Hike the Trails on Pikes Peak

If you hiked on every mile of trail in and around Pikes Peak, you’d surely wear out several pairs of boots. Needless to say, the variety of trails is outstanding. For the experienced and strong hiker, Barr Trail is probably the greatest challenge. Those with less endurance or time may want to stroll on one of the self-guided nature hikes at Crystal Reservoir, or take one of the many leisurely hikes in the North Slope Recreation Area around North or South Catamount Reservoirs.

In the descriptions below, we’ll only touch upon a handful of the trails available on Pikes Peak. For more information, we suggest you purchase or borrow one of the many trail maps and/or trail guides for this area.

The Pocket Pals Trail Maps are some of the most detailed and accurate trail maps in the region. The incredible detail on the maps is based on actual GPS data collected in the field by local hikers/cartographers who actually hike these trails. Highly recommended! (Tell them we sent you!)

A book with good detailed information about the trails on Pikes Peak is the Trail Guide to Front Range Colorado – Denver to Pike’s Peak by Z. Malocsay and published by Squeezy Press. Several good maps are available as well, including, the Pikes Peak Atlas Map by Robert Ormes and Robert Houdek, Pikes Peak & Canon City, Colorado, USA (Trails Illustrated Map, 137) and the Colorado Springs & Pikes Peak Trail Map.

Barr Trail

In 1914, Fred Barr and his father started working on a trail that started at the peak of Mt. Manitou above Manitou Springs and would eventually lead to the summit of Pikes Peak. Without any outside financial support, Barr spent three summers surveying the landscape and picking his route. His out-of-pocket cost was estimated to be $10,000, a sizeable sum at that time. On Christmas Eve, 1918, Mr. Barr laid the last set of rocks designating the end of the trail. Later named Barr Trail in his honor, it was the first trail constructed on the east face of Pikes Peak

The lower trailhead for Barr Trail is just above the Cog Railway Depot in Manitou Springs. The upper trailhead is just east of the Summit House. The entire trail is 12.6 miles long and has an elevation gain/loss of 7,510 feet.

Barr Camp, which Fred Barr also constructed, is located 6.8 miles from the lower trailhead. Once a rest stop for burro trips that Barr later led to the summit, Barr Camp is now a rest stop for hikers who may need an extended or overnight rest before continuing. Barr Camp has been staffed year-round since 1977.

For a more detailed description of Barr Trail, please refer the SkyRunner Web site, created and managed by Matt Carpenter. Carpenter is well-known in the area for his many record-setting times for the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon, which is held each fall on Barr Trail. You may also want to refer to the Barr Camp Online Web site for additional information.

Additional Trails

Trail Name Length
(one way)
Elevation Gain/Loss Trailhead Location
Barr Trail 12.6 miles 7,510 feet Lower trailhead just above Cog Railway Depot in Manitou Springs; Upper trailhead on the summit of Pikes Peak, just east of the Summit House.
Bottomless Pit Trail 2.4 miles 760 feet Trail branches off Barr Trail one mile uphill of Barr Camp and dead ends at the bottom of Bottomless Pit
Elk Park Trail 5.2 miles 1,880 feet Western trailhead at Elk Park Pullout, just off Pikes Peak Highway before MM 14. Eastern trailhead joins Barr Trail. Also intersects with Severy Creek Trail.
Manitou Reservoir Trail 3.3 miles 1,175 feet Trail branches off Barr Trail 4.25 miles up from lower trailhead.
Mount Ester Trail 2.4 miles 600 feet Crowe Gulch Picnic Area
Mountain View 1.2 miles 230 feet Trail branches off Barr Trail about .6 mile below Barr Camp.
Severy Creek Trail
(temporarily closed)
4.9 miles 2,550 feet Trailhead just east of Crowe Gulch Picnic Area on Pikes Peak Highway. Joins Elk Park Trail.
Ute Indian Trail
(possibly closed due to private land issue)
3.3 miles 1,380 feet Trailhead west of Cog Railway Depot in Manitou Springs, at the site of the former Incline Station