By Audra Streetman

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Pikes Peak summit will close to all visitors from March 22 to May 23 for final construction of the Pikes Peak Summit Complex. The new visitor center is expected to open early this summer.

Pikes Peak Summit Complex (credit: City Communications)

Officials will close the summit to all vehicles and pedestrians for visitor safety. Heavy equipment will move boulders throughout the site for final grading and paving. The 1960s-era Summit House will also be demolished in the next couple of weeks.

READ MORE: Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Will Allow Fans For 2021 Race

Pikes Peak 1960s-era Summit House (credit: City Communications)

Visitors will still be able to access the parking lot and trails at Devils Playground. Officials are posting signs on the Crags and Barr Trail to alert hikers of the summit closure.

Pikes Peak welcomes more than half a million visitors each year, and officials expect those numbers to increase. The new Summit Complex features an ADA boardwalk on the north overlook with access to the overhanging edge.

READ MORE: New Pikes Peak Summit House Being Built Around Giant Donut Machine

The new visitor center is designed to save more than 350,000 gallons of water each year compared to the current system. The project aims to achieve net zero energy, waste and water consumption and could become the first Living Building Challenge certified project in Colorado.

Officials joked that Pikes Peak’s “world famous donuts” were so popular, they’re building the new visitor center around a huge new donut machine! The Pikes Peak Donuts are made fresh daily with the same high-altitude recipe that has been passed down since 1916.

In addition to hiking and driving to the summit, guests will soon be able to ride the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which is set to reopen on May 1. The highest railroad in America is undergoing a $100 million renovation from the roadbed, to the tracks, cogs, railcars and the depot.

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To check Pikes Peak hours and current highway conditions, call 719-385-732 or visit PikesPeakColorado.com.

Audra Streetman