Exploring Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs was my second 14er. In November no less.
Full disclosure, I drove, not hiked. At the time, I was recovering from a knee injury I got on the John Muir Trail earlier that summer so hiking it wasn’t a possibility. But wow was it beautiful. The fresh coat of powder with the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains as far as the eye can see. It’s such a scenic drive right outside of Colorado Springs.
The summit is at 14,115 feet. At the summit, it was cold and windy. It was also November, but in my experience, that’s typical weather for a 14er. The car read 26 degrees, but with the wind chill, it felt like 6 degrees.
You can drive, hike or bike to the top! The drive is 40 miles round trip and the hike is 26.2 miles round trip.
If you start to feel altitude sickness, don’t keep going higher, it’s best to descend to a lower altitude until the symptoms stop.
The most common hiking trail to the top of Pikes Peak is the Barr Trail.
Miles: 26.2 round trip
Elevation Gain: ~ 7,500 feet
Dogs: Yes, must be kept on a leash
Thunderstorms are common on 14ers, especially in the afternoons. So start early and aim to be off the summit by noon at the latest. If you’re day hiking it, you should start around 1am, even earlier, depending on hiking speed.
Remember to acclimate for a couple of days at least before starting your hike and hydrate.
Bring layers and warm clothes. If you’re backpacking it, here is my blog post with my backpacking pack list.
Here are other ways to hike to the top of this 14er:
The drive was beautiful! Stunning views around every curve. Typically there’s snow on 14ers year round since I was there in November, there was a nice covering of snow.
I started driving up Pikes Peak in the early afternoon. I got there at a good time too. The wind started picking up and clouds started rolling in. On the drive down, at around 12,000 feet, we pulled over to look around and take photos. A ranger pulled up and was telling everyone to start making their way down because road conditions were getting icy.
A couple things to know before your drive:
- The drive typically takes two to three hours not including stopping and spending time at the top.
- There are no gas stations on the drive, so fill up to at least half a tank before heading up. Depending on your carrier, cell reception may be spotty.
- Don’t feed the wildlife. Take pictures of them, keep a safe distance, but don’t feed them for their safety and yours.
- Leave No Trace! Take all trash with you, dispose of it properly without littering it. I picked up a couple pieces of trash at the summit.
One end goes into the water source, the other end you squeeze to filter water into your water bottle or bladder. This is a great filter for shallow water or awkward to reach sources.
It surprisingly worked quickly. I was expecting for such a small filter, that it would take a while to fill up my bottle, but it worked fast. I didn’t time it, but according to MSR’s website, it filters one liter in about 60 seconds. It also didn’t tire my hand out. I’m sure if you had to filter water for your entire group, your hand will start cramping, but for one person, my hand was fine!
The TrailShot only weighs 5 ounces and can filter about 2000 liters.
It’s safe for backcountry use and effectively protects you from most of the harmful microorganisms found in the US and Canada, including bacteria, protozoa, and particulates. It does not protect you from viruses, so it will not be a good choice for filtering water in developing countries. To help protect you from viruses, use MSR’s Aquatabs in addition to using a filter.