Hiking Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain – Colorado’s Busiest Peak

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Article Categories: Hiking
Article Tags: CO 14er | Colorado | Day Hikes

Pikes Peak is one of the most recognizable peaks in the nation. Standing at 14,115 feet, Pikes Peak looms over the towns to the east, features a road to the summit, a cog railway, and is the site of an incredible mountain marathon every year. Pikes Peak makes for a difficult day of hiking, via any route, so we’ve included below everything you need for either route.

Distance –14 miles round trip (22.53 km)
Height – 14,115 feet (4,302.25 m)
Elevation gain – 4,300 feet (1,310.64 m)
Duration – 9 to 12 hours (book time)
Difficulty – Strenuous
Class: Class 2 Hike
Seasons – Year-round (caution and experience needed in winter – see below)
Trailhead Location – Crags Campground – 10,000 feet (directions below)

Trail Maps

We have built the below trail map by combining gpx files for both the Barr Trail (East Route) and the Devil’s Playground from the Crags (Northwest Route). Below you will see the trails for each option. You can zoom in and take a screenshot of the route you plan on taking.

Trails

Crags Trailhead: 14 Miles Round Trip | 4,300 Feet Elevation Gain | Class 2

This route up Pikes Peak features a lot less mileage and a lot less elevation gain than the Barr trail, making it the far easier option. This is a well traveled route, easy to follow, and features little to no very difficult sections.

In winter months, the road is closed to Crags Campground, adding 1.1 miles each way of road walking.

Beginning at Crags Campground, hikers begin by crossing the Fourmile Creek on a small bridge. Only shortly after this crossing, hikers reach a junction of the Crags trail (left), and trail number #664a (right). Hikers stay on the #664A trail towards Devils Playground Trail and Pikes Peak Summit just shortly after the #664a sign indicating you are on the correct trail.

The trail is straightforward, and gradual gains until hitting treeline. Hikers at treeline ascend a bit of a steeper hill until gaining the ridge at 11,900 feet. Once gaining the ridge, the summit can be seen, and the route is very easy to see and follow.

The trail will take you through Devil’s Playground, and eventually to Pikes Peak Road. Once reaching Pikes Peak Road, hikers cross the road, step over a wire, and begin along the trail that parallels the road. It is not permitted for hikers to walk on the road other than to cross it.

Hikers will simply follow the cairns and paths along this route which will breach from the road a bit, and join back up. The hiking is relatively easy until the last 500 feet of elevation gain that is quite steep. The trail is marked with Cairns. Once you ascend up this last push, you will be greeted with lots of buildings, cars, and people (some views as well).

Barr Trail – Manitou Springs Route: 24 Miles Round Trip | 7,600 Feet Elevation Gain | Class 1

This is a long day with tons of elevation gain. Many choose to take this route in an overnight with the camping options (listed below), but many tackle this in one day as well.

This trailhead has parking fees (directions below) and is extremely busy and fills up quickly during summer months. This route has quite a few junctions, but all is very well marked. Simply remain in the Barr trail until reaching the summit.

Around 6 miles in, hikers will reach Barr Camp at 10,100 feet, (about half way to the summit) where many choose to stay overnight to make this trek a little more manageable. Details on camping information is below.

Hiking Pikes Peak in Winter

Both routes above are viable winter options. Both are far less traveled in winter months, and both feature relatively long hikes with beautiful views. The Crags trail becomes 1.1 miles longer each way, making the overall winter trip from the Crags Campground 16.2 miles.

Length, and difficulty aside, this is often one of the safest winter 14ers due to other hikers, due to the road, and summit buildings. With this being said, no one should rely on the added safety of a road, or of summit warmth and food. Prepare for this hike as if it is another remote 14er without a safety net.

The Crags trailhead is the preferred winter option during tougher snow conditions. The mileage of the Barr Trail makes this trek extremely difficult if conditions are not perfect.

Camping At Pikes Peak

Barr Trail Camping Options

The Barr Trail has various camping options. The most known is the Barr Camp which has a main cabin, tent sites, a lean-to shelters and an upper cabin. You can reserve sites here: https://barrcamp.com/

The Barr Trail is extremely busy in summer, and is filled with many hikers turning this into a weekend backpacking trip.

Crags / Devil’s Playground Camping Options

Crags Campground has 17 sites for tents, and small rvs/trailers. You can read about fees, options and operation times here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/psicc/recarea/?recid=12623

Current weather conditions:

Here is the detailed weather forecast for the next few days. We highly recommend you check out the mountain forecast for this region the morning of your hike.

Midland, CO

This Afternoon
Sunny, with a high near 19. Wind chill values as low as -12. West northwest wind 15 to 20 mph.

Tonight
Mostly clear, with a low around 1. Wind chill values as low as -15. West northwest wind 20 to 30 mph.

Tuesday
A chance of snow showers after 10am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 4. Wind chill values as low as -31. Northwest wind 25 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of around one inch possible.

Tuesday Night
A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -10. Wind chill values as low as -34. North northwest wind 20 to 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Wednesday
A chance of snow showers. Partly sunny, with a high near -7. North northwest wind 15 to 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Wednesday Night
A chance of snow showers before 5am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -11. Northwest wind around 25 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.

Thursday
Mostly sunny, with a high near -1. West wind 15 to 25 mph.

Directions & Parking

The Barr Trailhead is accessible year round. Add 1.1 miles each way of road walking in winter for the Crags Trail.

There is a parking fee for the Barr Trail.

Directions to Crags Campground

Directions to Barr Trailhead

Additional Pictures

Views of Colorado Springs From Pikes Peak

Views of Colorado Springs From Pikes Peak

Views From Devi's Playground

Views From Devi’s Playground

Views Back at Pikes Peak Road From Last Summit Push Along Trail

Views Back at Pikes Peak Road From Last Summit Push Along Trail

Views along the ridge

Views along the ridge

Pikes Peak Summit Views

Pikes Peak Summit Views

Pikes Peak Summit Sign

Pikes Peak Summit Sign

Pikes Peak Summit Pano Views

Pikes Peak Summit Pano Views

Looking Back at Devil's Playground

Looking Back at Devil’s Playground

Hiking Pikes Peak - Colorado

Hiking Pikes Peak – Colorado

Gray Jays on Pikes Peak

Gray Jays on Pikes Peak

Devi's Playground

Devi’s Playground

Breaking Treeline on Devils Playground Trail

Breaking Treeline on Devils Playground Trail

Max DesMarais
Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and sharing experiences with others. Max is a published author for various outdoor websites and digital marketing websites. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about