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 Pikes Peak Trails, Colorado  

 Colorado Springs, Colorado 

Other Trails on this Route:

Barr Camp Trail

Elk Springs Trail

Oil Springs Tunnel Trail

Pikes Peak Hill Climb



Barr Camp 

Barr Camp at the Half Way Point




Trip Details:

Barr Camp, Pikes Peak, Colorado 



Trailhead: From Colorado Springs, take I-25 to Highway 24 exit. Head West on Highway 24 to the Manitou Ave. exit (4 miles). From the off-ramp, veer right and drive into Manitou Springs. Once in town, look for the Cog Railway sign, and turn left onto Ruxton Ave (1.5 miles). Follow Ruxton all the way to where it ends at the Cog Railway (.7 miles). Hikers using Barr Trail should drive past the Railway building, and turn at the sign labeled "Barr Trail Parking", up a short little steep road (Hydro Street) to the gravel parking lot (.2 miles). Due to limited parking space available at the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, it is essential that day-hikers and overnight guests always park in the Barr Trail parking lot. If you do park in the Cog Railway Parking lot, your vehicle will most likely be towed.


Map Pikes Peak 

Summary: The trail starts at the sign above the Cog Railway Station and next to the Barr Trail parking lot off of Hydo Street. 

The first 3 miles is a switchback trail with large elevation gain up Rocky Mountain sometimes called Mount Manitou.  Good views of Colorado Springs.  Lots of runners training for the Pikes Peak Marathon are on the trail but it is wide enough to accommodate passing.  Very steep, but some mountain bikes walk their bikes to get to the next section.

French Creek crosses the trail.  The next section from French Creek to Barr Camp is moderately uphill, but not like the rest of the trail.  Aspen and fir valley of mature trees. 

Barr Camp was established by Fred Barr the primary trail builder in the area.  Currently, the Camp is manned year around and provides lodging, food, t-shirts, and accessories.  Visitors may sign in and sit on the back porch or rent cabins or sleeping spaces.

During the 1960's the Camp was run by Mennonites, then abandoned for years.  In 1977 the Forrest Service mad arrangements to restored the Camp. 

Trail starts up to A-Frame and the Summit in a steep elevation gain.  One foot in front of the other from here. 

Many campers have tried to stay at A-Frame, but the camping is uncomfortable due to the steep slope.



French Creek,  Manitou Incline, Barr Camp, A Frame, Summit


Colorado Springs, CO


Steep, abandoned Manitou Incline, View of Colorado Springs, fir forests then rocks at top


13 miles

Elevation Gain:

7,300 feet

Hike Time:

6-7 hours up - times may vary by hiker condition


Easy to Moderate - no technical or scrambling, wide maintained trail, and support available.  Up hill, high elevation, weather and trail length cause primary problems.

Trail Condition:

Wide and well maintained.  No difficulties in following trail or with dangerous places requiring technical abilities.

Hike Type:

Up, up and away.  Possible to hitch down Pikes Peak Hwy or ride cog railway. 




Barr Trail to Colorado Springs 

Picture shows the Manitou Cog Railway Station then out through Manitou and Colorado Springs.

Distance from Trailhead to Barr Camp: 6.8 miles
Distance from Barr Camp to Summit: 5.8 miles
Total distance from Trailhead to Summit: 12.6 miles

  • Trailhead elevation: 6,600 feet
  • Barr Camp Elevation: 10,200 feet
  • Summit Elevation: 14,110 feet
  • Total Elevation Gain from Trailhead to Summit: 7,510 feet

The standard route to Barr Camp is a 6.8 mile hike up Barr trail. The total Trail to the summit is 12.6 miles, and is non-technical. It begins at 6,600 feet, and summits at 14,110 feet at the Top of Pikes Peak. Barr Camp is staffed year-round. Those looking for a less arduous ascent, take the Cog Railway to Mount View (the train runs late-April through early-November). The Mount View trail is not as steep, and requires only a one and a half mile traverse hike to Barr Camp.


Trailhead Sign 

Barr Trail Trailhead Sign

Peak History

In 1803 Pikes Peak came under American control through the Louisiana Purchase. President Jefferson dispatched Zebulon Montgomery Pike to determine the Louisiana Purchase's southwestern borders. Pike tried to climb the peak on November 24, 1806 from the Pueblo area, but was forced back by a blizzard. The first recorded ascent of Pikes Peak was by Dr. Edwin James, doctor, botanist and historian, and two others from an expedition led by Major Stephen H. Long on July 14, 1820. Major Long gave the doctor's name to the mountain, but Pikes Peak soon became the official name, as shown by military maps of 1835.

"Pikes Peak or Bust" became the symbol and slogan of gold seekers in the 1850s. In 1858 Julia Archibald Holmes became the first woman to climb Pikes Peak. She made the ascent with the Lawrence party and stayed on top for two days. Mrs. Holmes is also known as the "Bloomer Girl" because of the bloomers she wore while climbing the mountain. In 1889 the Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railroad was built. In 1901 the first automobile to reach the summit (on August 12th) was a two cylinder Locomobile Steamer driven by C.A. Yont and W.B. Felker. In 1914 improvements to the trail up the east face of Pikes Peak were undertaken by Fred Barr and his father. Their work was completed in December of 1918 and is now known as Barr Trail.

from Roger Wendell, link below



Parking Area and Manitou Incline "training area"


Barr Camp 

Barr Camp


 Fred Barr was born in Arkansas in 1882. He became widely known in the region and throughout the country as the builder of the Barr trail to the summit of Pikes Peak. The trail was constructed under his direction, and was completed in 1921.

 Mr. Barr was a firm believer in trails through the mountains of the region. He believed that the best views of the beauty offered by the Pikes Peak mountain area are to be obtained from hikes along trails, rather than by driving over highways in automobiles. Around 1905, he operated a horse-and buggy sightseeing establishment near Adams Crossing, providing horse-drawn vehicles for persons desiring to visit the more easily accessible scenic spots of the region. In 1918 he began surveying the route that he would carve to the summit of Pikes Peak. Completing the survey on Christmas eve in 1918, he spent the night alone on the summit. Three years later, the trail was complete. Working as a miner in the winters, Fred Barr would save his money to build Barr Trail and Barr Camp during the summer seasons.

 About the time the Barr trail was completed to the top of Pikes Peak Mr. Barr erected a cabin on the trail, which was so situated that it made a convenient stopping place for hikers who did not wish to make the walk to the summit in one day. Fred ran a burro team out of this camp for some twenty years. He would bring people up four miles from the summit of Mt. Manitou on the trail he made. He would feed them a hearty meal, and put them up for the night in one of the four cabins he built. Iron beds with springs and mattresses insured a good night sleep. Early the next morning they would eat breakfast and start up the trail for the six mile ride to the summit. Fred liked to get an early start for he knew how fickle the weather could be late in the afternoon. He also enjoyed treating his clients to the sunrise to be seen from the higher elevations above the cabin.

 Mr. Barr was one of the original "frozen five", or the first five members of the AdAmAn Club. This group, in 1922 began its annual trek to the summit of Pikes Peak to fire pyrotechnics as a New Years greeting to residents 8,000 feet below. Every year since, they have officially "added a man" to the group's roster, thus the group's name. He always took part in the annual trek, which is still made today in time to set off the fireworks display on New Years Eve.

from Barr Camp site, link below







Back Porch 



Tables at Barr Camp

Water is an issue on Pikes Peak and any water along Barr trail requires treatment or filtration prior to drinking.  Barr Camp will loan hikers a filtration pump to use at this waterhole.  Drainage areas to the north of the Barr Camp trail  (2 miles away) are presumed to contain safe water for drinking.  

I used 24 fluid ounces to climb to Barr Camp carrying a full pack on an especially warm day in the 80 degree range.  My point is that water to the top may be a major weight issue for many climbersBe certain that water fill-up is available at Barr Camp if you do not carry full trip rations. 

Water may not be readily available. Filter or treat water before drinking from mountain streams. Bring and drink plenty of water to help avoid many physical complications, especially in the winter. 





my Links Barr Camp  Skyrunner  Trails and Open Spaces  Colorado Guy  Roger Wendell



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