Barr Trail to Pikes Peak

HARD 272 reviews
#5 of 141 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 river 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
7568 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

birding

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

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
12 hours ago

20 hours 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
5 days ago

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

hiking
8 days 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
8 days ago

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

13 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

Difficult but a fantastic hike!

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
26 days ago

hiking
27 days 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.

hiking
28 days ago

hiking
28 days ago

hiking
29 days ago

1 month ago

Love this trail. Challenging but beautiful views.

1 month ago

Love it.

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month 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!