Barr Trail / Pikes Peak

--
SHARES
  
AVERAGE RATING
*****
4.76 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 JJonasTrailblazer September 13, 2005
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
Get Directions
loading...
Create a free Singletracks account to get directions to this trail.

Trail Q&A
Rider Questions
 

-1

Q: Can you start at the top and just do downhill? -Jeff Barber

A: Yes! You'll need to pay the toll to drive up ($10 per person in the vehicle). More info: http://www.singletracks.com/blog/mtb-trails/shuttling-pikes-peak-descending-an-iconic-colorado-14er-on-mountain-bikes/

Jeff Barber answered on May 20, 2016. Did you find this helpful? Yes | No

Answer

 
Recommended Trails
Recommended Trails
Palmer Trail / Section 16
Monarch Crest Trail
Palmer Park
Jones Downhill
Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
what's this?
Recent Trail Check-ins     (19 total check-ins)
  mike_d_1583   1 week ago
  scottxpc   2 weeks ago
  mike_d_1583   on Jun 18, 2016
  Ben Neumann   on Sep 5, 2015
  Greg Heil   on Sep 1, 2015
Photo & Video Gallery (67)
Trail Photos & Videos (67)
 
Reviews (24)
 

World Champ


September 8, 2015
Greg Heil World Champ  
 
Review: Descending the Barr Trail off the top of 14,110-foot Pikes Peak was a mountain bike experience for the record books! Some people have claimed that there's an hour or more of hike a bike off the top, before you can start riding--I did 20-30 min of hiking, max. And if I was a better rider, I think I could have done less. IMO, it's all in how well-developed your skills are. I had a riot playing on all the rock features strewn across the alpine tundra, but I just HAD to stop and gawk at the view around every corner--its magnificent!

However, my favorite portion of the trail was the section right below treeline to where the Elk trail comes in. This sections is extremely technical and challenging, but if you're game, you can flow it: pinning it through rocks, launching drops and jumps, and just generally having a great time! Seriously, this is one of my new favorite sections of trail in 2015--so good!

We did this ride on a Monday, which was a good choice. Even during the middle of the work day, we encountered dozens upon dozens of hikers on the lower section of the trail (and several up higher). I can't imagine trying to ride this trail on a weekend or holiday. So pro tip: if you really want to RIDE this trail instead of constantly standing on the side of the trail, do it during the week.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Doubletrack


September 3, 2015
 
Review: Rode this as a shuttle from the top of Pikes Peak. Absolutely amazing.

There's just something so unique about being that high up with your bike. Very little of the top section is rideable, at least for me. If you've got Danny MacAskill level ability, then maybe it'll be different for you.

Once you're back below tree line, the trail is much more rideable, but still very technical. Lots and lots of rocks and switchbacks.

That goes on for quite a while before the trail widens and becomes much smoother. You can really haul ass in this section.

The bottom of the trail has many wooden steps and tight switchbacks.

We did this ride on a Monday morning, and we saw a ton of people near the bottom. I had to pretty much drag my brakes for the last couple of miles because of all the hikers.

Pretty much everyone was friendly and got out of the way, but there was the occasional hiker with headphones that couldn't hear us approaching, our voices, or bells.

I would not recommend doing this ride on a nice weekend. Your flow will be severely jammed up.

Similar Trail: None

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Epic


August 1, 2015
John Fisch Epic  
 
Review: BIG mountain. BIG views. BIG vertical. BIG gnar. This is epic, rad, sketchy, treacherous, and BIG fun. Even with a shuttle, there will be a couple miles of hike-a-bike down. But once it gets ridable, it is oh, so worth it!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Granny Gear

June 15, 2015
 
Review: I did this trail last year. Absolutely loved it. We didn't ride up the trail though. We were dropped off at the top and ride down. Didnt care about the rewarding feeling of climbing to the top. I know how to reach the suck factor. I walked up and down with my dog after being back in CO for only a week. That was enough suck for me. All I cared about was the ride down. I plan on riding up in the near future. It took us a total of 1:20 to get down. That includes a break at Barr Camp and of course navigating hikers and dogs.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Granny Gear

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.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Granny Gear

February 7, 2014
Lifeisb96 Granny Gear  
 
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

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Gnarly


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

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Trailblazer

January 23, 2014
Gdb49 Trailblazer  
 
Review: Crazy difficult climb!! Fun down hill run. Too crowded in some areas.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Granny Gear

November 6, 2013
Eat2surf Granny Gear  
 
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.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No



Granny Gear

September 21, 2013
Berto.77 Granny Gear  
 
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.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes | No


Barr Trail / Pikes Peak MTB Trail 4.76 out of 5 based on 24 ratings. 24 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed
Loading...
Feature Article
Shuttling Pikes Peak: Descending An Iconic Colorado 14er on Mountain Bikes
499 SHARES | 7 COMMENTS
The 20 Best Trails Greg Explored in 2015
806 SHARES | 18 COMMENTS