Rocky Mountain Peak is not particularly well-known in the Colorado Springs area, especially considering its close proximity to Pikes Peak, Barr Camp and the Manitou Incline. Factor in a steep climb and an easy-to-miss connecting trail toward the end, and it just might be more worthwhile to spend all your time and energy on the aforementioned destinations.
But this 9,250-foot mountain, sitting somewhat quietly unknown right here in the Pikes Peak region, is worth a try.
Start on Barr Trail. Even with the Incline shuttered, you’ll likely have to fight through a big crowd of people going up and down. Stay on the trail for about 3 miles before the signed junction with Barr Camp/Pikes Peak.
Go right and head toward the Fremont Experimental Forest. Stop there. Read about its history on a sign but also look up southeastward toward Rocky Mountain Peak.
Get back on the trail and follow the service road as it hooks right up a rather steep hill. Hike for no more than a half-mile; if it begins to go downward, you’ve missed a faint trail to your right toward the mountain’s ridge and peak. (There was a cairn and a makeshift arrow the last time I went.) Stay right, as the path is mostly marked by previous foot traffic.
Right below the rocky summit is a fallen legacy ladder. You’ll have to do some low-level technical climbing to get to the top, which features a bent pole. Here is an unobstructed view of the entire Pikes Peak mountain range. Look below and follow Barr Trail until it fades into the forest. Turn around to see U.S. 24 leading its way to Manitou Springs, Garden of the Gods and Colorado Springs.
Rocky Mountain Peak
Take it all in. It’s an experience not to be overlooked.
Trip log: 9 miles round trip, 2,660 feet
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Getting there: Free shuttle runs to Incline from 10 Old Man’s Trail in Manitou Springs. Walk to Barr Trail trailhead along Ruxton Avenue. NOTE: Shuttle is suspended during the coronavirus pandemic.
FYI: Expect crowd of runners, hikers, and mountain bikers during the day. Dogs on leash. Icy in winter; wear traction.