Pikes Peak

 East Slopes
Difficulty Class 1 
Risk FactorsExposure: Low
Rockfall Potential: Low  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Moderate  
Start6,650 feet
Summit14,109 feet
Total Gain7,600 feet
RT Length24.00 miles
Last UpdatedAug 2023
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Take U.S. 24 to Manitou Springs and use one of several exits to get to Manitou Avenue. Drive toward the center of town and at a roundabout, turn west onto Ruxton Avenue. Drive 0.8 mile on Ruxton to reach Hydro Street. Turn right onto Hydro and drive up a hill to reach the parking lot and trailhead. Parking is an issue in this area and the lot fills up very early in the morning due to Barr trail hikers, Incline users and Cog Railway customers, when it's open. All parking is pay-only from here all the way down Ruxton Ave. and there are self-serve fee stations.


So, you've decided to tackle the Barr Trail. The trail is excellent all the way to the summit but it's the length, elevation gain and heat that make this a tough day. A very early start will help you find parking and get you to higher ground before the sun starts to bake Pikes' east slopes - 1.

Start up the trail ( 2 and 3) and switchback west for 1.5 miles to reach a corner, near the Manitou Incline - 4. Stay left and continue on Barr past another entrance to the Incline - 5. Near 8,600' and roughly 2.75 miles from the trailhead, pass through a rock arch - 6. Shortly after switchbacking away from the arch, pass a junction which may be a bit confusing on your descent - stay on the Barr. Continue another 0.2 mile (~3 miles in) to another junction and stay left on the Barr - 7. Walk up a hill and continue on flatter terrain for another 2.25 miles to reach an overlook, at just over 5 miles in - 8. The summit is still a long way off. Walk another mile to reach Barr Camp near 10,100' and 6 miles in - 9. You're half way to the summit!

After Barr Camp, pass a junction for Elk Park ( 10) and continue west and northwest up through the forest to reach a junction for the Bottomless Pit trail, at 10,850' and nearly 7 miles in - 11. Turn left and continue south - 12. Between 11,300' and 12,100', grind west up approx. 20 switchbacks to reach tree line - 13 and 14. Agony. Leave the trees and continue toward the north side of the rocky east slopes - 15. Grind up another 10+ switchbacks to reach the north edge, near 12,800' and approx. 9.75 miles in - 16 and 17.

You're really not the far from the summit if there was a straight trail but the Barr trail is anything but straight. Traverse south across the slope ( 18) to reach a corner (13,200' and nearly 10.75 miles in) where you can see Pike's southern cirque but watch your step, the terrain falls away just a short distance from the trail - 19. Turn back to the northwest and traverse less than 0.5 mile across the upper east slope ( 20 and 21) to reach the final section - the "16 Golden Stairs" - 22. Don't ask. Grind up to 14,000' ( 23), pass a plaque ( 24) dedicated to the man who created this beast of a trail and continue up more switchbacks to reach the top - 25 and 26.


#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22 #23 #24 #25 #26

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