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Ute Pass - TravelStorys

Pikes Peak - America's Mountain

Location Trip Time Travel Type
Colorado 2 hours

Ute Pass

You are now descending back down to Highway 24 and Ute Pass. Named after the Ute Indians, this pass is the only easily accessible passage from the Great Plains into Colorado's mountain interior for approximately 40 miles north and south. A couple of turnouts on the right side of the road allow for a better look. For thousands of years, herds of bison used this passage to make their way to South Park and good summer grazing approximately 35 miles to the west, returning to the plains in the winter. The Ute Indians followed the herds on their annual migration, setting up their tipis in the Garden of the Gods, near their sacred springs in Manitou, for the winter. To the Ute people Pikes Peak is known as Tava, mountain of the sun, and is still sacred to them. They tell many stories about the mountain, including it being the origin of their ancestors. Through the years Ute Pass became a useful passage to other people as well. Miners used the trail to gain access to the gold fields above South Park after picking up supplies at the bottom of the pass in Old Colorado City during the 1860s. By 1886 a railroad, the Colorado Midland, was constructed, which became the first standard-gauge railway to cross the continental divide. At one time it connected Old Colorado City with Aspen and Grand Junction, servicing many mineral-rich areas of the state. Across the canyon you can see the scars from the Waldo Canyon Fire which ignited on June 26th, 2012, just east of here off a popular trail. It burned more than 18,000 acres before it was 100% contained on July 10th. Two lives and 346 homes were lost to the fire when 65 mph winds blew embers and flame down to the edge of Colorado Springs. An all-time heat record for the city was set at 101 degrees Fahrenheit, while the relative humidity was in the vicinity of two percent. Luckily, the fire was contained to the other side of the canyon and Pikes Peak did not burn. Because of the generally dry conditions in this area, some people estimate it will take 1000 years before the forests grow back. Thank you for visiting Pikes Peak. We hope you enjoyed your trip to America's Mountain, and we look forward to your return.

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