Highest Railway in US Reopens

After $100 million renovation, it's now better than ever, and the panoramic views from the top of Pikes Peak are sensational.

When it comes to mountainside activities, Colorado has always been spoiled for choice. But in addition to skiing, biking, and hiking the various peaks that dot the state, one iconic way to experience these mountains actually requires little by way of physical exertion: riding the The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway in Manitou Springs.


First installed in 1891 by Simmons Beautyrest mattress inventor Zalmon Simmons, who found the experience of getting up the mountain on mule-back entirely uncivilized, this historic attraction that climbs to 14,115 feet (the highest railway in the country) was closed in 2017 following an infrastructure evaluation, reports CN Traveler.


At first, it wasn’t clear whether its current owners would bring it back to life or permanently close the train. But with its unique legacy - the highest cog railway in the world, and views that inspired the song “America The Beautiful” - the decision to invest in its renovation and modernization was a no-brainer. So in May 2021, after $100 million and three years, The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway is back, and it’s truly better than ever. A hundred million dollars can get you a lot of things - including jokes from the conductor that he’s now the oldest part of the train - because every inch of the railway and the experience, including the depot and the upcoming visitor centre in the summit, was rebuilt, upgraded, or changed. The main depot retains its original 19th-century mining town aesthetic with a fresh coat of bright blue paint, but a second train platform, an overhead walkway, and remodeled bathrooms and gift shop are now part of the depot, too.


At the top of Pikes Peak, 360-degree views reveal the rust-hued Garden of the Gods in the north, the mining town of Cripple Creek and the continental divide to the west, and the Sangre de Cristo mountain range to the south. Depending on visibility, you might be able to spot the Denver skyline, 100 miles away.

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