Hiking Pikes Peak - Barr Trail

Hiking Pikes Peak

Hiking to the summit of Pikes Peak is definitely a challenge. Making it to the top of a 14,115-foot mountain is no small feat.


There are two trails that take you to the Summit of Pikes Peak - Barr Trail and the Crags Trail. Both are long and strenuous hikes, but with proper preparation and good planning, the hike is sure to be an exciting adventure that you'll always remember.


1. Barr Trail

The most popular way to get to the summit of Pikes Peak is via the Barr Trail. This 13-mile (one-way) hike gains 7,400 vertical feet in elevation from Manitou Springs to the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain.

Length: 13 miles (one-way)
Trail Difficulty: Advanced
Scenery: Forestry, Rock formations, Rocky Mountains, Timberline
Recommended for: Hikers, athletic dogs
Cost: Free

Though many sections of Barr Tail are considered to be easy, the full hike to the summit of Pikes Peak is quite advanced. The hike can be accomplished in a single day and take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours to complete (depending on weather, the hikers' fitness and technical ability as well as a variety of other variables).

Barr Trail Packing Essentials

  • Warm Layers & Waterproof Coverings - Dress and pack for the weather that may or may not occur. Use a layering system that you can modify for existing conditions. Weather can change in an instant on the mountain- even in summer months. Temperatures closer to the summit average 20 degrees lower than at the trailhead.
  • Water Source - Water bottles, water bladders and water treatment equipment. There are no sources of water after the trailhead besides small streams. Water is ESSENTIAL to your time on Barr Trail. Dehydration can quickly become very dangerous to please come prepared. Filtration straws and water bottles are great tools for staying hydrated and safe while on your adventure.
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food - high protein, high carb small meals and snacks like protein bars and trail mix will help maintain your energy and give you much deserved rests along the trail
  • Hiking Poles - these may feel a bit silly during the easier parts of the accent, but they come in quite handy and help prevent sprains and strains on your journey.
  • Sunscreen - the higher you get in elevation, the more chances for sunburn, so keep yourself comfortable and safe with some good SPF
  • Hat/Sunglasses
  • Gloves
  • Trail Map
  • Compass
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • Matches
  • Knife

Barr Camp

Barr Camp is approximately 6.5 miles from the trailhead in Manitou Springs. Many hikers will break the trek to the summit of Pikes Peak into two days by stopping to camp at Barr Camp, about halfway up the mountain. Though anyone can stop to rest at the camp, staying overnight requires an advanced reservation. Reserve a bed in the main cabin, upper cabin, lean-to or space for your own tent. All reservations include a homemade dinner and pancake breakfast the next morning. 

It's recommended you arrive to Barr Camp before 4:00 pm. This will give you time to relax before eating, and allows a little extra time should you need it for the hike. The hike may take longer than you expect; they cannot hold dinner past 6:00 pm.

Barr Camp Packing Essentials

  • Sleeping Bag - There is no heat overnight at the camp
  • Flashlight
  • Dry Under-Layer - You will cool off fast. Something dry to wear underneath will make a big difference in your comfort
  • Optional Tenting Gear - If you are tent camping
  • Optional Cooking Gear - If you are cooking your own meals
  • Bear Cans - this is bear country and bears can smell food sources and even lip balms through your bags

View trail maps of the Barr Trail for Pikes Peak below.


2. Crags Trail

Length: 13.6 miles (roundtrip)
Trail Difficulty: Intermediate
Scenery: Forestry, Rock formations, Rocky Mountains, Timberline
Recommended for: Hikers, athletic dogs
Cost: Free

The Crags Trail is not as popular as the Barr Trail to summit the peak but since it's shorter and has less elevation gain, it is a much easier way to summit this famous mountain. It also offers better views with the Continental divide to the west and it is much less crowded.

Shortly after you start from the trailhead you will reach the Fourmile creek - turn right and get on trail #664A crossing the bridge. Continue through the forest, gradually gaining elevation and then hike through few switchbacks to get above the tree line. Great views open up to the west.

Next 3/4 of a mile is a steep straight climb up to the saddle at 12,750 feet. The following section is an easy walk to the Devils Playground area. Cross the Pikes Peak Highway and continue on the left side of the road. You have about 2 miles until you start the final assault up the large boulder field to the summit. Follow cairns through the maze of rocks and soon you will reach the top.

Walk east to the Summit House and enjoy some donuts!


Getting Back Down the Mountain

You can always turn around and hike back down the mountain, but many people opt to grab a ride back down from the Summit. Hiking to the top is an impressive feat in itself, so there's no shame in relaxing in a car in order to get back down.

Rocky Mountain Ride provides daily shuttles from the summit of Pikes Peak back to the Barr Trail trailhead parking lot in Manitou Springs. 

*3:30 pm is the latest they will pick up from the summit.  No later shuttles are available due to the severity of afternoon storms above the tree line. You need to plan to arrive at the summit as early as possible to avoid potentially dangerous weather events. This means starting your hike as early as 4:00 am if you're planning to do the entire hike in one day.

  • Please try to reserve your seat at least 24 hours in advance. Call 719-362-6332 or book online
  • $60 per passenger (includes $15 per passenger toll gate fee).  
  • Ride time: roughly 1 hour from Summit to Barr Trail parking lot in Manitou Springs.
  • This is a shared-ride service.  
  • If you decide not to summit for any reason, please notify our office by text ASAP.
  • Cancellations due to road closures will be refunded 100%
  • All other cancellations must be made at least 48 hours in advance to receive a full refund.
  • Cancellations made less than 24 hours will not be refunded.
  • Plan to summit the mountain at least 1 hour in advance of your reserved ride. If you are late, we may have to leave without you.
  • Large groups should make reservations as early as possible to ensure availability.

 

Find other area parks and trails. More Pikes Peak hiking trails can be found here. Information on cycling Pikes Peak Highway can be found here.