Barr Trail to Pikes Peak

HARD 317 reviews
#4 of 163 trails in

Barr Trail to Pikes Peak is a 21.3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Manitou Springs, Colorado that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
21.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
7401 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

rocky

snow

The trail is wide and very accessible from the ascension and descension standpoint. The last mile is the hardest and takes a lot of stamina to conquer the final walk across the boulder field. $20/day parking fee. You can use the ParkMobile app to pay

backpacking
16 hours ago

Awesome hike, the Barr Trail is well maintained. The Barr Camp is an excellent place to stay the night and relax. Just remember to bring plenty of warm dry clothes.

18 days ago

Did this trail on 05-05-18. Great weather but the last three miles were heavily snow covered making it hard to see the trail. We were exhausted at the end and hitched a ride back down.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a great first 14’er hike because of its length. Hiked this trail in September of 2017. My dog and I took off up the trail at 5 am and reached the summit by 11:10am. We hung out for a bit and hiked back down. We booked it and got back to the trailhead at 1:20pm. Total distance was 22.7 miles. I would recommend to anyone who wants a good challenge. Extremely beautiful to see the landscape change throughout the 8500 feet of elevation gain.

hiking
1 month ago

The views are amazing. Also the Barr Camp stop is great right before the hiking gets really tough. I will say, I would recommend letting the snow and ice melt a little more. Could not have done this Trail without micro spikes. It made the last 3 miles particularly rough. I’ll definitely do this Trail again, probably just between June and September. Also, be smarter than me, and don’t assume you can buy a ticket and ride the cog rail down. It’s closed indefinitely.

hiking
2 months ago

Climbed on March 11th, 2018. Took me about 6 hours to get to the top after stopping periodically for the view and lunch. Climb was fairly easy until around 11,500 ft, then the elevation started to slow me down. Not much snow on the bottom but by the time we reached the top it was 3' in some spots. Close to the top you can only identify the trail by prints in the snow. Views were fantastic and photo ops were abundant. Crowded at the top by people who drove up (Road closes at 3pm for the way up, 4pm on the way down).

It was definitely a lot of a fun, and I'm sure I'll do it again.

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome hike ! Make sure you check in at Barr Camp to see about the weather on the summit. The first time I attempted the winds were 60mph so the roads and train were closed. Decided it wasn’t safe to keep going. Came back a second time , no regrets.

3 months ago

This was my first 14er a few years ago and I love going back. Absolutely wonderful! Why drive to the top when you can hike it??? The views certainly make up for the painful switchbacks towards the top. Loved it. ❤

4 months ago

Hiked today with husband 4 mikes up gave my lungs a workout

4 months ago

absolutely amazing hike. everyone should do it at least once in their life, it's a great challenge!

4 months ago

The best hike I've ever done!

My profile: I'm a really active guy and I've been living all my life at sea level. I moved to Colorado Springs 6 months ago.

I've done the Barr trail twice.

- A month ago, at the beginning of December 2017, I tried the Barr Trail through the Incline. It took me 7h to reach the summit and for several times I had to stop for some seconds to catch up with my breath. It was my first time at the incline and the first time over 10,000 feet.

- After my first attempt a month ago, I did the Incline 5 times and twice to Barr Camp to get ready. Then, January 9th 2018 I did my real Barr Camp trail.

I started at 8.30am. It took me 37min to finish the Incline and in 1h50 min from my start I was at Barr Camp. I reached the summit of Pikes Peak in a total of 5h30min. I ate at the bar some spaghetti that I brought with me and after 20 min break I went back down. It took me 3h50min to do the way down, also through the Incline.

My advice: go to Barr Camp a couple of times before to try Pikes Peak. It's worth it because it will allow you to enjoy the views a little bit more when you're over 10,000. Also, the last 2 miles can be miserable and endless if you're not used to the altitude.

hiking
4 months ago

We have done this twice. The first time when our twins were 9 and again with friends when our kids were 10. It is not an easy trail above Barr Camp. Our kids started hiking at age 2. We were EXPECTING it to be difficult for them. That said, it was the hardest AND MOST REWARDING trail we have ever hiked. We have camped both in the outdoor "lean-to" shelters and in the bunks indoor at Barr Camp. Carry plenty of snacks for energy and plenty of water. Be prepared for weather to deteriorate as you approach noon above treeline. It can come in from BELOW you. Above treeline, there is no shelter until you reach the summit gift shop. Lightening can be an issue. This is a phenomenal hike but BE PREPARED. DO YOUR RESEARCH.

hiking
4 months ago

Trail was beautiful. Walked this trail December 30th 2017.

I moved to Colorado from sea level about a month ago. The first 10 miles of this trail is relatively easy... but around 12,000ft the altitude started to take effect.

Took about 12-13hrs round trip.

4 months ago

Fantastic trail

hiking
5 months ago

Hike was tough. Take your time, bring lots of water and high energy snacks. The view is worth the hike. I hiked the trail twice. The first time was up and back. The second time was up and then rode the incline down. Wonderful time.

hiking
5 months ago

Love this trail so much I even went when Incline was closed and got to take time to see the waterfall, creek and get above the fog to see the sea of white clouds. Amazing.

hiking
6 months ago

Was a grueling day hike but by starting at 5 I had plenty of time. Their were a few snow drifts above tree line but you can easily walk around most of them. On my way down right at Barr Camp I experienced some of Colorado’s unexpected snow showers. I also got into a stare off with a tiny bobcat just 10 feet away. (If you don’t want to pay a parking fee park at old mans parking lot it is free but it adds a 1.5 mile walk to the beginning of the Barr Trail.)

6 months ago

Tough! Gorgeous views

7 months ago

Still reveling in the experience of this hike we took last July. Thinking about another 14er next Summer.

hiking
7 months ago

Awesome hike ! Good idea to camp at Barr camp at 6 mile point too if you want to split your hike into a few days . Can also take the railway one way too but $$ for $35 . Park in the free lot at memorial park and take the shuttle to the trailhead . Shuttles start running at 6 am! Good hike ! Took us 8 hours to get to the top . Creek at halfway point to refill weather

7 months ago

This was my first 14’er (a few years ago). In retrospect, that wasn’t the greatest decision I’ve made. While this flatlander made on 2 days acclimation, I would have been MUCH better off doing Quandary, Bierstadt, or Huron - even the Grays-Torreys combo, as my first. Nonetheless, I survived it and took the cog railway back down with a 1-way ticket. If you’re doing it as your first 14’er, you might want to do some reading on www.14ers.com first. There are some good people there, and tons of good information. Their app is absolutely invaluable when preparing for, and when on, a mountain.

hiking
7 months ago

My 1st 14er! Trained hard to meet this goal- left the $5 a day parking lot in Manitou Springs at 6am and summered the top at 2pm. The trail, for the most part, is well maintained although there are few to no mile markers after leaving Barr Camp. At times- could easily lose the trail in the last 6 miles. The Aspen leaves were gorgeous and the weather spectacular. As noted by others, the second half of this hike is the hardest- steeper climbs and greater elevations- but the pay-off is the step-by-step awesome views once you are above the timberline!

hiking
7 months ago

Hard but rewarding. Lots of elevation gain and long. My 1st 14er

7 months ago

Difficult but a fantastic hike!

hiking
8 months ago

The hike is challenging, beautiful, and will push most hikers. The summit moment is a bit compromised when you have to share it with people who took the train or just drove to the top, but it's nothing donuts and coffee at the Summit House can't alleviate. I took the hike in mid-September when several aspen stands were already in full Fall colors, which was nice. Many people complete the full 23 mile round-trip in one day. There are even scary-fit people who treat it as a marathon run and finish in just a few hours. I'm not one of them. I'm slow. So here are a few suggestions for slow rookie hikers like me:

1. The hike can be 1-way! The Pikes Peak Cog Railway offers hikers' fares on the first and last trains of the day (http://www.cograilway.com/rates.asp#hiker-rates). In my case, going down is hard on my joints, so for $25 I was able to take a train down. I'd highly recommend having a reservation in advance even if you plan on the round trip just in case. Think of it as a $25 insurance policy.

2. I did the trail over 2 days stopping off at Barr Camp (www.barrcamp.com) for the night. The camp is a not-for-profit cabin that's about 6 miles up the trail at about 10,200 feet. I was able to sleep in the bunk house, out of the elements, for about $43 which included dinner, breakfast, and complimentary ibuprofen (all of which I took full advantage). They also sell some beverages and snacks including Gatoraid and some wonderful energy brownies. Cheaper overnight options are available (tent sites and lean-to's) but the bunk house allowed me to only carry a light sleeping bag in addition to my normal day-pack.

3. The stated parking fee of $20 is no longer current. Fees are now closer to $40 a day. Moreover, the only way to pay is through the ParkMobile app. Setting up the app is time consuming and reception can be spotty at the lot so get it set up in advance. Additionally, there is a free shuttle service from a central lot (https://manitousprings.org/manitou-springs-free-shuttle-service/) but it may not be operating as early as someone would need for a 23 mile day. Schedule accordingly.

4. Speaking of parking, booking a night at Barr Camp entitles you to a voucher for reduced parking. I paid $25 for essentially two-days on the lot (normally this would be about $80). Make sure you display the voucher on your dash though, I got a ticket despite having paid (I'll update the review once the City of Manitou Springs determines my appeal.)

5. As with any Fourteener, be prepared for a 30 degree temperature drop between the base and the summit. Plan for windy conditions and remember that most everything you wear will be damp with sweat. I was glad I had kept a dry shirt and change of pants in a plastic bag in my pack. I was able to change once I got to the Summit House and start the process of warming up.

Overall, it's a challenging trail with the hardest and most technical portion (the Golden Stairs) saved for the very last part when your body is exhausted and the air is the thinnest. Not a good Fourteener to start with, but certainly worth training up for.

8 months ago

Love this trail. Challenging but beautiful views.

8 months ago

Love it.

hiking
8 months ago

Being from Illinois, I was afraid we would have trouble with altitude. We brought supplemental oxygen but never needed it, for which I am proud! Me and my fiancé are both runners and in pretty decent shape. Planned the hike 5 days after arriving to Colorado. Started out from Barr Camp trailhead about 4:30am and reached Barr Camp around 7:30am. Left Barr Camp at 8:00 am and summited at 1:00 pm. We planed for the hike from Camp to summit to be about 2 hours longer than the hike to Barr Camp. Took the Cog back down. Awesome views especially once you reach and pass tree line. Snacks, lots of water and frequent breaks were key in our success. We actually brought too many snacks. The doughnuts at the Summit House were very underwhelming. Overall, an awesome experience! We are now planning our next hike up to 14,000 ft!

hiking
8 months ago

My son and I hiked to the summit in about 9 hours. During the ascent we drank about 2 liters of water each. We packed way too much food; we ate a total of two clif bars, a handful of slim jims, and a small baggie of trail mix. Normally we don't hike with poles but did this trip. This would have been a lot harder for me without the poles to supplement the climb. The last 1,000 feet of the hike was bananas. Though low O2 and tricky boulder fields made for some lasting memories.

hiking
8 months ago

Parking is over $40 for the entire day, but the lot is directly at the base of Barr Trail.

I hiked / climbed Mount Whitney in June (including two serious uphill snow chutes) and this hike was WAY harder. The Barr Trail is longer, with more elevation gain, and some rougher terrain - especially in the last three miles. Having said this, the weather was perfect (absent the extreme temperature swing between the bottom and top), the scenery is awesome, and it is a notable accomplishment to go up AND back. I'll be back in a couple of months to ride my bike up the Pike's Peak Highway to the summit - this way I can say I drove it, hiked it, and biked it. I'll also be back to hike to the summit again, but maybe take a ride down..

hiking
8 months ago

Parking at the lot is $40.35 (via Parkmobile app) as of Sunday 8/27. I would suggest a carpool if you plan on parking there! This is a beautiful trail with camping options along the way in national forest lands. Going up and back in a single day is no joke but very rewarding. You'll be a legend up at the summit!

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