The Pikes Peak Highway is a 19-mile (31 km) toll road that runs from Cascade, Colorado to the summit of Pikes Peak in El Paso County, at an altitude of 14,115 feet (4,302 m). It is at least partially open year-round, "weather permitting", i.e. open up to the altitude where snow removal becomes excessively difficult.
The rate structure varies depending on time of year and ranges from $10 per adult and $5 per child throughout Winter up to $50 per carload (5 passengers or less) with discounts on additional passengers.
An earlier road up the mountain, the Pike's Peak Carriage Road, dates back to 1888. Thousands of tourists traveled along the Pikes Peak Carriage Road up to Pikes Peak's summit. It was opened by the Cascade Town Company in 1888 and closed in 1902.
It was maintained by Colorado DOT as Colorado State Highway 250 from 1939 until 1947. Today, the road is maintained by the city of Colorado Springs.
Another race is the Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb (formerly Assault on the Peak), first held in 2010. The 2016 edition will also be the first edition of the USA Cycling Hill Climb National Championship.
Litigation was pursued by the Sierra Club in 1998-1999, on grounds of environmental damage from the gravel portion of the road. The environmental damage was caused primarily by the 150,000,000 pounds (70,000 t) of gravel that washed away annually, the same amount that needed to be hauled up the mountain each year in order to maintain the road surface. Environmental damage included alpine ponds and wetlands becoming filled with gravel, and layers of gravel averaging 2 feet (0.6 m) to 4 feet (1.2 m) feet deep covering the forest floor below. Pursuant to the settlement agreed by the Sierra Club and the City of Colorado Springs, the unpaved portion of the Pikes Peak Highway became a hard-surface road, despite concerns that such a project would radically change the nature of the annual automobile and motorcycle race. The paving project was completed on October 1, 2011.
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