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The Barr Trail climbs the eastern face of Pikes Peak. It has the largest elevation gain of any single trail in Colorado.

The Barr Trail, named after its builder, Fred Barr was constructed
during the years 1914 to 1921. The trail climbs 13 miles from the Ruxton Trailhead (6,720') in Manitou Springs, to the summit of Pikes Peak (14,110'). The elevation gain of the Barr Trail is the greatest in the state reaching 7,258'. The trail passes through three ecological life zones: Montane, Spruce-fir and alpine. Wildlife species common to those zones are frequently observed.

Pikes Peak has been a landmark since before recorded history. It was named for Zebulon Pike who described the Peak in 1806 while exploring in the area to the south. The first recorded climb to the summit was in 1820 by Dr. Edwin James of the Stephen H. Long Expedition. At present, over 60,000 visitors per year are estimated to climb the peak on the Barr Trail.

14,110 +Summit
12,750 +A Frame
12,000 +
10,000 +Barr Camp
9,800 +
8,800 +
6,720 +Barr Trailhead

Be sure to get started very early in the morning. The trail is rated more difficult because of its long sustained grade rising to an especially high elevation. Although an average hiker might complete the round trip in about 16 hours, those persons not used to hiking, especially at these altitudes, should not attempt the round trip in 1 day. Because of the long sustained grade, even a one-way downhill hike from the summit is very tiring to the legs and feet when not conditioned.

Temperatures at the summit may be as much as 40 degrees cooler than at the bottom. Afternoon thunderstorms are common throughout the summer and snow or sleet may be encountered throughout the year. An open shelter is located about 9 miles up the trail just below timberline. Campfires may be built at this site. Barr Camp is another popular overnight camping or lodging spot operated under a special use permit with the US Forest Service. A charge is made for use of the facilities. Drinking water is not readily available. Water from streams should be treated before use. Hikers are advised to carry an adequate supply.

Directions: From Cascade, Take the Pikes Peak Highway to the summit and hike down from the Peak on the Barr Trail.

Elevation: 6,720 feet

Ending Elevation: 14,110 feet

Usage: Heavy

Difficulty: Strenuous

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Pike and San Isabel National Forests, Colorado

Visitor Information

The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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