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HIKING AND BIKING

Hike and Ride the Train | Hiker Rates
Hiking in the Area | Bike and Ride the Train
Biking in the Area



HIKE AND RIDE THE TRAIN


Looking for more of a challenge on your Pikes Peak experience? The Cog Railway can help you out! Hike Pikes Peak using the 13-mile Barr Trail and the Railway will take you back down to the parking lot in Manitou Springs. Or, for those of you with stronger knees, take the train up to the summit and hike back down to your car. For more information on Hiker Rates, scroll down or call (719) 685-5401.

Sorry; there is NO hiker parking available at the Cog Railway. Due to the extemely limited availability in Ruxton Canyon, ALL parking is limited to FOUR HOURS MAXIMUM!

Again, there is a 4 hour parking limit. Cars left unattended after 4 hours will be towed.

If you are hiking and using the train, we recommend using the Barr Trail parking (reservation only- go here) OR use the free Manitou Springs shuttle.



HIKER RATES

ADULTS $25.00 | CHILDREN (ages 3-12) $15.00
TO OR FROM THE SUMMIT OF PIKES PEAK

Valid May-October, excluding holidays

Only valid on FIRST OR LAST TRAIN of the day


Interested in hiking Pikes Peak up or down but not both ways? Take an easy, relaxing trip up or down the mountain on the Cog Railway. Trains leave the summit 2 hours after they leave the Manitou Springs Depot. Due to unpredictable weather, one-way tickets to or from the summit are unavailable from November-April.

Reservations MUST be made over the phone. A full prepayment is required at the time of your reservation, so be sure to have a valid credit or debit card nearby. For more information, please look at our POLICIES page. Call (719) 685-5401 to make a reservation today!

Sorry; there is NO hiker (or Incline) parking available at the Cog Railway. Due to the extemely limited availability in Ruxton Canyon, ALL parking is limited to FOUR HOURS MAXIMUM!

There is a 4 hour parking limit. Cars left unattended after 4 hours will be towed.

If you are hiking and using the train, we recommend getting here early enough to use Barr Trail parking OR use the free Manitou Springs shuttle.

 


ADULTS $15.00 | CHILDREN (ages 3-12) $10.00
TO OR FROM MOUNTAIN VIEW

Excludes holidays


Mountain View Siding lies at 10,000 ft on Pikes Peak, 7 miles up Barr Trail, and is just 1.5 miles away from Barr Camp. Trains are able to pick-up or drop off on the way up or down the mountain. Due to the unpredictable weather November-April, one-way tickets to Mountain View will only be available UP to Mountain View. Trains pass through Mountain View at various times of the day – you will need to call the Ticket Office to find out times and to make a reservation. Reservations MUST be made over the phone. A full prepayment is required at the time of your reservation, so be sure to have a valid credit or debit card nearby. Click on our POLICIES page for more information or call (719) 685-5401 to make a reservation today!



HIKING IN THE AREA


Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and the Pikes Peak Region offer incredible opportunities for hikers of all types; whether you are a world-class competitor or a weekend warrior, there are great trails and roads to be explored. Colorado Springs is world-class in its variety of hiking, running, and biking trails and offers access and proximity to amenities like top-notch lodging and dining. These trails are almost totally deserted on weekdays, even in the height of summer! Scroll down for more information on Seasonal and Year Round Hiking Trails.


YEAR ROUND HIKING TRAILS

One does not need to travel farther than the Garden of the Gods to experience some incredible trails and roads for hiking and running year round. The City of Colorado Springs has an excellent section on their website showing many trails (including Garden of the Gods, Palmer Park, Cheyenne Canyon and Red Rock Canyon).

Garden of the Gods (with map) is a free city park that offers one the options of driving through the area and hiking on gravel or pavement. Several of the trails in this park, such as the Niobara/Ute Trails, offer spectacular views of the rock formations and city below.

Palmer Park (with map) is a large park in the middle of the city where the views are beautiful and the trails are almost always clear of snow and ice. The east side features spectacular views of Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, and downtown Colorado Springs. Templeton Trail offers fantastic views of the surrounding areas, especially when it peaks on the bluff.

Red Rock Canyon Open Space (with map) is the newest Colorado Springs City Park, offering some of the best views in town. The majority of the trails here, including Contemplation Trail, lead to the top of the park where the vast panoramas take your breath away.

SEASONAL TRAILS: SPRING, SUMMER, AND FALL

The main trail within the area is Barr Trail. It is a 13 mile, 8000-foot trek from Manitou Springs to the Summit of Pikes Peak. Locals hike this trail all year long, but in the winter it can become very icy on the switchbacks, especially in the shade so be cautious. Additionally in winter, once the trail gets above timberline, it can become obscured and difficult to find in all the snow; usually crampons and an ice axe are needed in winter. A good intro to the trail is to walk the 7½ miles to Barr Camp where you can get updated weather info and restock on supplies. While Barr Trail is impressive, its sheer length is what makes it so daunting and difficult. The first few miles are very difficult, with many switchbacks, with the next few miles leveling out and offering the occasional view of the Summit. After you leave Barr Camp, you once again begin to climb in earnest. This is where the altitude starts to affect a person's metabolism. If you don't have a plan for coming down, be prepared to walk back down. Thunderstorms in the summer and snow in the winter can shut the summit house down and prevent the trains and highway staff from making it to the summit or force their early departure. For this trek, ALWAYS have extra warm (rain/snow proof) clothing and plenty of water and snacks! Check out Matt Carpenter's website for more info on this trail or stop by the Cog Railway Depot to pick up a map for $0.25.

Other seasonal trails in the area include:

Cheyenne Canyon (with trail map)

Cheyenne Mountain State Park (with trail map) - note that there is a day fee for this park unless you own a Colorado State Park Pass

Aiken Canyon (with trail map) - allows hikes on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – no pets or bikes allowed



BIKE AND RIDE THE TRAIN


Interested in combining the best of both worlds in the Pikes Peak Region? Why not ride the Cog Railway to the summit and take a bike ride down the highway? Below are the links to two mountain bike companies, not affiliated with the Pikes Peak Railway, that offer this adventurous trip:

Challenge Unlimited

Pikes Peak Mountain Bike Tours



BIKING IN THE AREA


Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and the Pikes Peak Region offer incredible opportunities for hikers of all types; whether you are a world-class competitor or a weekend warrior, there are great trails and roads to be explored. Colorado Springs is world-class in its variety of hiking, running, and biking trails and offers access and proximity to amenities like top-notch lodging and dining. These trails are almost totally deserted on weekdays, even in the height of summer! Scroll down for more information on Road Biking and Mountain Biking Trails.


ROAD BIKING

Road biking is great in Colorado Springs. There are numerous bike paths and side streets that are ideal for biking, especially in mid-afternoon. Due to our temperate climate, roads can be ridden year-round EXCEPT after heavy snows. It usually only takes three full days of sunshine and most of the streets are once again clear, but be sure to watch out for loose gravel dropped by snowplows.

Garden of the Gods (with map) is an incredible ride, offering not only a tremendous workout, but fantastic views of the rock formations and city below. All of the roads in the Garden of the Gods area are accompanied by a bike path.

The Air Force Academy is once again open to road bikers! Check out the 12½ mile loop and the Air Force Cycling Team's map. Please note that you MUST have a valid photo ID to get on the Academy grounds.

Just to the east of Colorado Springs are numerous small roads that stay dry all year long where you can put in some serious miles. Check out Mapquest or Google Maps to find these roads: Squirrel Creek Rd., S. Peyton Highway, Hanover Rd., Old Pueblo Rd., or Link Rd. You can also head west of Colorado Springs to Woodland Park and ride Highway 67 to the town of Deckers.

MOUNTAIN BIKING

2014 – COLORADO SPRINGS NAMED IN TOP 10 BIKING CITIES

What is Colorado Mountain Biking? Colorado Mountain Biking is single track and the more the merrier. It also means...mountains, and Colorado Mountains mean snow; so "true" mountain biking in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region is all seasonal (generally mid-April through Thanksgiving). There are some exceptions where you can get the Colorado mountain bike experience all year long: Palmer Park, Ute Valley, Garden of the Gods and parts of Red Rock Canyon. Finally, mountain biking in Colorado also means CLIMBING AND DESCENDING, so we like the trails that go up, up, up and then down, down, down...

EPIC RIDE #1

Our favorite morning or afternoon workout is Captain Jacks Trail within Cheyenne Canyon. Section16/Palmer Loop is a close second, especially if you're looking for something more technical. Jacks is faster, longer and has more jumps on the downhill. Park at the #6 spot on the map, pedal through the tunnel, up the road onto upper Gold Camp Road (closed to vehicles-at the four way intersection go straight ahead; you are about 1.8 miles from the start); take the Buckhorn Cutoff trail (about 2.5 miles from where you parked) up to where it "T's" with the Mt. Buckhorn trail (this is four miles from the parking area at the first tunnel.) We like to go left and do an out and back for another mile. This is Captain Jacks Multi-Use Trail (although it is referred to as the Buckhorn Trail on the North Cheyenne Canyon Park Trail Map #1 referenced above) and has some incredible views of Bear Creek Canyon and North Cheyenne Canyon at the top (see picture at top of this page). Stop when the trail dives through a steep gulley to meet the Jones Park/Trail 666 intersection-about 5.1 miles from where you parked). If you are too tired or not yet acclimated to the altitude, you can forego the out and back and go right (again this is at the "T" at about 4 miles from the start) and (after about 2 miles) cross High Drive and continue on the Lower Captain Jacks Trail back to your car. Classic Colorado mountain biking made extra challenging by the gravel!

This is about a ten mile ride (eight miles without the out and back) trail and takes about 90 minutes (again, with the out and back at the top)... Read all about it at MTBR.com trail reviews...yes, the motorcycles have created many gravelly "surf" spots, but it's a great trail...the gravel is fun and adds a challenge. (Our tip for "surfing gravel" is to keep the wheels straight and weight on the back wheel; make turns broad and carry as much speed as you feel comfortable with through the gravel; brake evenly front and back)...

Ideally, ride it early evening on a weekday after an afternoon thunderstorm... You climb up Buckhorn Cutoff (no motorcycles allowed) and come down Jacks... a pure classic. You can make it an unreal 2.5 hour epic roundtrip by starting at the bottom of the Chutes in Stratton Open space (Ridgeway #5 parking lot on map)...riding up Cheyenne Canyon to Columbine (get on Columbine Trail right behind the Starsmore Center)...up Columbine Trail to Gold Camp Road (Tunnel #2) and then on and up Buckhorn Cutoff, then down Captain Jacks...down Gold Camp Road and down the Chutes to your car...Pure Colorado Single-Track Heaven! About 1900 vertical feet gained...about 12 miles....epic bliss...All this is nicely shown on the Cheyenne Canyon Park Map #1. This (Columbine/Buckhorn Cutoff/Captain Jacks/Chutes) is Epic Ride #2.

EPIC RIDE #2

Our favorite "classic" mountain biking in Colorado Springs: a day trip (and a true classic it is; some reviewers, us among them, place it near the top of great Colorado trails) is the Jones Park Downhill. Look on the map for Captain Jacks (see above) and you see a little of the route (you come down Captain Jacks and the Chutes to end up at the Ridgeway Parking lot). We recommend that you get a map for this one... it's not hard to find the route with one, and it is a long way from home if you get lost.

There are many ways to approach this ride (#3 is with a shuttle):

1. Gonzo Rider - This is a true killer FULL day trip in Jones Park ; park at Ridgeway (see below), ride to Starsmore Center, then up Columbine Trail to Gold Camp Road and up Gold Camp Road (about 17 miles) to do Jones Downhill (complete description below). You end up at the bottom of the Chutes, but you will be one whupped puppy after this one! About 4100 feet gained and lost (top is about 10,200 feet.)

2. Classic Day Trip - Park at the same place as Captain Jacks within Cheyenne Canyon; ride onto Gold Camp Road and STAY on Gold Camp Road for about 17 miles (it is an old RR grade so it is not too steep) to Forest Road 379 (across the road from Rosemont Reservoir, which is well marked). The first approx. 11 miles are on Gold Camp which is closed to cars AFTER the High Drive parking lot (this means about 9 miles of no cars). When you meet up with Old Stage Road (for the last 6 miles) you will have vehicular traffic. In other words, you are on a gravel/dirt road where you have vehicular traffic for 2 miles, none for 9 and again for the last 6. After about 17 miles, go right on FR 379 for 1.7 miles to Frosty's Park where the single track starts. There is (see below) a nice map/trail marker there.

The trail down is an incredible amount of fun. There are some short climbs on the single track (and out of Bear Creek Canyon), but that only adds to the fun.

Basically, once on the trail, stay left on the single track all the way to Jones Park, the first really big meadow you come to; it's after about 4 miles of single track. Here you curve around to the right in the meadow. As you FLY down, there are some side trails to the right and the left, but keep going down until you meet the junction of Trail 666. It is marked as "No vehicular traffic." You will have a decent stream crossing on your right. Cross here and "hike-a-bike" to the top (1/4 mile or so). Then go downhill again. You are now on what this map Cheyenne Canyon shows as Buckhorn Trail, but locals know as Upper Captain Jacks. Follow it down to your car on Gold Camp Road.

3. Shuttle Bunny - An easier way is to park one car at the Ridgeway parking lot (mentioned in Captain Jacks review above) and use a shuttle. Drive up Old Stage Road to FR 379 FOR about 40 minutes (if you have two 4WDs you can drive the additional 1.7 miles to the trail head). You end up (eventually) coming down Captain Jacks which means a short hike-a-bike at the stream crossing where Trail 666 splits off. This way, you ride down Gold Camp Road at the bottom of Captain Jacks to the cutoff for the Chutes (a couple of miles; it's the first big right) and end up at the Ridgeway Parking Lot near Cheyenne Mountain High School. This is about 4100 feet of descending (and there are some ups as well). The high point (start of single track off FR 379) is about 10,200 feet and the elevation of Cheyenne Mountain HS is about 6100 feet. Again, we recommend that you get a map for this one...it's not hard to find the route with one, and it is a long way from home if you get lost.

EPIC RIDE #3

Overall, Section16/Palmer Loop is very similar to Jacks in time and elevation gained. Check out MTBR.com trail reviews (again) for the description and reviews. We debate constantly which is the best classic Colorado mountain bike trail in the Colorado Springs area (short loop) between this and Captain Jacks. Jacks is a little less technical (although the wimps complain about the gravel, once you know how to ride it, it just adds to the fun and challenge) and the descent is much faster; Section 16/Palmer Loop is more technical on the downhill (more babyheads, drops and tight turns). ...Here is our "poop"...Go up 26th Street south off Highway 24. At the 4 way stop, go right on Upper Gold Camp Road. You will come (less than a mile) to the Section 16 trail head; well-marked on the right. Park here. Ride your bike further along the road (about 1/4 of a mile) to High Drive (stop sign). Go right and begin climbing (you are going the wrong way on a one-way dirt road...no worries).

After about 1 mile from where you parked, you will see a trail to the right. The first "trail" is a wash out and egress for the wimps who do this as an out and back and don't descend the technical section at the top. Go 25 yards further and you will see the true beginning of the trail. Hop on the single track (similar in grade to Jacks- again, lovely Colorado mountain bike single track) and start climbing. You have a beautiful little waterfall and log bridge after about 1.5 miles (careful not to biff on the bridge; walk if unsure) about 3/4 of the way up. Our challenge is to see how long we can keep it in the middle chain ring. (Back and forth it goes). About 3/4 of a mile past the waterfall is a "Y". We like to go left, which is a 1.3 mile out and back. It is fairly gradual with only one steep, short climb that we can almost never make. This (out and back) has some beautiful views including an overlook of Ute Pass and Williams Canyon. You come to a big "No Trespassing" (Crystal Park Private Property) sign and here you turn around.

If (similar to Captain Jacks) you are tired or not yet accustomed to the altitude, you can go right at the "Y" and forego the out-and-back. Either way, at this point it is all downhill. The first mile or so is very nice buff single track before a rock band that we have never ridden (the only section that we have not ridden clean; the elite would do it!). This is the start of the technical stuff. You have about a mile of loose scree with occasional areas of baby heads, root drops, tight turns, etc. Whole Lotta Luv! Then the trail levels out and you have nice single track again returning to the car.

Palmer Park is also Colorado Mountain Biking at its best...we recently showed an out-of-stater around Palmer Park and he LOVED it (after we rode Jacks and a couple of others). We were worried that he would be disappointed because it does not involve big mountains or big vertical. It is a GREAT ride, though. The only problem is that it has taken us many rides to determine the best loop and we still get lost, which makes it even more fun. But for someone with just one day or morning, you might not get the very best experience it has to offer, but you'll still love it. In general, the trails are marked easy, medium and hard (green, blue and black)... See Palmer Park Map. Templeton Trail is an expert trail that is a real kick, a challenge and beautiful to boot. There are also great medium and easy trails, even kids enjoy the easier trails.

Other mountain biking in Colorado Springs and nearby...

Garden of the Gods (with map) has a short area which is (obviously) very scenic and good for athletic, mountain-biking kids (not enough mileage for a single-track junkie)... just stay off trails that are NOT marked OK for bikes.

Right nearby to the Garden, the new Red Rock Canyon has a great loop for biking. It is incredibly popular with hikers so go early on a weekday if you want to bike it.

Rampart Reservoir (with trail map) - outside of Woodland Park, is a great 14.5 mile loop that is good for intermediate (and above) riders; beginners who are "aggressive" might enjoy it as well...beautiful views of Pikes Peak... (this is also a great hiking/running trail).

Monarch Crest (one of the best rides in the state; top 10 in the US) is about 2.5 hours away. This ride is about 30 miles including incredible single-track along the Continental Divide. Although it looks downhill, there is a LOT of uphill at 11,000 feet and this ride is a great work-out. The Poncha Springs Gas Station offers a shuttle (which is the best way to do this - go EARLY). They also have free maps. HighCountry Shuttle. 800- 871 5145 or (719) 539-6089. They now have rentals! See their website www.monarchcrest.com.

There are many more lesser-known trails for mountain biking in and around Colorado Springs; but these are the stand-outs. Ask at Old Town Bike Shop or any of the many good shops here for more info.