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Drawing Inspiration From America’s Mountain

Drawing Inspiration from America’s Mountain


“O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain
America, America, God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea”

“America the Beautiful,” is a widely known song, but did you know it originated as a poem inspired by Pikes Peak, the 14er located right here in Colorado Springs?

In the summer of 1893, Katharine Lee Bates was teaching English at Colorado College, in Colorado Springs. During this summer, she made the trek up Pikes Peak in a prairie wagon and then had to switch to a mule to reach the top. When Katharine saw the view at the top of Pikes Peak, she, “felt great joy. All the wonder of America seemed displayed there, with the sea-like expanse.” When Katharine returned to Colorado Springs after her journey, she was inspired to write the poem, “Pikes Peak,” which was later adapted by Samuel A. Ward into the song we know today, “America the Beautiful.”

Looking out of the windows at our downtown Colorado Springs office, Pikes Peak towers over the city at 14,115 ft. As you drive up Highway 24 towards the mountain, you can start to make out a dauntingly vertical trail running up the side of the mountain, the Incline. This trail climbs 2,000 ft. in a little under 1 mile and is one of the ways to access the top of Pikes Peak.

A picture from Nicole Newton's (EI's Assistant Research Manager) hike up Pikes Peak.
A picture from Nicole Newton’s (EI’s Assistant Research Manager) hike up the incline.

Other, alternate routes to reach the top include:

  • Hiking Barr Trail (runs parallel to the Incline) or Crags Trail
  • Driving up the Pikes Peak Highway
  • Riding the Cog Railway (reopening in 2021) which takes you to the top in a train, and
  • Taking guided bus and bike tours up and down the mountain
A picture from Anne Brown's (EI's Senior Qualitative Strategist) hike up Pikes Peak.
A picture from Anne Brown’s (EI’s Senior Qualitative Strategist) hike up Pikes Peak.

“America’s Mountain,” has been an inspiration to our office design and décor. Our facility rooms are named, “Summit,” “Incline,” and “Ascent,” after the mountain and its trails, and the natural wood and green accents in the office mirror the trees and beautiful nature growing on the mountain.

Our Incline Focus Room has photographs of Pikes Peak
EI’s Incline Focus Group Room (with a picture of the actual Incline hanging on the wall!)

When you are planning your next research project in Colorado Springs, consider adding an extra day to your trip to make the trek up to experience the views that inspired one of our national anthems as well as our downtown research facility!

As the 4th of July holiday approaches, we pause to reflect on the beauty of our home town, and we hope you treasure the beauty of your home as well. Happy Independence Day from all of us at Elevated Insights!


Nicole Newton

Assistant Research Manager

[email protected]

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