HikingLocal Events Local Resources Local Government Hiking Area Attractions
A mecca for hiking and outdoor adventure, Manitou Springs has miles of trails crisscrossing the spectacular Rocky Mountain landscape, accommodating everyone from beginners to advanced hikers. Read on to learn about two of the most popular local hiking areas.
Barr Trail, Pikes Peak
With an altitude gain of 7,258 feet in just more than 12 miles one way, Barr Trail is one of Manitou Springs’ most difficult yet panoramic hiking trails. Well-marked and maintained, the trail consists of packed dirt and gravel all the way to the top of the peak. Springtime on Barr Trail brings vibrant wildflowers that grow within the shadows of thick, old-growth ponderosa pines and blue spruce trees. Barr Camp, operated under permit from the U.S. Forest Service, sits about halfway up the mountain, at 10,200 feet. Hikers can camp overnight, purchase food and replenish their water supply. After leaving Barr Camp, the trail becomes steeper as it passes through forests of spruce and fir. About 3,000 feet below the summit of Pikes Peak, hikers will enter tundra meadows and see an A-frame shelter. The miles beyond this point offer spectacular views of the Cirque, a pit carved by glaciers, as the trail ascends the 16 Golden Stairs, a series of switchbacks that carries hikers the final half-mile to the summit. Hikers can access the Barr Trail trailhead in west Manitou Springs, off of Ruxton Avenue, on Hydro Street near the Cog Railroad Depot.
Garden of the Gods
One of the most famous parks in the Colorado Springs area, the Garden of the Gods features more than 15 miles of hiking trails. Three of the most scenic are the Siamese Twins, Ridge, and Buckskin Charlie. All trails within the park have little elevation gain, are no more than three miles round-trip and offer exceptional views of Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods’ sandstone formations. Hikers can pick up a free, full-color trail map from the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center across from the park’s entrance. The park and all trailheads are off the Garden of the Gods Road exit on Interstate 15. Head west toward the mountains for 2.5 miles and turn left onto 30th Street. The entrance to the park is at 30th Street and Gateway Road.