Hiking Pike's Peak

One of the main things we wanted to do in Colorado Springs was hike Pike’s Peak. Pike’s Peak is a 14’er and I’m happy to say this was my 3rd time climbing a 14’er. I hadn’t hiked a big mountain in years (highschool years) and it was fun to be back at it again.

The Facts
Mountain Climbed: Pike's Peak
Elevation: 14,114ft.
Water Drank: 72+oz. each
Start Time: 5:10am
End Time: 2:30pm
Total Hiking Time: 9hrs. 20min.
Calories Burned: Enough to eat a massive meal for dinner =)

Anytime you hike a 14’er you need to start early! You want to be up and off that mountain before the daily storms roll in. (I’ve been caught in one before and I don’t even know how to explain what kind of scarry that was). For Pike’s Peak we got up at 4am and arrived to the Barre Trail Parking lot by 5am. By the time we paid for parking and started hiking, 5:10am, the lot was FULL! If you are planning on hiking this trail earlier is better.

Barre Trail is a 12.6 mile trail and is very well marked. When we started out there were a lot of switchbacks. It wasn’t ‘steep’ but it was a steady / “ouch my legs are on fire” incline. After about 4 miles of this it ‘levels’ off for a few miles. That leveling off was super nice as it gave our legs a much needed break. Don’t get me wrong, it was still incline hiking but it just wasn’t a burning / killing my leg incline.

At about 6+ miles into the hike we came across cabins. The cabins are available for those who want to hike ½ the trail one day and finish the next day. The cabins had restrooms as well as leftover snacks (for free). I have never enjoyed a day old garlic bagel so much in my life. I tried to ‘hike and eat’ but that just wasn’t happening. I couldn’t breathe, climb and chew at the same time. There isn’t enough oxygen in those mountains to do that. They did have water and Gatorade available for purchase but it was super expensive.

After the cabins, it’s hard the rest of the way; lots of switchbacks with inclines. I hit a ‘wall’ at this point and told our team we needed a game plan. We decided that we would hike for 7 minutes and then take a break. We did that until we got past the tree line. Then the break was every 5 minutes with a 1 minute timed break.

After you pass the tree line you arrive to the Golden Stairway which is a bunch of bologna. There ain’t nothing golden about those ‘stairs’ except knowing that after those darn stairs was the top of the mountain as well as the gift shop that sold donuts. The Golden Stairs are 16 switchbacks that are the best leg workout / aka BUNS OF STEEL workout ever. 

Our Aunt JB drove to the top of Pike's Peak and picked us up. If you don't have someone to pick you up you can either hike down (ha ha good luck) or there is a train you can ride down. That does need to be scheduled in advance though. 

I’d also like to say that we drank water the entire climb. If you climb any 14’er be sure to drink h2o frequently! The altitude makes you dehydrate quicker and you don’t’ want altitude sickness when you are alone 10,000 feet high in nature.

Dave found a 'layer of clothing' that someone forgot ;)

Dave enjoyed laying on the rocks for a quick rest... =)

 If you are hiking and need some more tips here ya go!

1. Water & Electrolytes
Seriously, take lots of water. You will need water for all the hiking as well for the altitude change. Dave and I combined took 3L + 64oz of water and we drank it all. I honestly feel like we should have taken more. I’d also recommend taking some Gatorade or hydration tablets, which I wish we would have done.

2. Snacks
Be sure to bring enough food as you will need the energy throughout the day. We took pb&j’s for lunch, trail mix, fruit and a little bit of chips. Next time I will take some snacks that are more salty as I feel like that was needed to replenish electrolytes.

3. Toilet Paper.
Do I need to explain? There is 1 bathroom stop and that is 6 miles in.

4. Layers
You start cool, get super hot and then get cold. This is all normal with the elevation changes. I wore some Nike compression shorts and then put leggings over that. I then wore a tank with a quick dry winter shirt over that. I brought a warm head band as well. Wearing layers allowed me to quickly take off a layer or add on a layer.

5. Pike's Peak vs. A Marathon
I had someone ask me this question and I thought I'd quickly address it. They are two very distinctive things but have some similarities. For starters you have to prepare for both of them. Just like with marathon training you need to be fit and ready to hike for 9 hours. The one thing that stood out to me the most was 'the wall'. It's that point when you just think you absolutely can't go on. The wall hit me on Pike's Peak right after lunch around mile 6.5. Soon after that is when we came up with the game plan to hike for 7 min then rest. 

Who else has climbed Pike's Peak? 
If you have any more questions for me about hiking this mountain please let me know! 


  1. We were just there! Even pre-pregnancy, I don't think I could have hiked 12+ miles. Plus when we were in there in May it was still covered in snow.....Looks like you guys had a great time!

    My Wholesome Home

  2. I bet you could do it! You do some crossfit workouts, right? If you can do that you can hike this mountain. June, July and super early August are about the only months you can get a good climb in. There was still some snow when we were there and it blocked some of the trail. it was easy to get around but not fun when my legs were already done. =)

  3. This looks so awesome! I would absolutely love to hike something like this someday. I bet the view was breathtaking!

  4. Ack, I have SO MUCH blog reading to catch up on! I'm loving this post...I would really like to hike Pike's Peak someday! I need to just go visit Colorado. :) 9 hours though?! That's insane!

  5. So awesome!! we love hiking and clearly need to add this to our list! Love your shirt ;)

  6. I am seriously impressed! I am not really that outdoorsy, running outside is kind of my limit. But this seems like fun!

  7. ah this is amazing! I would LOVE to climb Pike's Peak one day!

  8. Gorgeous pictures! I love love love Colorado! These pictures make me want to visit again like tomorrow!

  9. Ha ha ha! It sounds like the golden stairway should be renamed the donut stairway. That comment cracked me up! This looks like such a fun hike, I love hiking! What do you think of the hiking poles? I always see people with them and I wonder if they are worthwhile. Maybe for extra hilly hikes?

  10. ha ha! I laughed out loud at your comment and YES, it should be renamed donut stairway!!! I like hiking poles. I never used to like them until I got married and my husband talked me into them. It's super nice for long hikes because you can put a lot of weight on those and use arms and not just legs.

    I wouldn't use them for short hikes unless I knew it was going to be steep and rocky.

  11. Thanks! I love Colorado too and I hope you get to visit soon. It really is a beautiful state.

  12. You totally should! Is there good hiking in California where you are at?

  13. Yes to the TP! I can't imagine hiking without it. Once I hiked with 2 Kleenex and let's just say both Dave and I had stomach issues and I've never stretched 2 kleenex like that before. Sorry if that was TMI! =)

    I'm glad you are laughing. Sometimes I don't show my humor on my blog but lately I've just been writing it out.

    PS - Did you get my IG pic? =)

  14. Thanks! It is fun. I've turned into more of an outdoor person since being married. Dave loves the outdoors so I'm learning to love it too!

    Running outside is still really awesome! So many people don't even do that so you are doing great!

  15. bahaha! yeah that would DEFINITELY be a "stretch" for sure!!

    i did get the IG pic! that is the funniest face! so sad!!!

  16. Our dog is silly! Today I left to grab something at the grocery store and when I came home I totally busted our dog sleeping on the couch. That is a BIG NO NO for her and I came in before she heard me and had a chance to climb down. She was so ashamed. =)

  17. haha! our basset does the same thing! we let her on the couch when we are in there now, but for the longest time we didn't let her up at all and she knew it. if i would wake up in the middle of the night she'd hear me and hop down so we would catch her up there a lot! now they sleep in the back room and don't have access to the living room!

  18. I love that first picture! I wish we could go hiking together. What fun! I have hiked up a mountain, but I don't think it was a 14-footer. You're an inspiration!

  19. That first picture is my favorite too and you have no idea what effort it took to hold up my arms after that hike. Also, right before that picture a lady, who was NOT FIT, decided it would be a good idea to climb up and down some boulders in her flip flops. FAIL! she went a tumbling and I don't know what stopped her from going over except for God. Dave and Byron had to go help her up and then we got to 're-pose' and take this picture. ha ha!

    I wish we could hike together to because it would be epic but I'm pretty sure the bike riding will be super duper fun!

  20. Oh wow- what an awesome hike! Congrats on finishing and thanks for sharing the tips!

  21. SometimesphotojenikAugust 13, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    Good tips and so fun! Which other 14ers have you done? I'm still trying to get my second one hiked before the end of the summer! If you guys do PP again you should try the back way- my hubby has done both and liked the back way more because you can get up and down in reasonable amount of time!

  22. Girl! I totally missed this comment =( The baños? Well, that was the ground =) We took our own tp.

  23. I have climbed Sneffles I think two other times. Maybe 3? I can't remember. I know we took the normal route once and then the Southwest ridge the other time. It's nice because after the hike you can go to Ouray and soak in the hot springs.

    By back way are you talking about the incline? We saw lots of people doing that.