Use of Trail: Hiking/Biking
Length: 12 + Miles to the summit, 26.2 Miles Roundtrip
Duration: 6-10 Hour Hike
Trail Difficulty: Difficult
Elevation: 7,500 ft. gain; 14,115 ft. at the summit
Scenery: forestry, rock formations, unbeatable views from the summit
Recommended for: Hikers, Dogs allowed
Cost: Free, though you may have to pay for parking
The Pikes Peak Barr Trail is one of the most difficult hike you will find in the Pikes Peak region. It is an advanced level trail because of the 12+ mile distance to the Pikes Peak Summit and its 7,800 feet altitude gain. The trail is well-marked and is traveled often, providing packed dirt and rocks and an easy trail to follow. The time to get to the top of Pikes Peak varies by hiker, but the average time is between 6-10 hours.
Barr Camp is 6.5 miles from the trail head and provides picnic tables, clean restrooms and indoor seating for hikers. Overnight camping is available for those who would like to spread the hike out into two days. Pikes Peak Barr Trail is open to dogs. Be sure to bring them plenty of food and water, as there are not many water resources along the trail.
Start hiking Barr trail as early as possible, first light is best. Rule of thumb is to get to the summit of Pikes Peak by noon, to avoid the afternoon storms that tend to pop up. Dress appropriately – wear sturdy shoes and bring layers. The average temperature decreases 3° F with every 1,000 ft. elevation increase. Even during the summer temperatures can be 30° F – 40° F at the top. Bring plenty of water and snacks. There is food and drinks available at the Summit House, but remember it is 12+ miles up a mountain to get there. Visitors need to be sure they are accustomed to the altitude of Colorado Springs before attempting to hike Barr Trail. Usually by the 3rd
day you are in town you will be adjusted to the altitude. Remember – the 12+ miles is only to the top. Be sure you know how you are going to get down the mountain, either by having a friend meet you at the top in a car, taking the Pikes Peak Cog Railway or hiking back down. Cost is free though you will have to pay for parking in Manitou Springs. Free shuttles are available in Manitou Springs. Map and pick up/drop off times can be found here.
The summer months are typically the best months to hike Barr Trail, especially for first timers. It is possible that you will find ice or snow on the trail year round. The fall months also are especially beautiful with the changing of the leaves.Directions to the Trailhead: From I-25 in Colorado Springs, take exit #141 (US 24), go west (toward mountains) on US 24 for four miles to Manitou Avenue exit. Go west (turn right) on Manitou Avenue and proceed 3 miles to Ruxton Avenue (traffic circle). Turn left and go to the top of Ruxton Avenue three-quarters of a mile. You will come to the Cog Railway Depot.
Parking: Do not park in the Cog Railway parking lot. Go past the Cog parking lot, take a right on Hydro Street and a small, pay lot is at the top. If lot is full, go back and locate a legal parking spot along Ruxton Avenue and walk back to the trailhead, which is adjacent to the parking lot. You can also choose to park in a paid parking lot in Manitou Springs and take the free shuttle to the base of Barr Trail. Shuttle information can be found here.