I've never NOT been able to get a ride down on the cog (that being said, don't assume it to happen). At worse, you'll wait until everyone is one before you can board, sit on a jump seat, hand your credit card or cash to the guide, and enjoy your trip down. I've never tried the train on a weekend so that may be different. With that in mind, I hitch about 90% of the time and have never had to wait more than 10-12 cars (and I'm sitting on a rock, big, ugly, and smelly by then). Play tour guide, race promoter, and you'll have a great trip down...and probably be dropped off at your car (which is easiest if parked at memorial park ((which will be the third Manitou exit coming from the PP highway))).