Thursday marks the first day the Pikes Peak shuttle system will be up and running.
Due to construction of the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex and an anticipated record-number of visitors, most folks will have to take shuttles to drive to the top of America’s Mountain this summer. The indefinite closure of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway is also expected increase vehicle traffic.
Construction of the new summit complex will force the closure of roughly half of the mountain-top parking lot, leaving only about 100 parking spaces at any given time. While these spots will remain open, the city said priority for the spots will be given to certain travelers:
- Vehicles carrying disabled passengers
- Vehicles carrying small children in car seats
- Motorcycles – groups of less than 10
- Pre-approved busses (must receive approval prior to arriving at the Pikes Peak Highway)
Drivers heading up Pikes Peak Highway will pay the access fee as usual at the toll plaza, which will be additionally staffed to handle the increased traffic. They will then park either at the Pikes Peak Hill Climb pit area at the 7-mile mark or at Devil’s Playground above timberline. Manager Jack Glavan says he anticipates around 30 to 35 shuttles seating 15 to 24 passengers each will make pick-ups and drop-offs every hour. "Our goal is no longer than a 5-minute wait if we can do that," Glavan said.
Glavan says the shuttle program will be temporary, lasting only during the construction process, unless visitors indicate they enjoy the service, in which case it may stay.
The shuttles will run from May 31 to Sept. 15, which according to the City of Colorado Springs, is when the Pikes Peak Highway receives the highest volume of visitors.