Pikes Peak has been the focus of human activity for centuries, by Ute Indians, trappers and Spanish explorers. The Louisiana Purchase prompted scientific interest in the early 1800s, followed by gold miners, homesteaders, and entrepreneurs.
For a brief history of the mountain, visit the Aramark web site. The Pike and San Isabel National Forests web site has a good history of the Pike National Forest. For more detailed accounts of the early settlement of Pikes Peak, see a series of pamphlets available for sale at the Old Colorado City History Center. Since 1956, Pikes Peak has been the site of a grueling marathon. If you are a runner you may enjoy Matt Carpenter's web site (click the Pikes Peak link). He also has an extensive bibliography of books on the history of the peak and running the peak. Matt also presents a very complete account of the Oil Creek Tunnel, one of the most interesting historic sites on the peak.
Many artifacts left behind on the mountain attest to this early interest. Hikers might encounter log cabin ruins, prospect holes, mines and mining structures. Trail users are urged to leave these artifacts where they find them, so that others may enjoy them. In addition, the area is rich in more prominent relics of the past, such as the Cripple Creek and Victor Historic Mining District, Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway and the ghost town at Oil Creek Tunnel, accessible from the Elk Park Trail branching off the Barr Trail at Barr Camp.