HISTORY OF PIKES PEAK - AMERICA'S MOUNTAIN
Pikes Peak in Colorado is an American icon. From Native American tribes to early settlers to modern day travelers, this mountain resonates differently with each individual. Composed of granite and shaped by glaciers over millions of years, Pikes Peak mountain is a stunning backdrop for the modern city of Colorado Springs. The Ute Indians called it "Ta-Wa-Ah-Gath" or “Sun Mountain Sitting Big” and passed by the mountain as they traveled from their summer encampments to their winter hunting grounds. It was discovered by Spanish settlers during the 1700s.
In 1803, Pikes Peak mountain became part of the United States as part of the vast Louisiana Purchase. Three years later in 1806, Lt. Zebulon Pike was sent to explore the borders of the new territory. Pike’s journey was a companion to the Lewis and Clark expedition. On November 24, 1806, Lt. Zebulon Montgomery Pike set out from his stop near modern-day Pueblo, Colorado, to climb the mountain. He was forced back by a blizzard and declared that no man would ever reach the 14,110-foot summit that now bears his name.
Since the time when Lt. Pike first saw the mountain that would eventually carry his name, Pikes Peak mountain has played a significant role in the development and allure of the Pikes Peak region. In the 1850s, gold seekers heading west emblazoned “Pikes Peak or Bust” on the canvas of their covered wagons. Katharine Lee Bates, inspired by what she saw when she arrived at the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado in 1893, immortalized the mountain in her beloved anthem “America the Beautiful.” It is an ageless sentinel that overlooks the peaks and plains of Colorado, an enduring symbol of mountain majesty and western spirit.