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Pike and San Isabel National Forests - Pikes Peak Conceptual Shuttle Study

Pikes Peak, commonly referred to as “America’s Mountain,” is located within Pike and San Isabel National Forests 15 miles west of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Rising 14,115 feet at the summit, Pikes Peak is one of the tallest mountains on the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The summit includes a popular visitor center accessible by Pikes Peak Highway, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, and the Barr Trail for those making the ascent by foot.

Due to the weathered condition, age, and small size of the existing visitor center, the building is slated to be replaced with a state-of-the-art summit complex by 2020. While the summit will remain open throughout construction, vehicle access will be limited to only construction and handicap vehicles during the summer seasons. Therefore, the project team, consisting of the City of Colorado Springs, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Colorado Springs Utilities, and Cog Railway, is planning to implement a shuttle system to transport visitors to the summit during peak visitation months.

The USFS requested Volpe's assistance to develop a preliminary concept for a shuttle system. During the winter of 2015-2016, Volpe traveled to Pikes Peak to conduct a site visit and meet with project team members to gather important information on visitation, road conditions, and the design concept for the new summit complex.

This report provides a brief analysis on recent visitation trends, followed by a presentation for two shuttle system scenarios: 1) a mandatory service during construction, and 2) a voluntary service after construction. The report also includes a vehicle recommendation, description of possible staging areas, and preliminary cost estimates. The report concludes with an initial timeline for implementation and next steps.

Final Report, April 2016
Pikes Peak Conceptual Shuttle Study Visitation Trends and Scenario Planning (PDF)

The scenic view from Pikes Peak.
The view from Pikes Peak. (Volpe photo)
Last updated: Monday, May 9, 2016