who make it to the top: The Summit Complex. This $50 million dollar project is a LEED certified facility that offers plenty.

The visitors center will still exist, but there’s more too. A communications facility for Colorado Springs Utilities will be on site, as will the Army’s High Altitude Research Lab. Stop in and enjoy a warm doughnut, as it’s the perfect way to refuel after the arduous trek up to the summit. Of course, if you drive up, you can still have a doughnut. 

Campgrounds and RV Parks for Pikes Peak

Most camping in Pike Forest and around Pikes Peak is reserved for backcountry campers—the types who backpack in and carry their tents with them. As an RV renter, that’s not you. But that’s ok, because there are loads of great RV campgrounds nearby that offer fun amenities and put you right near the action of everything this area of Colorado has to offer.

Goldfield RV Park

Want to talk about an ideal location? Goldfield RV Park might just be it. Located right outside Colorado Springs, near Colorado City and Manitou Springs, it’s the perfect distance to get to every attraction in the area, including Pikes Peak. The site has a ton of amenities, starting with full RV utility hookups—including satellite TV and high-speed Wi-Fi at no extra charge. There are private showers, plus a laundry facility to keep things feeling fresh. Any problems? The onsite park manager is there to help you out. 

Jellystone Park at Larkspur

Some camping facilities are almost like theme parks in their own right. Jellystone Park at Larkspur fits that bill. These parks, spread throughout the country, are all themed to Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park, and are meant for family fun and for kids to enjoy. Not only will you find Yogi and his pals at park events, you’ll also find other amenities like a playground, a splash park, mini bowling and mini golf, a swimming pool, restaurant, and more. Of course, that’s all on top of your full utility hookups. If you want to ensure your younger kids enjoy themselves while they’re at the campsite, Jellystone is for you.

Pikes Peak RV Park

Just 10 minutes from the Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak RV Park offers full hookups with Wi-Fi access, plus more. There are laundry facilities and picnic areas, plus restrooms and showers. There’s also a small park nearby for the kids to run around in. Not only are you near Garden of the Gods, but you’re also a mere 15-minute walk from Manitou Springs, full of shopping and restaurants.

Colorado Springs KOA

Kampgrounds of America (KOA) have a great reputation among RVers. They’re well-kept and well-loved. Colorado Springs KOA is no different. You’ll get full RV hookups here, plus it’s loaded to the gills with amenities. There’s cable TV and Wi-Fi, plus a heated pool and hot tub. There’s both a jump pad and a splash pad, a dog park for your four-legged friends, and bike rentals available as well.

Garden of the Gods RV Resort

If it’s a place where the gods would want to hang out, you know an RV park near it has to be pretty great. And the Garden of the Gods RV Resort absolutely is. In addition to full utility hookups, it’s got two—yes, two—heated pools. There’s free Wi-Fi, plus a game room and arcade for the youngsters (or the young at heart) to enjoy. A playground also keeps the kids busy in the off hours.  


Places to Eat Near Pikes Peak, Colorado

Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, and all of the areas around them are all popular among tourists from both inside Colorado and out. Where there are visitors, you know there will be great restaurants. You’ll find a wide variety here, no matter what kind you’re looking for. And if restaurants aren’t your thing, don’t worry: you’ve got a rolling kitchen inside your RV, so you can still be an at-home chef no matter where you are.

Dining at Pikes Peak

You won’t find a lot of dining at Pikes Peak, but there is the Summit House. Famous for its doughnuts in particular, there are also sandwiches, salads, drinks, and desserts available to munch on. It doesn’t matter whether you hiked the 13 miles on Barr Trail to get to the summit or just drove it. Taking in all that beauty can work up a hunger.

Dining outside of Pikes Peak

Where to even start? There are dozens of kinds of food around Pikes Peak. In Colorado Springs alone, you’ll find everything from Mexican (fun fact: Colorado is particularly well known for its Mexican food) to Chinese, traditional American like burgers to fine dining establishments. On the route in and out of town there are diners and wineries, and don’t skip out on the many food trucks you’ll find around. Lest we forget, Colorado is also well known for its breweries. Find a family friendly taproom and enjoy responsibly.

Colorado Springs has a wide variety of food, and Manitou Springs has even more—including some very fine dining options. There are plenty of good trails around Pikes Peak to work up a hunger, and you’ll be well-rewarded with a very good meal no matter where you plan to go afterwards.