Barr Trail/Rocky Mt. Bushwack

Page Type
North America
Route Type:
Hiking, Bushwacking and Scrambling
Time Required:
Half a day
Class 1-4, 2550 ft. elevation gain, 7.5 miles

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Created On: Apr 24, 2005
Last Edited On: Apr 24, 2005


This route is the easier of the two that I have posted for Rocky Mountain. The beginning of the Barr Trail (~6700ft.) is clearly marked at the left side as you enter the trailhead parking lot. There is a sign at the base of the trail that incorrectly states the distance to the top of the Incline as being 4 miles. According to my GPS it was about 3 miles. The beginning of the Barr Trail is a series of countless switchbacks that work their way up the northeast mouth of Englemann Canyon. Keep an eye out for joggers racing down the trail, as well as dog droppings. In my opinion it is the most pooped on trail that I have come across in Colorado. The switchbacks settle down and the trail heads more directly west at ~ 8400 ft. After 3 miles (8500 ft.) there will be a trail that merges from the right and a sign for the top of the Incline. Continue on the Barr Trail.

Route Description

Not even a ¼ mile later there will be a trail junction with a large yellow sign. From behind you and to the right another trail from the top of the Incline merges with the Barr Trail. The Old Piedmont Trail continues straight ahead, while the Barr Trail goes to the left. Immediately to your right after coming to this intersection is a faint trail that goes up a steep, but short scree slope. This is a key to the route. About 50 feet beyond is another faint trail on the right. Do not take this trail as it leads to excessive bushwhacking and damage to the environment. Trust me, I know. Take the first and much steeper trail on the right. The summit is less than a ¼ mile from this point. Once you ascend the initial ~ 200 ft. the trail becomes much less steep. From here the fun starts as it is all route finding. I found that the key was to bear slightly to the right (north/northeast) and keep taking the path of least resistance as you gain altitude. If you find yourself doing considerable bushwhacking through low scrub brush you have probably gone too far to the west. There appears to be a faint trail in areas that comes and goes. If you see it and it goes up, take it. The summit has 3 highpoints. The true summit is the highpoint farthest to the left (northwest), but is covered in trees and does not provide good viewpoints. There are two other rock outcroppings that are much better. Both require what I would consider Class 4 climbing to find your way to the top. In fact, the only way to get to the top of the middle highpoint is to jimmy yourself through a crack in the rocks and scale the opposite side. Trust me, this was fun. The highpoint farthest to the southeast aspect of the summit ridge provides the best views. There are old wooden ruins and iron rods sticking out of the highest rock. I assume that these were part of the Incline railroad that took people to the top of Rocky Mountain, but was shut down in 1990. This is a great summit. Enjoy it!

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Barr Trail/Rocky Mt. Bushwack

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