Hiking Pikes Peak: Things to Know

March 15, 2017

Hiking Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain is the most challenging and rewarding way to experience the mountain. The mountain is certainly a focal point in Colorado Springs, being the highest point in El Paso County. It’s the 31st highest peak of 54 fourteeners in Colorado. But it’s certainly not for the faint of heart. Keep these things in mind before braving this awesome mountain:

FAQ’s for hiking Pikes Peak:

Never! You can visit anytime during the year during normal operating hours, just plan accordingly.
Compass (optionally supplemented with a GPS receiver)
Sunglasses and sunscreen
Extra food and water
Extra clothes
First aid kit
Fire Starter
YES. The path can be rough and rocky. You will more than likely get your feet wet if you are planning on traveling during the winter.
There are no guided tours on Barr trail. If you are looking for something educational, the Pikes Peak Cog railway offers a great guided train ride.
Barr trail is an extreme 13.5 mile hike to the top, if you are not use to this intense of a hike, then no. We suggest hiking around Garden of the Gods Park.
You can not camp on Barr trail. If you need to stay over night during your hike, stay at Barr Camp.

Quick tips:

  • We suggest getting an early start (predawn). Colorado Springs is known for its afternoon showers in the summertime.
  • The Barr Trail is the most popular route up to the summit. It gains 7,510 vertical feet over the course of 13 miles. And that’s just one-way!
  • That, of course, means the hike is about 26 miles, roundtrip.
  • The trailhead is right by the Pikes Peak Cog Railway in Manitou Springs.
  • If you need a break, stop at Barr Camp. It’s 6.8 miles from the trailhead and allows hikers a short or even overnight rest. It will take you anywhere from 4-7 hours to get to Barr Camp.
  • You’ll notice a 20° difference between the trailhead and Barr Camp. Pack accordingly!

Check hours of operation

  • Verify operating hours before you hike. Hours change seasonally.
  • If someone is picking you up, make sure they get through the uphill gate before it closes.
  • Don’t assume transportation will be available. Have a plan B.
  • All persons entering Gateway are subject to posted toll rate.

Check mountain conditions

  • Conditions change drastically and quickly throughout the day.
  • Access to the summit is weather dependent. Call 719-385-7325 for up to date conditions.
  • Barr Trail Hikers: Check in at Barr Camp to verify favorable summit conditions.
    Barr Camp

    Photo by IG user: @wanderfroh

  • Ensure you have proper gear and water.
  • If the Highway and/or summit is closed to visitors, parties will not be able to pick up hikers for transport.

If you will not make the summit by the posted hours – turn around

Requests for transport will be subject to transport and rescue fees:

  • $20/person Transport during normal operating hours
  • $100/person After Transport: If the Pikes Peak Highway is closed but staff is still on site, this is the minimum charge based on circumstances.
  • $500/person After hours recovery/rescue response: If hiker requests rescue or assistance after hours, this is minimum charge based on circumstances.

Pikes Peak staff will only transport as a matter of emergency or safety. Payment due at time of transport.

Not sure you’re quite ready to hike Pikes Peak? Drive, take the Pikes Peak Cog Railway or bike down Pikes Peak! There are plenty of ways to explore the mountain.

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