This is a great route to the summit of Pikes Peak that is shorter and less popular than the Barr Trail
option. The lower sections are the steepest and most difficult. Once above timberline the grade lessens, which is welcome at the high elevation. The upper sections parallel the Pike Peak highway so there can be traffic noise, but leaving early will mean you are up before the highway opens and reduce the risk of being caught in thunderstorms.
Features: Fall Colors — Views — Wildflowers
Need to Know
Lightning can be very dangerous at these elevations, leave early to avoid afternoon thunderstorms.
To reach the trailhead from Divide, go 4.1 miles south on Colorado 67. Turn left onto the dirt road to the Crags campground and follow it 3.0 miles to the trailhead.
The first part of the route follows the Crags Trail. You'll start by crossing a bridge over Fourmile Creek. After 1/2 mile, you'll pass three pipes coming up out of the ground on your right. They only stick out of the ground a few feet and are easy to miss. Approximately, 30 yards past the pipes is a trail junction - the Crags Trail goes left and your trail (#664A) goes down to the right. Turn right, cross a stream on the log bridge and continue a short distance to see a sign on the right that confirms that you're on the trail to Devils Playground. Climb through the forest to 10,400' and cross another small stream.
Continue east for almost 1 mile to reach a small clearing near 10,900. Turn left near 11,050' and ascend a long, straight stretch to 11,300'. Zigzag up the steep hillside and exit the trees near 11,900'. Once above tree line, the trailhead southeast and east up an easy slope.
When you reach top of the slope (12,750), the summit comes into view to the southeast. Follow the trail northeast and then east toward the Pikes road. The trail becomes significantly less steep at this point. Pass through a strip of rocks to reach the Devils Playground area. Cross to the east side of the Pikes Peak road, step over a cable, turn right and follow on the trail that parallels the Pikes road.
Descend slightly to a corner of the road at 12,900' and pass another point on your left. Continue to the left side of Point 13,363 where the remaining trail comes into full view. Head down to the road and continue up to reach a flat area below the final pitch. Follow cairns up through the rocks as the route swings slightly right away from the ridge. At 13,500' the slope gets a bit steeper - keep climbing up through the red rocks for 500' to reach a corner of the road below the northwest side of the summit. Run up and over to the buildings, cars, and people.
History & Background
Katherine Lee Bates wrote the song "America the Beautiful" after taking in the view from the summit of Pikes Peak in 1893.