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Pikes Peak via Barr Trail

HARD 618 reviews
#4 of 217 trails in

Pikes Peak via Barr Trail 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: 7,401 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

snowshoeing

bike touring

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

scramble

fee

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. $10/day parking fee.

hiking
icy
4 hours ago

When they say hard they meant it! Don’t go if your legs and lungs aren’t conditioned to these kinds of altitude gains and steep climbs once you get to the stairs for the peak climb.

hiking
20 hours ago

We backpacked this back in June over the course of 3 days. We ended up setting up camp just uphill from Barr Camp. It is an incredible hike, however, do your homework before attempting it. Also, if attempting in one day, make sure you are physically fit and acclimated. People train to hike this trail in one day; it’s not for a novice hiker!

hiking
icy
21 days ago

This was an extremely hard trail. Not only was it hard in the altitude but the time it took from manitou to the summit was right around 7:30-8 hrs. It was also covered in a lot of ice and loose snow so bring proper equipment. Additionally, the amount of switchbacks is enough to drive someone mad. Don’t look at the red straight line and think oh I’m going up, it’s all switchbacks. Light loads, lots of water, bring proper equipment

hiking
1 month ago

In August, hiked to Bar Camp. Rented the upper Cabin for the night for 6 hikers in our group. Nice to have a cooked spaghetti dinner. Hikers can buy drinks and food at the kitchen. Summited on day 2. Visitors center at the top was very crowded with car riders. Didn’t enjoy the food either. Trail was great and trails well marked. Nice incline!

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike and beautiful view. If you plan on staying overnight bring only what you need. Your gaining a lot of elevation so start early. Parking at bottom is 10 dollars and you can also stay overnight either by camping or reserving in advance for lodging. Also bring water for the initial hike as there isn't any sources for awhile.

hiking
2 months ago

Arrived from sea level at Friday evening and did the hike Sunday morning. First real hike I did and the views just before the summit were the best. Got perfect weather today and there still was a little bit of snow at some points. Only went up and hitched a ride back.

hiking
2 months ago

A wonderful scenic climb. Me and my 63 year old sister made the ~13 mile summit right around 8 hours. The trail has a relatively modest incline for ~10 miles until you break the tree line and then the climb really begins due to the altitude and incline. The hardest part of this 14er is the distance. Since it starts in Manitou Springs the approach is quite a long hike, but bagging the ~7500’ of gain is a reward that can really only be obtained on the Front Rabge

hiking
2 months ago

We spent 6 days in Manitou Springs hiking the Barr Trail exploring. One of the days we summited Pikes Peak. But we really enjoyed some of the trails via Barr trail you can take in the area. Some were harder than others but worth the incredible views. One of the days we hiked Barr trail was at 3:30 in the morning and the views in the dark of Colorado Springs area were stunning! We did however get off trail a few times in the dark discovering the incline but just back tracked a little. Barr Camp is very cool as well as the folks volunteering there. Around the 2 miles to the summit sign we somehow got off trail but found our way back just by looking up at a crane up top doing construction. The last mile was intense and when we got close I decided to climb up these huge boulders and loose rocks to the summit that were off the trail ! Very fun experience.

hiking
2 months ago

Started at 7am. It took 5hrs to summit and 3hrs to jog back down. After passing Barr camp on the way up, I began running into group after group who were turning back due to news of 60mph winds at the top. I barely even noticed the wind, definitely nothing to turn back over. Good work out. There’s an overpriced gas station at the top.

hiking
2 months ago

Started late at 6:15, but clear skies and no weather issues all day. Tough, but the reward is incredible. Summit view isn't spectacular, but the journey is the gift.

hiking
2 months ago

Hit the trail at 5am. There were 2-3 other groups of people starting at the same time. Really enjoyed being alone on the trail for the most part. The sunrise was the most beautiful scenery of the whole hike I would say. Made it up to the Barr camp, 6 miles in 3 hours. The trails goes straight up with many switch backs. Had my first break, 2 cups of coffee and little chat. Next 3 miles were kind of the same. After that bunch of people missed the main trail and I also followed without thinking so ended up doing around 0.5 miles of straight uphill hiking before we found the main trail so that was a nice little adventure... could have been worse! More steepish hike for around 2.5 miles before I saw the famous sign '16 golden stairs'. It gets steeper from here with lot of switch backs, I guess 1500 feet in last 1 mile. On the summit there were hundreds of people who drove all the way up! So not much of a very rewarding summit. But I was happy to see my husband who drove up to get me and brought my much needed protein shake. Overall I liked the hike, not the most beautiful views but I like the physical challenge part of it very much. It was close to 13 miles up and 7300ft of elevation gain. Took me around 7 hours. No need to do it again I guess.

2 months ago

About 2 miles from the start the trail curves sharply to the left and that is easy to miss especially if one starts in the early morning when it's still dark. If you end up at a staircase going up and down the Manitou Incline, you went too far and you will need to turn back and then look to your right and you will see the trail in about 20-30 yards curving to the right. Otherwise a great hike, very doable if you have a reasonable level of fitness and go at your own pace especially above the tree line where the air gets increasingly thinner and thinner. If you start from the parking lot in Manitou Springs (Hydro Street) and plan to go back the same day, it will make for a very long hike, about 26 M, so start early (I started at 3 AM and reached the summit at 11 AM). I thought the section of the trail between Manitou Springs and the Barr Camp was the most gorgeous part of the hike, with a great views of the mountains.

hiking
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

I loved this hike was so challenging and the view at the top was spectacular. With that being said, it is not a trail for beginners. The first 3 mile are very rocky and medium level challenging, I do the incline every Sunday so I take this trail to go down all the time. We were on the trail by 4 am, you really want to get there before sunrise the heat from the sun takes a huge toll on your body and time as well. You will gain a lot of altitude in the first 4 miles. Between miles 3.5 and 7 the trail gets less rocky and more stable. After mile 7, is all about going up, climbing rocks and after the tree line you can barely breath. I hurt my knee in the last 2 miles which are the most difficult. We were still able to make it to the top, it took us 8 hours total.

3 months ago

Hiked the trail on 9/8 after flying in from DC on Saturday. Great hike! Started around 0445. First three-3.5 miles are definitely a long slog but pretty neat to hike under the dark sky and constellations. Took me 3hrs to get to Barr Camp. Host said people usually add an extra hour on the second half which I found to be pretty accurate. I took a rest at the Aframe shelter. Peaceful, then hiked to the top. Was more discouraged by the two different mile marker signs and not knowing which was correct, than by altitude past treeline. Saw a few marmots near the final mile which was neat.

hiking
3 months ago

Hiked on 9/10, trail in perfect condition. I tracked it at 13.3 miles from parking lot to summit. Made it up in almost exactly 6 hours, but be prepared for a long, long hike. Last 3 miles were pretty tough. Also be prepared to hike all the way back down if not getting a ride. The last couple miles back were exhausting. Overall a beautiful trail though!

hiking
3 months ago

50 years old. In moderate shape. I walk daily 3-5 miles. I'm from central Nebraska. This trail kicked my butt! But, it was totally worth it. Took a little over 10 hours.

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Completed this hike during the September long weekend. Started at 4.30am from the Barr trail with very little idea of what the trail holds in store for us! The first 3 miles is a gradual easy climb. Very green, very beautiful. You will come across a fork about 2ish miles from the trailhead, right turn leads to manitou incline, left leads to Barr trail. Do not go to the Manitou Incline. It does not join the Barr trail directly and you will end up losing time and adding a couple miles to your hike! Once you get to Barr camp (10,200 ft), the real challenge begins! From there on, you will have 6 miles left to reach the summit. The first 2-3 miles are a gradual climb and relatively easy for regular hikers, because you’re well rested at Barr camp! Right before the 4th mile is where you will come across a board that says ‘Miles to the Pikes peak 3’. This is where the tree line ends and the exposed region of the hike begins. You will climb 3000’ in these last 3 miles which were the hardest for me! The last leg of the hike is where you will come across a board which says ‘16 Golden Steps’, I have no idea where the number 16 comes from. This was the point where altitude hit me, I was stopping every 10 steps to catch my breath and my legs had practically given way! Wear sufficient clothing, it is chilly as you get close to the summit, take your time up the last three miles, drink plenty of water and stop as often as you can! Good luck! It took us about 9.5-10hours! This was my first 14er and I am glad I completed it!

hiking
3 months ago

Be strong! We hiked to the summit and took shuttle/had a ride waiting to drive us down. Good call. I am a half marathon runner from middle TN, experience hiking long high altitudes in RMNP but my first 14. my 21 yr old local son accompanied me. I needed his pace for sure especially above tree line- I was at a shuffle trek. Took us 9 1/2 all in to the summit. Here’s the story: up to Barr Camp is the easiest part (4hours for 6miles) and lots of photo stops) and you will likely be feeling strong. I compared it to how I was feeling earlier this year hiking Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden. That hike is rated “hard” in AllTrails. Agree. Barr trail after camp is harder. When you get above tree line, even harder. Don’t be fooled that this is mileage “halfway”. I was well fueled and well hydrated. Harder. The trail markers after tree line get weird- marking both mileage and miles to summit at different signs. O2 low it is confusing. Oh- definitely spring for the O2 boost canisters! Kept me from getting sick like I used to driving Pikes Peak highway to the top. Back to the trail markers...we took a wrong turn. There were lots of other footprints but it was wrong- cut one of the switchbacks and had to handle loose deep crushed rocks and big boulders. Well we have a story at least but could have been pretty scary without GPS map to help us. The final 2 miles might be the hardest and slowest I have ever moved. My son agreed they were hard. Like the other reviewers it is so worth the views. You don’t get them via PP highway or cog (set to reopen 2021). Train and prepare (trek poles for sure) and this can be a top lifetime experience.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Wonderful scenery, if you plan on making at least the whole hike up they do offer shuttles down to mile marker 16 and 13. I would bring a hydration pack/bladder and invest in a life straw of some sort that has a pouch attachment so you can refill your hydration pack at the creek at Barr Camp. The Camp has nice bathrooms and offers free snacks and sunscreen and other snacks gor sale and energy additives for sale. They do rent filters. Trekking poles are recommended but not necessary. I did it without them. I had two other people with me, their dog and my dog. I HIGHLY recommend bringing some sort of filter for refilling your bladder bc my 2L bladder was not enough for myself. The top few miles were rough but the experience and pay off is absolutely worth it. One of my most favorite hikes. Even AFTER visiting Glacier National Park this month!

hiking
3 months ago

it was a great weather day yesterday. I took a 20# pack with clothes, food and extra water and supplies. It took me 5 1/4 hours to get to the top and 3 1/2 to get back down (I am a runner). Parking was terrible because the lot at the incline is closed or something. Trail was in great condition.

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Love Colorado especially pikes peak

hiking
3 months ago

First 14er ever!! We had 2 days to acclimate for the hike from sea level. Parked at Hydro Street lot and started the trail at 4:30am. At this time the lot is wide open and costs just $10. Mistake #1: we couldn’t see the Barr Trail signage too well (between 1.5-2 mi marker) in the morning despite headlamps and ended up doing half the Manitou Incline (WHOOPS!). Don’t do that, lol, although it makes for a good story. Because this isn’t part of Barr trail, we had difficulty getting back on it. Some ladies helped us out and led us back to Barr Trail via the connector. We prob lost 30 min and some stamina with that error. We made it to Barr Camp by 7:45am and got some snacks and used the restroom. We left Barr Camp at 8am and continued the trek. Lovely hike and pretty easy, shaded too! When we hit the tree line the trail started to turn into gravel. That presents mistake #2: we got off the trail accidentally and started just heading straight up towards the crane (working on the summit house). That gassed us and 10 min later we got redirected back onto the switchbacks thanks to google maps. The top 3 miles were hard and my hiking partner got sick. We rested often. Ended up summiting by 12pm and rode the “Rocky Mountain Ride” shuttle service back down. Definitely want to think about that! We made it in 7.5 hours total. I used 2.5 liters of water. Snacks and stuff up top! Enjoy!

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