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Where to Park: You will park in the Cheeseman trail lot.

You will find the path to the trail head past the “fancy” outhouse. Take that path over the wooden bridge. The path splits, go left. You will walk about 50 yards and come across a dirt road that interrupts the path. Just walk across the dirt road and the path picks back up across the street. You will walk about 1/2 mile through the woods/trees and come across the actual trail head and map of the trail.

The Trail: the GILL trail runs along the water that leads to Cheesman Lake. Its and out and back.

Suggestions: Bring plenty of water 100oz or more and have at least one hiking friend

We are VERY experienced hikers and this was a Incredibly challenging. The trail is very challenging to follow and the last mile to Cheeseman Lake was a lot of climbing and bouldering.

The views are BEAUTIFUL!

Checked this one off 8/11/18. We left the trailhead at 5:20 and hit the summit at 9:20. The bike race up the Peak was today. I don’t know if they delayed opening the road to vehicle traffic because of that, but when we hit the top, the only folks there were the cyclists (including two unicyclists, you maniacs), and a couple other hikers who got there before us. But the tour busses started showing up while we were milling about the summit house (note: I ate a donut because I think you have to the first time, but it’s kind of a garbage donut). As others have said, you have to understand there are going to be a lot of people in the summit, but it was certainly a lot more pleasant before the Devil’s Playground parking lot filled up. So, I guess I’m saying that if you take off early enough, and move at a decent pace, you can avoid most or all of the crowds. The downshot there is you’ll be waking through a gorgeous pine forest in the dark when you first set out. But you’ll see it on the way back.

I made a mistake regarding the weather. I expected temps to stay steady in the mid-40s all the way up, which is what I dressed for (shorts and a pullover). I would have been fine, except I didn’t account for how long it would take the sun to get over the top of the mountain. We were well above tree line before the sun finally appeared, and I was freezing my ass off. But, I’m a pretty cool moment, the sun topped the mountain, the trail leveled out a little, and the summit came into view, all within seconds of each other. I should note, I had more layers in my bag, but I was being stubborn and didn’t want everyone to stop so I could put some pants on.

It’s an easy route to follow. We had (almost) no trouble with wayfinding. Right before treeline, we somehow started following a social path that switchbacked through some gravelly scree, but it led us right back to the main trail. Probably no more than 3 minutes off trail. We had no trouble with route finding coming down. The steepest sections below Devil’s Playground and above tree line was a bit loose in spots. Trekking poles would have probably come in handy, but it was fine.

All in all, a good hike. Good physical challenge, great views looking west, with the Sawatch at the far end of the horizon.

Saturday Aug 4th. Great trail. Started at 4:30 am. Heard a mountain lion scream around 5 am...super scary but we pressed on. Made it to the summit at 10:30 am...the last section with scrambling was difficult but fun. enjoyed a donut at the top. We took the free shuttle to devils playground and then hiked the rest of the way down. Glad we took the shuttle because we got to the car just in time before it started storming! My tip for others is start early, bring headlamps, proper gear, cash for tips if you take the shuttle down and watch the skys.

hiking
4 days ago

Great little hike. We took the dog with us and he seemed to enjoy it as well. Some hard scramble spots but the dog and I made it through with no issues. Beautiful views of the river from every angle!! Would do it again.

Checked this one off on 08-04-18. Yep to all the previous postings, so I’ll save you that. A great trail to get some beautiful views to the south and west of Pikes Peak that you won’t necessarily get from the summit/Barr Trail.

You have to go into this one just knowing you are going to encounter a lot of visitors and be next to the toll road once you hit Devil’s Playground. With that said, this approach is less crowded than from the east, and the toll road doesn’t open until 7:30AM, so if you get an early enough start and get after it, no cars. This will also help with parking at Crags TH, as there was plenty of parking around 5AM but it was packed when we returned around noon.

Last thing, based off two different GPSs, it was respectively 14 miles round trip to/from the Crags TH and summit. Oh, and the doughnuts at the summit are worth it...

hiking
24 days ago

Definitely one of the best trails I’ve been on! Unfortunately, I didn’t finish because of the trail being destroyed from mud slides. I spent maybe 30 mins trying to find the trail. I had less then a mile to go. But decided to turn back. If you like huge boulders and a trail that follows the stream this is for (you).

I saw a lot of people fly fishing throughout the trail must be fairly decent.

I’ll be back!

hiking
25 days ago

Arrived at the parking area on a Saturday at 0630 and only one other car was there. Hiked the trail clockwise and it took right at 5 hrs and clocked in right at 11 miles. Plenty of creek crossings but water was low so no need to take boots off. I do wish I had brought long pants, you will be hiking through a lot of shrubs. Some of the trails were poorly marked and wasn’t sure what direction. Just pulled out my AllTrails app and made sure I was headed in the right direction. Unfortunately only animals I saw were turkey, woodpeckers and chipmunks. Beautiful hike though!!

Did this on July 8th 2018. Trail is well marked until you you get beside the road. There are rock cairns marking the trail all the way to the top. It was 41 degrees at trailhead at 6am. Took me 3.5 hours to get to the top. Average is probably 5 to 6 i would think if in a group with different ability levels. Expect to move pretty quickly first 2 miles then mile 3 is a straight up grind. Then you can make up time again until you get to the last .8 miles. Then it's straight up again. My GPS on my phone tagged 7 miles even to the top. Right at 14 at the trailhead. Put that sunscreen on early. You'll need it.

26 days ago

Really beautiful along the river. We really didn’t see a point in continuing past the point where the trail separates from the river and goes towards the reservoir.

27 days ago

No one is ever on this trail! So serene. My favorite is to take the connector to hurricane cyn and go down the incline.

The hike from Crags to Devils Playground is a great one. From Devil's Playground to the summit is just average. You spend a decent amount of time next to the road, which is a negative. I was a little worried because some people mentioned losing the trail. I found it to be really well marked and did not have any trouble. I was looking forward to the donuts at the top, but all they have are plain- yuck!

hiking
1 month ago

Also, no parking at the trail head itself. You will have to park at the corner of Park St and Anemone Hill Rd. The rest of the way up is either a private drive or a snow plow turn off with no parking/tow signs.

hiking
1 month ago

Good workout. Wouldnt recommend taking a dog in the summer, mine was feeling the heat and incline, even though we started early. First mile and a half are brutal steep. Good views to the North and East up and down 24, and some really interesting rock gardens to stop in. You cant get to the lake (at least from this trail) as it is now part of the Manitou Watershed and there are signs forbidding entrance. The trail connects to 2-3 other ones though, so one of them may be able to get you closer to the lake. Some fantastic views of Pikes Peak once you crest the summit and start your way down the back side.

Great hike - like most people my biggest complaint is that you hike a significant distance next to the toll road. Dealing with traffic while hiking a 14er takes a little bit away from the "nature" experience. Still an enjoyable all day hike that should be taken seriously. A few things to keep in mind - other than an hour or so in the beginning you're exposed throughout and the final stretch going up requires scrambling a boulder field. I passed a few people who were visibly struggling. Just watch for the carrions and take breaks if you need to. You're almost there. Also, as others have mentioned - my round-trip mileage was just over 16 miles. On the other hand - I started later than was advisable and hiked it with my dog so if you have the physical abilities and are prepared it's an easy 14er to scratch off your list. If you have time - I did the Incline the day before which was a fun warm up.

We hiked on 7/1 it was a gorgeous day! No afternoon thunderstorms, which worked out well considering we were not the most experienced with such long hikes (we are from Nebraska and this was our first 14er) and we wanted to really take our time and not feel rushed to get back down. Hands down the toughest part is from the tree line to the top of the ridge (3/4ish miles). For someone looking to do a 14er for the first time I would say as long as you pace yourself, stay hydrated and take frequent breaks...this one is definitely doable! And the views...AMAZING!

We hike on 18-0705. We started at 7am from Crag’s TH and summited at 12:50pm, with roughly an hour of stops spread out along the way.

Starting at Crag’s TH to Devil’s playground and to the summit, without getting lost, AllTrails & Strava both recorded this trail at 7.3 miles, one way. (Maybe they’ve altered the trail a bit for rehabitation.) The trail begins with a medium climb for the first mile or so. Once you get to 11,200 (+/-) the climb becomes more strenuous and stays that way until 12,900, a mile or so before Mile 16 parking lot. From the parking lot the trail has some climb but is mostly very enjoyable as it follows, somewhat, the road. Then, once you reach the boulders the last mile plus is straight up, about 800’ +/-. Overall, a great hike for the novice to experienced, but not for a beginner.

Went up 26 May 18. no need for spikes. beautiful views on your way to the tree line, just don't forget to look behind you from time to time. took 7 hours total with a 45 minute stop at the top. last 600 feet is all boulder climbing.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice trail, only downside is that it merges with and runs alongside the road as it approaches the summit. We were surprised at the distance remaining once we got to the shuttle stop at Devil’s Playground.

A great July 4th hike up America’s Mountain!

I Should've heed the warnings about months to go. everything has been drying up quickly but it's very damp and some spots filled with water. We could continue on if we had rain boots. Note to self for next time

Don't listen to people that say this isn't 6.3 miles one way, and that it varies widely. I hiked it today and my Garmin said it was about 6.7. I think these people get lost. My main piece of advice: FOLLOW THE STONE "CAIRNS". Once you clear the tree line you'll start to see them and they will be a life saver on the final summit - especially if you get caught in dense fog like I did. Very beautiful hike if you're lucky to catch some rising clouds.

PS: It took me and a buddy 5 hours exactly to summit. The weather was so bad we took the shuttle down to the Devil's Playground stop and finished the hike from there. All in all, it took us 7 hours and 48 minutes.

WARNING: There are a bunch of fallen trees that block the trail on the way down about 30 minutes into the tree line. We got lost! Thankfully we knew how to use GPS/compass. Be aware.

Fantastic, strenuous hike to the summit of Pikes Peak. Bring a jacket. It may be hot in Colorado Springs but it was down in the 50s above the tree line. There are two steep sections: one is about halfway right before Devil’s Playground and the second is a rock scramble to the peak. The rock scramble is very challenging. Consider taking the road back or a shuttle from the summit to the devil’s playground.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike if you’re looking to get a good cardio workout in on a nice day! My gps tracker said it was about 7.01 miles round trip. Long switchbacks and loose gravel before getting to the top. Going down the back of the mountain is much easier with some incline but also the decline. Time was 3hrs and 35 mins round trip. Didn’t see any one else or animals, just birds and lots of insects

Make note: this trail isn’t 6.3 miles one way. I clocked in at about 8 miles one way and I didn’t even get to summit due to bad weather. I was about 700 ft from the summit when it started snowing and hailing. I also heard several other talk about the trail being longer than what is stated on AllTrails. Very beautiful hike, regardless! Will attempt again soon.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is lovely but also fetted by the noise of Hwy 24 for the first 3 miles or so. Elevation climb is significant to start and then levels off. Best part of the hike, in our opinion, occurs after summiting Mt. Cascade. The back side of the mountain opens into a beautiful meadow as the trail meanders through aspen trees and wildflowers.

Wow...you definitely know you’ve accomplished something when you summit America’s Mountain! It’s a great hike but you definitely want to be in decent shape before attempting it. The majority of elevation gain is on the trail through the forest on the way up to Devils Playground. The views and landscape are breathtaking at that point. The trail evens out a bit on the portion that follows the paved road. The boulder field on the push to the summit is a challenge but some very fun climbing! Our hiking crew was my husband and I (we’re in our mid/late 40’s), and 2 of our kids ages 16 and 19. We summited in 4 and 1/2 hours. We grabbed a cold drink, refilled our camel-backs, and the kids enjoyed the donuts at the summit house. This climb is tough but way worth the effort!! (And in my opinion better than the alternative of 24 miles on Barr trail).

Hiked this trail yesterday, the short version is that it’s a challenging but extremely rewarding hike. It’s important to keep in mind that this trail is especially hard on ones knees and ankles, as the trail is at a near constant and increasingly steep incline on the way up and a sharp decline on the way down. The last stretch of the trail before the summit is arguably rock climbing, make sure you physically and mentally prepare yourself for a tough climb. It’s also a good idea to dress in layers, it will likely be colder outside if you start before sunrise and it will most
Definitely be cool and windy as you increase altitude. I started this trail wearing a jacket and gloves and finished in a tank top and shorts, as it was hot by the time I got below the treeline on my down. Be sure you are in good physical shape before you hike this trail, and enjoy the view!

Did this with two other relatively fit folks. We added 3 miles to our trip because the initial 4x4 road was closed for tree spraying. With the extra distance, took about 6 hours to get to the top. The way up has some steep sections, but is moderate most of the way. Beautiful, green trail and we only saw a random bank of snow here and there towards the top.

Very weird to only see 6 people on the trail and then summit and see hundreds of people milling around the observation deck and gift shop. However, we gave in and got a donut at the gift shop and it was amazing. Probably the hardest part is the way back down as the trail is 50/50 rock and dirt and landing on rock while descending is rough on the knees.

Final thoughts: VERY pretty views, bring sunscreen, refill your water at the top, eat a donut, bring poles for the way down, enjoy!

trail running
2 months ago

My 6-month-old puppy and I ran this trail. The first couple of miles were hard and seemed to be straight up overall it was a good hike/run. The amount of gravel made it hard to run at some points. We did the whole trail in about 3 hours.

This one is tough for hikers not from the area. We are from no elevation and definitely experienced some altitude sickness combined with exhaustion. Took us 6hrs/45 mins to the top of Pike's Peak and we had to get a ride back down. I think the average is only 4 hours so we may have just been ill prepared. Luckily our friends were able to get a ride back to the bottom of Devil's Playground and then hike back to our car to then drive back up and pick us up. We were too exhausted to make it back down ourselves.

Also beware the you are not getting the trail reviews mixed up. We thought this was just the 8.5 mile hike that's titled "Devil's Playground from the Crags". Nope! Definitely 12.5 miles. There is rock climbing for the last 1000 feet or so but nothing too bad. They are big boulders that you climb on top of until you reach the summit. In retrospect I would have done an easier one first, especially since I'm not accustomed to the altitude. But now that we've done it I am proud we did it. It was the coolest thing we did for sure. Be prepared for high winds and some snow!

hiking
2 months ago

I’ve done Heizer trail a few times now and here are just some things for people that aren’t familiar to be aware of. You gain about 90% of the elevation in the first mile. The switchbacks are covered with loose gravel, so you NEED a walking stick or trekking poles (there’s a pile of walking sticks at the starting point). Bring a snack for when you get to the end point, those switchbacks take a lot out of you and you still have to make the trek back to the car. Bring double the amount of water you think you’ll need (leave half in the car if it’s too heavy). Bringing a towel so you can dip it in the watershed and wrap it around your neck helps tremendously (that water is COLD). This trail has some shade, but also A LOT of uncovered trail. On average, it takes 4 hours to get to the end point (without many breaks) and 2 hours to get back to the starting point.
The switchbacks on that first peak seem to never end, but I swear they do! When you get over that first Peak and into the valley, you’ll be covered by trees and have views of Pikes Peak through the trees.
It’s a wonderful hike, just be prepared :)
I’ve also added photos to the album :)

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