Driving Tips

The Pikes Peak Highway is traveled by almost every kind of vehicle imaginable, from Model Ts and other antiques to motorcycles and sedans. If they can make it, so can you.

However, if you aren’t fond of heights, or get easily distracted by monumental scenery, it might be best to let someone else do the driving.

Here are some additional tips to make your trip safer and more pleasurable.

Did You Know?

  • The Pikes Peak Highway is 19.5 miles long and has approximately 162 turns.
  • There are no gas stations on the highway, so have at least a half tank when you start.

Take Your Time … at least two hours

  • The 39-mile round trip to the summit takes about two hours, not including the time you spend at the stops along the way.
  • The speed limit on the highway is 25 mph.
  • All vehicles should have at least a half tank of gas.
  • Uphill traffic has the right-of-way at all times.
  • Do not pass other vehicles when going around corners.
  • Watch for maintenance equipment on the road.
  • When stopping, use the parking areas provided. If you must stop on the roadway, choose a straight section so your vehicle is visible to the other motorists.
  • If your engine begins to labor on steeper grades, shift to a lower gear to maintain speed and engine cooling. Shift an automatic transmission manually to stay in a lower gear.
  • When you reach the summit, run your engine at a fast idle for a few minutes to dissipate engine heat.
  • On the way down, use your vehicle’s lowest gear to allow the engine to brake your vehicle. Above all, don’t ride your brakes as this will cause them to overheat and possibly fail.

If You Need Help

Pikes Peak Ranger personnel are on duty and patrol the road at all times when the highway is open. If you have any kind of trouble, send another motorist for assistance or wait for a Ranger. Stay with your vehicle. Call 719-684-9138 from your cell phone to reach a Ranger.

Be Kind to the Mountain

  • Please … Don’t Feed the Wildlife—For everyone’s benefit, enjoy the wildlife by just watching or photographing them. Animals that eat a natural diet will be healthier and will stay wild. It’s also best not to feed wildlife for your own safety. Mammals may have fleas that carry diseases like the bubonic plague. Ground squirrels may accidentally bite the hand that feeds them.
  • Leave No Trace—Do not pollute streams and reservoirs. Dispose of all litter in trash receptacles or pack it out.
  • Stay on Trails—Though you may want to travel only a few feet off the trail to get that perfect photo, please do not, especially at the higher elevations. The alpine tundra is extremely fragile; it takes 75 years to grow only half an inch.

Please Help Prevent Forest Fires

Fire is the main threat to this watershed, which is the main source of water for the Colorado Springs area. If you smoke, use your ashtray. Fires are allowed only in designated grills, and only when the fire danger in the area is low. Please ask a Ranger if you’re unsure. Please also make sure fires are completely extinguished before you leave.