"Rising more than 14,000 feet, Pikes Peak has managed to capture the imaginations of all who have spied its impressive summit. Among its more interesting features are the many pink-colored outcrops of Pikes Peak Granite found throughout the massif. Dating back to Precambrian times, Pikes Peak Granite formed as part of a batholith, a large intrusion of molten rock deep within the earth. The rock then cooled very slowly. Perhaps nowhere are these formations more fascinating than in the area known as the Crags. Located on the back, or west, side of the mountain, these fantastical spires of rock are accessible via a short, easy trail." Read more
"The Crags are dramatic pinnacles, and the area is ideal for hiking or scrambling on the backside of Pikes Peak, and is across from Mueller State Park. Hiking through the valley is worth the price of admission, and the view from atop one of the pinnacles is breathtaking in more ways than one. You can see the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance, as well as the backside of Pikes Peak and the interesting landscape of Mueller State Park and Wildlife Area. You can choose a short, easy jaunt up the valley to the base of the rocks or a steep scramble to the summit. The trail rolls and climbs gradually to the base of the Crags. It is straight uphill steeply from there to summit a crag. The area often stays snowy, wet, or marshy until mid- to late July because of the elevation in normal snow years." Read more
"This trail leads to the Crags, a group of rock pinnacle formations. The trail is restricted to hikers and horsemen, so it is not as busy as others in the area on weekends. The hike is on the northwest flank of Pikes Peak. If you think that someday you may want to hike this Fourteener, a trip to the Crags will give you a feel for the mountain. For most of the way, the trail is covered with decomposing needles from the evergreens. The ground is moist and is easy on your dog’s paws. A stream is near the campground but there is no reliable source of water on the hike, so make sure to take some along. Your dog must be on a leash." Read more
"Many mysteries still surround the formation of the Rocky Mountains, but one of the most intriguing puzzles concerns the formation of Pikes Peak on the southern tip of the Front Range. Pikes Peak was created some 60 million years ago when a large deposit Pikes Peak Granite was pushed up from deep within the earth. The puzzling thing is that after the rock reached the earth’s surface it seemed to expand and flow outward, eventually covering many square miles of much younger sedimentary rock. This wouldn’t seem unreasonable if the rock had been in liquid or plastic form, but in this case the material was far from liquid. It was solid Precambrian granite that had cooled and crystallized a billion years before it was pushed to the surface. It is difficult to imagine solid granite being squeezed out of the earth like toothpaste from a tube and then flowing horizontally like cold molasses across the earth’s surface. But that appears to be exactly what happened." Read more
"After a short climb, this excellent hike leads through serene meadows below granite cliffs and boulder-strewn hillsides, with excellent views of Pikes Peak’s northern shoulders.
Take your time on this hike. Although the trail is relatively easy, its starting elevation is 10,040 feet and it ends at 10,800 feet. If you come from sea level, watch for altitude sickness, including headache and nausea. On summer afternoons, stay alert for severe thunderstorms with lightning moving across The Crags. Carry a raincoat and retreat to your car if you see incoming bad weather. Drinking water is available at The Crags Campground near the trailhead." Read more