This Trail climbs about 7,000 feet from the Cog Railway parking lot in Manitou Springs to the Summit of Pikes Peak (approx 14,110 ft). The first few miles have some fairly tricky switchbacks in that the trail surface is an eroded crushed granite that can be hard to keep traction on. There are also tons of hikers and a guardrail to deal with. About half the hikers are very friendly and half gave me the "evil eye" on the way up. After maybe 2 miles, or so, the trail levels out just a bit and most of the guard rails disappear, but the trail seems to have eroded a lot on this section in the past few years, so traction can still be a problem. The vegatation begins to change from scrubby pine trees and gamble oak to Aspens as you climb higher. There is a fun section that traversed a ridge and takes you from the north to south side of it when you finaly get a good view of the huge expanse of the summit before you. Most good riders would call this section very non-technical. The trail clibs up through a few small racky sections and a little bit of roots right before you reach Barr Camp. I used to get water there from the facility, but it looks like they changed things around so the public can''t just go up to the spigot and fill up on water anymore :( Anyway, above Barr camp, there are a few more "easy" sections, then you start to run into large rocks that were pretty hard to impossible to ride going up. Dismounts for me became very frequent near timberline. Right at Timberline, there is a small A-frame hut off the left side of the trail that could save you from a lightning storm. Continueing up, the air gets thinner and there were ridable sections interspersed with rocky obsticals that I had to carry my bike over. At this alitude, I had to measure my efforts carefully to keep from bonking and carried the bike over sections I might not even give a second thought to at 8,000 feet. Once you get to this point, hopefully the sky is clear and you still have SEVERAL hours of daylight left. Continue up to the "16 Golden Stairs" and carry your bike up what you can''t ride. Eventualy, you will reach the Summit. The downhill is the reverse of the uphill and it''s not uncommon for downhillers to shuttle this mountain. I rode it on a hadtail with v-brakes and I was in so much pain afterwards from braking and getting slammed around. Even on the downhill, there were sections I had to carry the bike, but serious stunt riders could ride much more than I did. A few hikers had negative things to say about downhillers, but none of them overtly said anything about me. I don''t think most people are this much a glutton for punishment. This is a very punishing ride if done in it''s entirety, but riding up to barr camp and back might be another option for mortals. I''de have to say that going to the summit and back was about 5 times as hard as riding to Barr Camp. Total climbing: about 7000'', miles approx 26 & time 8 hours. Timing on this ride is very improtant due to the we
Take Highway 24 west into manitou Springs and follow the signs to the Cog railway. when you drive up the road through the Cog railway parking Lot, continue past the depot and take a right up the very steep paved road on your right. It's about 100 yards to the trailhead parking lot
Summary: Amazing trail, thats the first thing that comes to mind. Of course i went the easy way and got dropped off at the top, and i made my way down with a couple of friends. The trail signs did get a little confusing, but we made it through the really rocky part and had a blast. The end was my favorite part by far, with rocks and roots protruding from the ground off the trail creating series of jumps and obstacles that were extremely fun and somewhat challenging if you are inexperienced. I highly recommend this trail.
Recommended Route: Start from the top, all the way down
Other recommended trails in the same area: none that i can think of right now
Summary: I rode this trail for the first time this past July. I recommend riding it downhill not climbing. Start at the top of Pikes Peak 14,110 feet. You have to walk the bike down a couple hundred feet, since most of this is too narrow(mainly for hikers). After this it is technical switchbacks, but after a short distance it opens up . The trail features lots of rock drops and roots. Just carry the speed and pop over roots and rocks. Towards the bottom there are alot of slow switchbacks and then you end up in Manitou Springs. Ride takes approx 1hr 45min. form the top. I highly recommend it.
Recommended Route: Have someone drop you off at the top of the peak.