Barr Trail to Pikes Peak

HARD 282 reviews
#3 of 144 trails in

Barr Trail to Pikes Peak is a 23 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
23.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
7250 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

hiking
19 days 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
20 days 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
1 month 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.)

1 month ago

Tough! Gorgeous views

1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month 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

2 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
2 months ago

Did this hike last month, great workout and views! Sometimes a little crowded.

hiking
2 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
2 months ago

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

2 months ago

Difficult but a fantastic hike!

hiking
2 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.

3 months ago

Love this trail. Challenging but beautiful views.

3 months ago

Love it.

hiking
3 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
3 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
3 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
3 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!

hiking
3 months ago

Took the Cog up and hiked down. We went in mid July and there were a few snow fields to cross near the top. Watch your footing through these. There was a Storm that came over while we were above treeline at around 11 am. These storms can be dangerous when so openly exposed due to lightning. With this particular storm there was sleet and rain, no lightning. The storm added to the experience for me. This is not a technical hike, but is very taxing on the knees because of the steep grade above treeline. We arrived at Barr Camp which is the half way point around 2 in the afternoon. We had reserved a lean to, but upgraded to inside main cabin due to being cold and rainey. There happened to be several bunks that were open. We left Barr Camp with very sore legs at 6am and made it to parking lot at end of trail at 10ish. The hike through the different ecological life zones and scenery is awesome! Highly recommend this hike. We will be going back to hike up it. Happy Trails!

hiking
3 months ago

My husband and I started yesterday at 4am and reached the summit at 2pm. Took a lot of breaks and enjoyed the amazing scenery! We are from Iowa and in decent shape and really had no issues reaching the top! Our success was made possible by drinking plenty of water, eating around 200 calories every hour and taking little breaks! The views are worth the work

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