High altitude fun on the Cog Railway

Need a great weekend vacation getaway? Look no further than Colorado Springs.

Cog Railway

Sights around Pikes Peak in El Paso County. Photo courtesy of Kelli Holum.

The Springs has many great destinations that a lot of locals tend to forget about or ignore. Colorado has much to offer in the way of vacation destinations and most are a scant fews hours drive away.

The Cog Railway in Manitou Springs is one such example. It is the perfect way to get to the top of Pikes Peak at any time of the year, with a scenic route and history of the train, there will not be a dull moment the entire ride. In my experience, taking the train up to the summit sure beats driving or hiking up there. Otherwise, all of the drive would be spent watching the road, and hiking the incline is dangerous and for experts only. Plus, for only $40, and not having to worry about parking or having enough water, the Cog Railway is definitely the way to go. This ride is the best opportunity to take in all the gorgeous scenery without any distractions. Breathtaking sights of the steep mountainside brimming with copious amounts of pine trees surrounds all sides of the train on the journey up. Passengers also have a grand view of the other mountains that surround Pikes Peak. The train, although a bit slow for my taste, is a quaint way of getting to the peak. The inside is sparely furnished, with not much beyond plain benches, however, there are large bay windows on either side to get a full panoramic view of the mountain and surrounding landscape. The Cog Railway, in and of itself, is quite charming.

Once the train had reached the summit, it felt like a whole other world to me, with views that were nearly indescribable. A green valley of never ending forest laid below and I was on top of the world; nothing but sky was above me. At the top of the peak there is also an adorable little Summit House that consists of a gift shop and restaurant. And the unique thing that I discovered about this restaurant, that you won’t find anywhere else in the world, is that they managed a way to cook donuts at high altitude.

At 14,000 feet, these donuts are made fresh daily and are the reason why so many people journey on the Cog Railway. However, it is no easy feat making dough rise at such a high elevation. How is it even possible to cook a donut at 14,000 feet? A special high elevation recipe is the secret to these amazing old fashioned donuts that are the epitome of heavenly, fluffy goodness. What makes these donuts unlike any other in the world is that they can’t be made at lower altitudes. It’s fascinating because, it still looks like a normal old fashioned donut, but somehow, the Pikes Peak donuts taste far better.

I’ve tried plenty of donuts in my lifetime, but none compare to what the Summit House can cook up. Although nothing fancy, these donuts definitely delivered a punch that made my taste buds sing in satisfaction.

With a relaxing train ride to the top of one of America’s well known, favorite peaks and donuts seemingly made from heaven, Pikes Peak is the perfect weekend getaway spot for those Coloradans who are tired and bored of the same old mountain resorts.

Author: Kelli Holum

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