Pikes Peak is the highest point of the southern front range of the Rocky Mountains. It offers enough activities to fill multiple days and has something for some one at any skill level.

The two most common routes up Pikes Peak is be either the Barr trail or the Pikes Peak Toll Road. Both are an exciting experience. Pikes Peak toll road is the second highest road in North America (by 30ft). The Barr trail is a long but fun assent up an easier 14er.

Pikes Peak Highway Information


Pikes Peak has enough things to do to take up an entire day. When driving Pikes Peak Toll Road, here are some of my favorite stops. Keep in mind that there are more stops that can be found on the map given upon entering the road.

North Slope Recreation Area

The first of my favorite stops is the North Slope Recreation Area. The area is closed during winters, but it offers plenty of fun summer time activities. Right after Crystal Creek Reservoir on Pikes Peak Toll Road there is a parking lot and a dirt road. The dirt road will bring you to the North Slope Recreation Area. The area brings you to the north and south Catamount Reservoirs.


The reservoirs are stocked with Trout and very easily accessable. Colorado fishing rules apply.

Paddle Boarding and Boating

Getting out on the water over 9,000 feet up Pikes Peak is an amazing experience. You are 3,000 feet above Colorado Springs and still a mile below the summit. The resroivers snake through the forest making for a beautiful and secluded sights.

Although there is a road to the reservoirs, there is no boat ramp and trailers are prohibited. All boards and boats must be carried to the shore and brought up on either a roof rack or truck bed.

Mountain Biking

Biking trailheads start from the reservoir parking lots. There 10 miles or routes ranging from roads, to logging roads, to single track trails. More trails are expected to open in the future.

Glen Cove

The next stop is Glen Cove. This is at mile 13 on Pikes Peak Toll Road. There is a large parking lot and store. On days with bad weather the road is almost always open to atleast Glen Cove.

The driving past this spot is where you will see steeper cliffs and sharper switchbacks. If you do not want to make the drive there are shuttles that start at Glen Cove and makes stops at Devil's Playground and the summit house. Also, there are brake tempurature checks at Glen Cove on the way down.

Devil's Playground

Devil's Playground is right off of the road and offers exciting views and interesting rock formations. The Crag Trail that runs the west slope goes through Devil's Playground to get to the summit. It is also the best spot to watch the Pike's Peak Hill Climb from!

Bottomless Pit

Bottomless Pit is easy to accidentaly drive by. There is a rock gaurd rail that makes it difficult to see from the road, but make sure to pull over and walk around for the views! Bottomless Pit is on the north side of Pikes Peak and has drops over 1,000 feet nearly straight down. The road passes right next to it, but there is a trail at the bottom. The trail breaks off of Barr Trail a mile after Barr Camp (before A Frame and bellow the tree line). Barr trail can be accessed either from the summit, Manitou Springs, or Elk Park Trail (right after Glen Cove). Regardless of the route you take to the bottom, it is long and strenuous. Almost everyone prefers to view it from the top off of the road.

Boulder Park

Boulder Park is another great area to get out, have a walk, and enjoy the views. This area is less crowded and more open for exploring.

Summit House

Finally! You have made it to the summit house. This is where you can say you have made it up 14,000 feet. Along with the summit house, this is where the cog rail and the Barr Trail meet. The summit house has a lot to offer. There is medical attention if needed along with hot chocolate, donuts, and more!


call before to make sure road to summit house is open. After snowing it can take days to open. winds pick up in the afternoon and can recover the road with snow.


The road up Pikes Peak is a toll road and does charge $10 to $15 per adult to go to the summit and $5 per adult to go to the North Slope recreation area. There are more pricing options that vary based on age and season. You can find this info on Colorado Spring's website.

Warnings and Advisories


Snow: Make sure to call ahead and check the weather. A snow storm can close the road for over a week. After snowing the road may be open but closed at Glen Cove (13 miles, right before the fun part).

Wind: Call to make sure the summit is open before going. Even though it might not have snowed, strong winds can blow snow over the road closing it. This can happen half way through the day too. Winds in Colorado Springs are generally calm in the morning and can pick up in the afternoon. For this reason, it is not uncommon for the road to the summit to be open for the first half of the day.

Lightning: Any pull off past Devil's Playground has an increased chance of lightning strike. In fact, this is where Devil's Playground got its name. The lightning bounces off of the rock formations. Understand the warning signs of a lightning strike such as tingling or increased amount of static electricity.

Cold: The Pikes Peak summit is 7,000 feet higher than Colorado Springs. Tempuratures can be 80 degrees in Colorado Springs but be bellow freezing at the summit. Dress appropriatly.


Gas: It is recommended to have atleast half a tank of gas before attempting to summit. Personally, I always fill up before starting the drive.

Driving: When coming down from the summit, make sure to engine brake! Over using your brakes can cause overheating and potential failure. For this reason, brake tempurature checks are done at Glen Cove when coming down.

Driving: People drive at drive at different speeds and please be mindful of that. If you notice cars behind you, please take one of the many pull offs and let them pass. Some people have driven the route multiple times and are more comfortable with the drive than others.

Cog Rail

The cog rail leaves from Manitou Springs right by the base of the Barr Trail and the incline, but it is currently underconstruction.

Hiking and Backpacking

Hiking Pikes Peak comes with amazing views and a rewarding experience. Pikes Peak is a class 1 14er meaning it is one of the easier 14ers. There is little scrambling and the trail is mostly well defined. Because there are multiple ways to the summit, it is very accomidating for people with different capabilities.

Barr Trail and Barr Camp

The Barr trail is the most popular route to the summit and starts in Manitou Springs. The trail is 13 miles to the summit with an elevation gain of 7,390 feet. The first two and a half miles of the trail are very heavily trafficked because that is where the top of the incline funnels into. Speaking of, if you want a challenge start with the incline to get to the summit of Pikes Peak. But, be careful because lately a lot of people on the incline are not locals. So, a large amount of people trail run down the Barr trail and do not understand who has right of way.

Once past the incline traffic, there are a lot fewer people. The next major stop is Barr Camp. About four people live there full time to maintain the cabins at the camp. They rotate often, but are still very knowledgable of the area, and I encourage you to ask them for current conditions and best routes to the summit.

Barr Camp's greatest attraction is that they offer lodging and food accomidations. Just about all lodging accommodations come with meals. This comes in super handy for people that decide to do a 3 day round trip to the summit. The camp provides a private cabin, communal bunking, lean-to shelters, and camping spots. The camping spots come with meals, but there are no fires allowed on site. If you would rather have a fire over a meal then there are plenty of spots all along Barr Trail to camp out. Barr Camp also provides bathrooms and snacks. The people that maintain Barr Camp are amazing, so make sure to ask if you can take some trash down when you decide to head back. They typically offer a free snack for those who offer to take trash down. Also, there is a creek that goes through Barr Camp for water.

Upper Cabin: $90 Base + $20/person
Bunkhouse: $33/person
Lean-To Shelter: $20/person
Barr Camp Camping: $12/person
Forest Camping: Free!

Once departing from Barr Camp, the next major stop is the bottomless pit trail head. This is a dead end trail, but brings you to the bottom of bottomless pit. If you have the time and motivation, I recommend the hike.

After the bottomless pit intersection, you will get to the A-Frame right bellow the tree line. The A-Frame is a first come first serve shelter for hikers. It has a small stream and an meadow out front which makes it a beautiful stop.

Once past tree line, the snow can get more intense. If snow is observed from the base, then crampons and snowshoes are encouraged. During the summer, when there is no snow, the hike is a lot easier and the trail is much more defined.

When you have made it to the summit you have a couple options. Option 1 is hike back down. Option 2 is have a friend pick you up from the summit. Option 3 is hitch hike down. What ever you do, just make sure you do not get stranded at the summit. It is a $100 charge for a ranger to take you down.


Free Parking

There is free parking in Manitou Springs and at 10 Old Mans Trail. Just be careful because 10 Old Man's Trail does not allow overnight parking.

The free parking is on the other side of town from the trail head, but there is a free shuttle that goes through Manitou Springs that can bring you to the trail head.

Paid Parking

There is paid parking that is $5 a day right at the trail head. Just be careful because some times people who do the incline will get confused and park there.

Crag Trail and Campground

This is a less popular route and mostly travelled by locals. Crag Trail summits Pikes Peak from the west side and is slightly easier. Crags Trail is 7.25 miles to the summit and has a 4,402 foot evelation gain.

There is a camp ground at the base, but camping is allowed in the forest. What makes this trail safer is that it meets up with Pikes Peak Toll road at Devil's Playground. So a large portion of the hike is along the toll road.

Be advised, during the winter the road all the way up to the trail head is closed. There is parking where the road gets closed at, but makes the hike much longer.

Elk Park Trail

This is the least common route to the summit. It starts at Elk Park, which is along Pikes Peak Toll Road and requires an admission fee. The trail is 11.8 miles that involves going down in elevation to Barr Camp then coming back up to the summit. This is a less popular route.

Warnings and Advisories

Wild Life: Bears are common, so be sure to use bear boxes (offered at Barr Camp) and bring bear mace.

Weather: Be sure to check the weather and always keep your head up. Hail is common above the tree line and weather tends to turn later in the day.

Elevation: Being at elevation can cause altitude sickness. Make sure you drink lots of water, know the symptoms (nausia, dizzyness, headaches, ect) and know how to react.

Etiquette: Remember hikers hiking uphill have the right of way.

Planning: Make sure you do not get stranded at the summit. It is a $100 charge for a ranger to bring you down.

Routes: If taking Barr trail make sure to stop by Barr Camp and ask the best route up. Depending on conditions the easiest route up might be off the trail.