Barr Trail / Pikes Peak

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SHARES
  
AVERAGE RATING
*****
4.71 out of 5
View Topo Map

Expert
26
miles

Singletrack
↑ 34,000 ft
↓ 800 ft
6,638
elevation (ft)

Out & Back
Trail Description
About this trail
This trail climbs 7500 vertical feel in just under 13 miles to the top of Pikes Peak (6,600 to 14,100 ft). Since bikes are not allowed on the toll road, this is the only way to ride your bike to the top of Pikes Peak. Be prepared for fast changing weather and much colder conditions on top. The trail starts out with a few stairs and then enters a section of switchbacks called the incline. The incline climbs at an average grade of 11% for a couple of miles with it almost all being rideable. Once you pass through the rock arch, the grade levels out a bit, but it's still a continuous climb. You'll have a couple small flat sections between the top of the incline and Barr Camp. Barr Camp marks the mid-point of the ride in both distance and elevation gain. Up to this point, the trail has been 99% rideable, but beyond Barr Camp the trail gets much more difficult. Continue climbing up more switchbacks until you reach the bottom of the large cirque/treeline. To the left is a small green A-frame that can make a handy shelter in adverse weather conditions. a**s the weather before continuing on above the A-frame because there is no shelter from here to the top (still over 2,000 vertical feet above you). Once above treeline, the trail gets even tougher not only because of the lack of oxygen but also because of loose pea gravel and very large boulders. The trail switchbacks up and across the east face to the edge of the large chasm (~13,100 ft). You've still got another 1,000 vertical feet to go. The trail leaves the edge of the cirque back towards the middle of the east face to the start of the 16 Golden Stairs. The Golden Stairs are 16 pairs of switchbacks (32 switchbacks) that meander through the large boulders to the top. Most of the stairs are not rideable and it's so tight between some of the rocks that it's hard to carry the bike. Near the last switchback, you'll see the cog train at the top - You're almost there! Cross the tracks, get your obligatory summit photo, and grab a bite to eat in the cafe. Now reverse course and don't forget to use that thing you've got under the helmet. The ride down (especially above treeline) is a mental exercise in making good decisions. There is quite a bit rideable, but it takes good judgment to know when it's best to get off the bike rather than take a chance trying a technical section where you can't afford to make a mistake (You'll see what I mean when you get there). Once you're back to Barr Camp, take a breather and prepare for a screaming downhill back to your car. The forest service estimates that a round trip hiking will take approximately 16 hrs, but on a bike cut that in half (depending of physical condition and acclimatization), while the record for a round trip (by a trail runner) is a little over 3 hours!
added by JJonasGnarly September 13, 2005
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
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Trail Q&A
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Palmer Trail / Section 16
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Palmer Park
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
what's this?
Recent Trail Check-ins     (8 total check-ins)
  sjurewicz   on Apr 4, 2015
  Nick Wilson   on Sep 14, 2014
  CSgaraglino   on Sep 14, 2014
  rcraft6826   on Sep 3, 2014
  mike_d_1583   on Jun 23, 2014
Photo & Video Gallery (50)
Trail Photos & Videos (50)
 
Reviews (20)
 


May 2, 2015
 
Review: Low rating only due to timing. Do NOT ride this trail on a weekend day with nice weather when amateur hikers are likely to be out. I live west Denver and ride front range trails daily. But I had to dodge toddlers, cub scouts, and non stop hiker after hiker on the way up. After an hour, I only got 1.3 miles and decided to have a more productive Saturday. Maybe this is an awesome trail, but I won't be doing it again on a crowded day.

Similar Trail: Mt Falcon and Deer Creek times 6.

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February 6, 2014
 
Review: If you want to show who's the men from the boys this is it! The ride is breathtaking and dosen't seem as hard as it really is till Barr camp. I rode this monster in the summer of 2013. I caught it on a day after major rain and it was the best conditions! There was no one on the trail from the heavy rain and it felt very open and free. The trail got somewhat washed out but not too bad! The climb is something to dream about as its just so steep! It gets hard at the A frame and its hike a bike mostly up the 16 steps. Completely worth the ride up though! Make sure to take your water. Load yourself with all the water you can carry and a lot of high energy food. It also might be a good idea if you can't carry a lot of water to bring a purification device. It's high altitude like never expected. The altitude wasn't so much a problem for me because I'm a local and I'm very used to the high elevation but I defiantly had an effect on my water consumption. Bring tools also. I broke my rear derailleur on the decent between 2 narrow rocks. It's a place if you have a problem you have a big problem! But the ride down is super fast single track that is white knuckling and an adrenaline rush of 7500 feet which is very hard to get in one decent in the lower 48. Do it on a very quiet day with not a lot of trail traffic. Spring is a great time along with august. The hikers can become a danger to not only you but themselves especially below the incline and the 16 steps.

Similar Trail: Non other in its leauge

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February 2, 2014
 
Review: Awesome trail with 8,600' of climbing in 13 miles. Mostly rideable up to Barr Camp, after that it gets really rocky and loose. Be ready for all types of weather and bring plenty of food. I went in July and found a natural stream with crystal clear water. Don't be a punk and ride up, don't get dropped off at the top.

Similar Trail: in it's own class

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January 22, 2014
 
Review: Crazy difficult climb!! Fun down hill run. Too crowded in some areas.

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November 5, 2013
 
Review: When I included this in my book, Fat/Trax Colorado Springs, I got a bunch of crap. Reading these reviews makes me glad I did. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

Similar Trail: None like it.

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September 21, 2013
 
Review: This trail is AMAZING! We did the DH only. It has every type of terrain Colorado has to offer in one 13 mile decent. Super technical up top, fast flowy center section and a challenging lower section due to MAJOR erosion from the recent rains. I would recommend this trail to any advanced rider looking to test their bike handling skills and downhill endurance.

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June 23, 2013
 
Review: Looks like fun. really want to go here and bike

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September 10, 2012
 
Review: An update to my last post. I made it to the top of Pikes Peak today on Barr Trail. Definately one of the hardest things I've done to date.. Making it to Barr Camp isn't easy by any means but it's almost all rideable up and down. After Barr Camp on the other hand is grueling going up. Rock Garden after rock garden every 30-40ft or less. You just can't get any momentum or rhythm. If the big rocks don't get you the constant 1/2 inch to 2 inch deep pea gravel will. But I was determined to summit. Be ready to hike a bike atleast the last 3 miles and 3,000 vertical feet or so.. Ugghh.. And just to top it off you have the 16 golden steps that are really 32 gruelling pick your bike up and carry it switchbacks right at the end, testing your will and physical limits. Going down Barr Trail is a feat in itself with hike a bike sections through boulder fields. Take your time and focus because f-ing up is one thing you can't afford to do here. Check your ego and drop your seat for the gnarliest downhill of your life.. I would suggest having atleast one friend along with you for emergency situations.. Oh and take plenty of clothing for the rapid changing weather and a water filter for clean water at Barr or A Frame.. Enjoy

* Review edited 9/10/2012

Similar Trail: Colorado Trail

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September 8, 2012
 
Review: I gave this trail a good run two days ago making it to barr camp when clouds rolled in and it starting sprinkling so I bailed downhill. I'm on a cannondale flash 29er w/lefty and for the climb i'd hate to be on anything else. I'm attempting again in two days with better weather. The climb up makes the downhill all that much better because i've earned it, but i can't and won't hate on those who don't. Downhill on Barr Trail is a brake test for sure. You must do a good preride check on your bike because you don't wanna walk down this trail with bike in tow. ouch.... Oh it took me 2hrs 45 minutes to reach Barr Camp and about 45 minutes to get back down.. Also my warmup was a 5 am 15 mile warmup ride from my house and a 15 mile cool down ride home. You gotta love the Sante Fe trail here for connecting all of our awesome parks through the city..

* Review edited 9/8/2012

Similar Trail: Colorado Trail

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December 22, 2011
 
Review: This is a life changing downhill ride. Get a ride to the top and bomb it. If you do it any other way you are in for a world of hurt. I did it on my 29er hardtail and had no issues. One guy in my group did it on a fully rigid single speed. Hikers have the right of way.

Similar Trail: There aren't many like this.

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Barr Trail / Pikes Peak MTB Trail 4.71 out of 5 based on 20 ratings. 20 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
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