Start at the trail head at Manitou Springs. Near the parking lot for the Cogg Rail, you will see the parking lot for the Barr Trail trailhead.
Starting at the Barr Trail, it’s approximately 12 miles to the summit of Pikes Peak; if you are in great shape (or from the area) it will take approximately 8 hours to hike. However, if you are neither of these, there are two great spots along the trail to camp. The Barr Camp and the lean-to (near the tree line) provide a great place to spend the night or rest.
The trail is clearly marked by years of foot travel. After approximately 6.5 miles on the trail, you will come to the Barr Camp. If it’s a dry year, it may be your first opportunity for water since the trailhead. Continuing from the Barr Camp, it’s approximately 5.5 miles to the summit. After reaching the tree line, the trail starts to increase in elevation. Don’t be fooled, it's tougher than you think.
After finishing all of the switchbacks past huge boulders, you will reach the summit (14,110 feet). Take some money with you, there is a place to eat and get souvenirs if you desire. After reaching the summit, you should either have planned for a hike down or have someone pick you up.
Warning: the weather can change at any moment on the mountain. Be prepared.
You should bring clothing suitable for the predicted weather. One should also consider comfortable hiking boots or shoes and plenty of water. If camping, bring the necessary gear for the climate and environment you are camping in. This is not a technical climb, therefore technical gear is not required.
For winter conditions and gear recommendations, contact the park service for advice.
I do recommend bringing a camera.
If you plan to spend the night at the Barr Camp, bring some money with you. They ask for a donation to spend the night (tent camping, lean-to, or shelter). The donation varies.
Also, if you are planning a trip down from the mountain (from Barr Camp) you can volunteer to carry down a bag of trash for a candy bar (believe me, it’s very tasty when you are done with the descent). It’s a nice way to help out.
For more information on the Barr Camp, visit their web site at Barr Camp