Expensive to park at the Barr Trail
Trailhead, but free parking exists with a shuttle ( parkmanitou.com/free-shuttle/
Water can be obtained at the summit (Summit House), A-Frame (~3 miles down from Summit) and Barr Camp (~6 miles down from Summit). The A-Frame and Barr Camp water is natural water. I have always drank it unfiltered, without issue, but choose for yourself.
The "Ws,"as the bottom 3 miles of Barr Trail
is known, can get quite busy, particularly on weekends. Be courteous and let people know you are coming up behind them. I am shocked at the lack of consideration of trail runners on this stretch of trail, perhaps because so many are coming down from the Manitou Incline.
This stretch, particularly the bottom 1.5 miles, can get very hot later in the day during the summer. The red rock is exposed and gets heated up and just radiates the heat back onto you at the time when you are most beat down.
Start at the Crags parking area. Make sure to split off to the right at the Y where The Crags Trail #664
goes off to the left and the Devil's Playground (#664A)
trail goes to the right. From there, there are no intersecting trails to the summit.
The trail is fairly steep from the trailhead to the first ridge above treeline. From there, it levels out a bit until the final push to the summit. This stretch is about 6.6 miles and 4,100 feet of elevation gain.
Enjoy the views while going through Devils Playground.
At the summit, you can refill water and get food at the Summit House, if you wish.
Find the railroad tracks on the east side of the summit and you'll see a sign for the Barr Trail
heading down to Manitou. This trail is also easy to follow, with a couple of intersecting trails, but everything is well marked.
Enjoy the 13% grade on Barr Trail
, perfect for a downhill frolic. The first 2 miles are hard to get a groove going because of the rocky terrain, but once you get past that, the trail flows splendidly.
The downhill stretch is about 12 miles and about 7,800 total feet of elevation loss (due to a couple small climbs during this section).