The Crags Trail – Footsteps of Pikes Peak
If you are looking for a great out and back, and happen to be near Colorado Springs, look no further than “The Crags” on the West side of Pikes Peak.
Pikes Peak is an ultra-prominent peak (one of only 1,524 such peaks in the World) Though the formation of the modern Rocky Mountains started relatively recently in geologic time… a mere 300 million years ago, it’s believed that the rocky outcrops of Pikes Peak may be well over 2.3 billion years old.
The Crags Trail is a 5.1 mile RT (round trip) hike, that gives you a chance to wander through tall pine forests, crawl between rock fall boulders and finish with a simple foot based scramble (no hands needed) to the top of The Crags. The view is worth the casual stroll and, similar to the Devils Playground further up (and I mean up), the The Crags are primarily composed of a pink granite called Pikes Peak Granite.
The color (pink) in Pikes Peak granite is there in part thanks to the amount of potassium feldspar in the granite.
Along the route you will climb about 800 vertical feet but also can branch off to any of the countless boulders for some fun rock climbing. Even better, the Trail Head (TH) gives you a clear shot to the trail leading to the top of Pikes Peak.
Pikes Peak , at 14,115 ft, is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and is an ultra-prominent peak…. one of only 1524 in the world.
Once you reach the top of the Crags you have almost limitless views of the central Rocky Mountains. Plus, you get to hang out with ancient Bristle Cone Pines and can catch a glimpse of the summit of Pikes Peak. On the day wandered up here I trail friends told me it was very windy… but the breeze and heat sun was the perfect balance of hot and cold on a beautiful day. That said, I do recommend wearing layers because weather can change quickly and the wind can make the exposed pinnacles of the Crags quite chilly.
Bristlecone Pines are highly resilient to harsh weather, bad soils and can be among the longest-lived life forms on Earth.
With the right gear and some bushwhacking skills, you may even decide to climb to the top of some of the other rock pinnacles that make up the Crags but as with any Adventure, always be safe!
For more information on the hike check this link out!