Climbing Pikes Peak Manitou Springs, Colorado USA

It is no doubt that the experienced hiker will walk away a little fatigued after this long hike.  In fact, Pikes Peak has the most climbable vertical feet in Colorado. Start at 6,000 feet and climb 8,000 vertical feet, up to 14,110 feet, in a little under 14 miles.  This is why one will need more than six hours to reach the top of this eastern most "fourteener".  A smart hiker will have started hiking early in the morning, to beat potential bad weather, and to give themselves ample roundtrip hiking time.

Pikes Peak CO
A massive mountain both up close and from a distance.

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Pikes Peak was named after Zebulon Montgomery Pike, for his discovery in 1806.  In November, 1806, Pike climbed partway up the mountain, but lack of supplies forced him to turn back.  Pike was an explorer and a general in the military, that first sighted the peak 150 miles away as he was crossing the plains on his way through the San de Cristo Mountain Range.

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Today there are several ways to reach the summit of Pikes Peak:  a nine mile cog railway from Manitou Springs, a thirty mile automobile highway, or a fourteen mile hiking trail called Barr Trail, which was our road to the top.

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Several small streams come close to the trail, and during the winter months the ice formations can be magnetic.

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Camping is a great alternative to a 14 hour hike.  Barr Camp, is about halfway up Barr Trail, and welcomes the camper with a campsite atmosphere at 9,500 feet.

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The view near the top.

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Alas, the plains and other mountains are impressive!

This is a great independent adventure and is easy to pull off.  We highly recommend using two days to hike and one to camp.  This will ease strain on the legs and give full flavor of the mountain.  Barr Trailhead is very easy to find and is located in Manitou Springs.  Parking is easy and ample. This hike can be done throughout the year and locals often use the first half of the trail for an afternoon of recreation.  However, if one dares venture in the winter and spring months, be prepared.  Storms move fast in this area.  All elements need to be taken into consideration, including:  winds of violent speed, dangerous lightning, snow, flash floods and hail, all of which can catch victims quickly!

*Feature written and photographed by Phillips, November 2002.  Altitude measurements taken off topo map and were also measured by Phillips.



Coming from Interstate 25. Take highway 24 west to Manitou Springs. Follow all signs to "Cog Railway". Once in Manitou, signs will guide you directly to Railway. Trailhead parking is above "Cog Railway". It is very easy to find.

©2013 Globetrotter Adventures
Globetrotter Adventures
Carbondale, CO 81623