Pikes Peak from the Crags Trail

HARD 196 reviews
#124 of 171 trails in

Pikes Peak from the Crags Trail is a 12.6 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Divide, Colorado that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
12.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,468 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

camping

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

waterfall

wildlife

muddy

old growth

over grown

rocky

snow

CRAGS AREA UPDATE - June 20, 2017 Visitors will continue to notice significant changes in the drainage over the next few years as more and more spruce trees succumb to the natural succession from the beetle infestation. Additional Forest Health Projects, including timber removal, will necessitate future closures in the Crags area beginning in the fall of 2017 for public safety The shortest free hiking route up Pikes Peak From the parking lot you will see the sign for the Crags trailhead. Begin hiking down this trail. After a tenth of a mile you will see a sign on the right labeling trail 664A take this trail across a log bridge and begin your ascent. This trail will take you into a basin at the base of the peak, then it will aggressively gain elevation up to Devil's Playground. As you reach Devil's Playground the rest of the route to the summit comes into view. The ridge is a long and gradual hike. As you hike the ridge you must cross the Pikes Peak Tollway and stay on the Northeast side of the road. The road is regularly patrolled and you will be fined if caught hiking on it. The last bit of trail to the summit is a steep rocky section. Keep your eyes open for cairns that mark the trail. If you stay on the trial this section isn't bad, but if you lose the trail you're in for some tough rock scrambling. At the summit rest in the summit house and return the way you came.

hiking
2 days ago

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.

2 days ago

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.

9 days ago

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...

25 days ago

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.

hiking
26 days ago

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

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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!

hiking
1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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!

hiking
1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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

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

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).

hiking
2 months ago

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!

hiking
2 months ago

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!

2 months ago

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

The first half you gain about 2700 feet. Getting to Devils Playground area is a nice stretch before hitting some more elevation at the end. Trail is easy to follow and Cairns are well placed

2 months ago

You DON’T need 4W drive to get to the trailhead. My tiny car made it fine the dirt road is pretty well maintained. Hiked this 5/27/18. Almost no snow left at all. The hike to Devil’s Playground is tough gaining all the elevation. From there you’ll cross the toll road and follow the cairns. The last bit of scrambling up the rock to the top of Pikes Peak isn’t bad as long as you follow the cairns. The views before you get to Devils Playground and right around there were my favorite of the hike.

2 months ago

5/27, was absolutely gorgeous. Wasn't expecting the long scramble at the top, but still worth it.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked on April 14th, 2018. I'd recommend spikes, but you can get away without them. Definitely don't need snowshoes. Trail is pretty well marked, but make sure to keep an eye out for cairns above treeline.

hiking
4 months ago

HIKED ON APRIL 1, 2018

START: 6:30AM
END: 2:30PM

This was my first 14er. Would not recommend as first 14er for most people unless you hike a lot in difficult conditions. The 13 miles RT and 4300ft elevation gain is not easy without proper training and hiking experience.

YOU DO NOT NEED 4WD TO GET TO TRAILHEAD!! ROAD IS PERFECTLY CLEAR FOR ALL TYPES OF CARS

Hike to summit took 4 hours. 2 hours up to tree line, 2 hours above tree line. Lots of elevation gain on first half of hike. Make sure to look for and follow Cairns, some are hard to see but trail is marked the whole way. Some scrambling the final bit up to summit but not difficult.

Spent maybe an hour at summit. Ate lunch and took some pictures before heading down.

Hike back to trailhead took about 3 hours.

Other than strong wind and some icy spots in the trees this was a pretty chill hike. Not too difficult for an intermediate hiker.

2 hour drive from Denver to Trailhead

4 months ago

Need 4wheel drive to get to trailhead. Rough terrain on the road. Trail is easy to follow until you get above the tree line. With it being slightly snow covered we lost it up the first ascent which led to a slow climb to the basin. High winds in the basin section until you get to Devil’s playground. Didn’t need traction devices on way up but used yaktrax on the way down to avoid slipping on some ice patches. Long hike but great views of the continental divide & the crags!

hiking
5 months ago

Started at 6 am...was a little disappointed that after hiking all day....the summit house only had t-shirts that said I Hiked from the car....way too commercialized....and too many people. Prefer less crowded 14ers....

hiking
5 months ago

First 14er! Started sometime around 5:30 AM. Had some difficulty following the trail in the dark (with head lamp) and missed the 646A sign. Had to use the All trails app to help. Once on the right trail, no problems until the last 1/4 mile scramble d/t missing some cairns. Fun hike. Felt like I did millions of squats. Definetly felt the burn in some areas. Beatiful scenery. Of course loads of people at the summit. It is what it is. Parking for this trail is a bit bumpy, go at a snails pace especially in the dark!

5 months ago

Summited Pikes Peak from here on 16 Feb. Road to trailhead was snowy but easily passable for my truck in 2WD. Trail was easy to follow below the tree line, but lost it a few times above. Just follow the cairns. Huge winds at the summit, but very little snow. Didn’t use any floatation or traction up or down. Great and tough winter hike!!

hiking
6 months ago

First 14ner. And a winter ascent to boot. Tough but fair. Great experience

hiking
6 months ago

the mtn was fairly kind a bit cold and windy on top but not to bad for middle of January very little snow and able to summit in 4.5 hours thank God for the hand dryers in the summit house bathrooms.

hiking
7 months ago

Did it on New Years Eve, trail was in good condition, it was cold and windy above treeline. Layer up!

7 months ago

great hike up and back. Difficult above the tree line, especially with weather.

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