Pikes Peak, Inspiration for “America the Beautiful”

America’s patriotic song of “America the Beautiful” was originated as a poem inspired by Pikes Peak. Pikes Peak is 10 miles (16 km) west of Colorado Springs with 14,115 feet (4,302 meters) in elevation. It is called America’s mountain, the icon of American west.

Katherine Lee Bates (August 12, 1859 – March 28, 1929) was a professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. In the summer of 1893, she went West to teach English at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. During this summer, she and fellow teachers made the trip up Pikes Peak by wagon. When Katharine returned to Colorado Springs after her journey, she was inspired to write the poem, originally entitled “Pikes Peak”. It was first published in the Independent day of 1895 issue of The Congregationalist, at that time the poem was first entitled “America”. The poem was later composed by Samuel A. Ward into the song we know today, “America the Beautiful”.

You can drive to pikes peak if the weather is permitted or take a cog train to the top of the mountain. Although my husband really enjoys driving on the mountains, we took the cog train to the pikes peak. It is a nine-mile journey with the stunning 360-degree views. The journey lasts a total of three hours.

At the top of the Pikes peak, we experienced the magnificent views and the altitude. The view was breathtaking and I felt I almost touched the clouds at the top of the mountain. As Katharine Lee Bates said, “felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.” On the clearest days, five states, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Kansas can be seen from the submit. At the observation deck, there is “America The Beautiful” monument.

The air is thin at the summit and I began to feel dizzy. I had to walk slowly there.

The Summit House also has a small restaurant. They’re famous for their high-altitude doughnuts. I felt it was the most delicious doughnuts I ever had!!!

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