10 Landmarks You'd Better Be in Shape to Visit


Pikes Peak

Pike's Peak soaring over Garden of the Gods.
Pike's Peak soaring over Garden of the Gods.

It's not Everest, but your chances of living to tell about it are much better. Colorado's Pikes Peak is a famous landmark and favorite tourist destination. Maybe that's because you can either climb it or take an easier way up -- the railway or the highway. If you choose to hike, there's a 13-mile (21-kilometer) trail up the 7,000-foot (2,133-meter) incline. No matter which mode of transit you choose, you can count yourself among a half-million people a year who tag the summit of one of the most visited mountains in North America.

You may have to swear off greasy food and sugary beverages for a while to get ready for this hike, but it's definitely doable for the average working Jill or weekend warrior. As with training to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro, going on practice hikes and working out at the gym can help you prepare to climb Pikes Peak. Break your hiking boots in before the official hike day and work up to carrying the same weight in your backpack that you'll actually tote up the mountain. There are lots of things to do at Pike's Peak and the surrounding area: Treat yourself to festivals, fireworks, car races or a visit to a mineral bath.

Next up, we'll introduce you to a man-made landmark that offers a challenge.