Barr Trail, Forest Service trail #620, is one of the most popular trails in the region, climbing 12.6-miles (20.3 km) and 7,500 feet (2,300 m) from Manitou Springs, at about 6,700 feet, to the summit of Pikes Peak, 14,115 feet. Built by Fred Barr and completed in 1921, the trail is a difficult hike because of its length and high elevation at the top. Barr Camp sits about halfway up the trail, at 10,200 feet, and has a main cabin that welcomes day users and overnight guests, other overnight accommodations, food and other items to purchase, and composting pit toilets. Barr Trail is home to the Pikes Peak Marathon, which started in 1956, and had the first woman, Arlene Pieper, to officially finish a marathon race in the U.S., in 1959. On New Year’s Eve 1922, the Frozen Five, including Fred Barr, started a tradition of shooting off fireworks at midnight from the summit to celebrate the new year, a tradition continued by the AdAmAn Club.
Route and hiking information is available in general and from a runner’s perspective.
Because of the high use it receives, Friends of the Peak has projects for maintaining Barr Trail every year. Friends of the Peak has had projects on Barr Trail since at least 1997. At one time, Friends of the Peak supported Trail Dogs for Barr Trail. Each person who volunteered as a Trail Dog would adopt a one mile section of Barr Trail, and work to care for that section. Gayle Allen volunteered for years working on all aspects of maintaining Barr Trail. Friends of the Peak also paid for trail work along Barr Trail, especially for the more remote sections.
Since 2010, AdAmAn has worked with Friends of the Peak each year with a volunteer project on Barr Trail. In 2013, two Boy Scouts led their Eagle projects replacing rails in the fence along Barr Trail. That same year, Friends of the Peak had five projects replacing rotted fence posts and stabilizing posts that were loose.
2014 saw some projects with interesting transportation. The Cog Railway offered to take volunteers and tools up and back down on a train. Friends of the Peak took advantage of the generous offer in May. The Cog delivered the tools and volunteers to Mountain View, where the volunteers walked the 1 1/2 miles to Barr Trail, then improved drainage in a section of Barr Trail above Barr Camp. In August, the Pikes Peak Marathon race organizers took volunteers in 4WD trucks up Longs Ranch Road so that they could improve the trail down from the Incline turn off. Friends of the Peak had another project with AdAmAn in September. Another Boy Scout held his Eagle project replacing rails in the fence.
2015 continued work on parts of Barr Trail that are usually difficult to maintain, with support from the Pikes Peak Cog Railway and Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon. The Cog provided support for four project days, transporting tools and volunteers up to Mountain View and back down. The work train crew transported the tools, separate from the volunteers. For these days, the volunteers had a much shorter hike to Barr Camp, the 1 1/2 miles from Mountain View. They were able to improve drainage on Barr Trail for a mile or so below Barr Camp and a mile or so above. Barr Camp supported the annual project with AdAmAn, an overnight project this year, providing their traditional spaghetti and garlic bread dinner Saturday evening and Pikes Peak Power Pancakes Sunday morning. The Ascent and Marathon organizers transported volunteers and tools up Longs Ranch Road to Barr Trail for two projects. Volunteers were able to start 3 miles up Barr Trail, without walking or carrying tools for those 3 miles, and clear corridor, remove roots and rocks from the trail, and provide a more walkable and runnable surface for close to 2 miles of trail above the turn one day, and about 1 1/2 mile of trail below the turn on another day. Another day, starting from the trailhead, removed the hazards in the first 1 1/2 miles of trail. On another day starting from the trailhead, volunteers worked on the fence along Barr Trail, replanting fence posts that had come out of the ground or were very wobbly, replacing rotted posts as needed.