The Crags route to Pikes Peak is not as popular as the Barr trail from the east but since it's shorter, with less elevation gain it's a much easier way to summit this famous mountain. It also offers better views with the Continental divide to the west and it is much less crowded. Shortly after you start from the new trailhead you will reach the Fourmile creek - turn right and get on trail #664A crossing the bridge. Continue through the forest, gradually gaining elevation and then hike through few switchbacks to get above the tree line. Great views open up to the west. Next 3/4 of a mile is a steep straight climb up to the saddle at 12,750 feet. The following section is an easy walk to the Devils Playground area. Cross the Pikes Peak Highway and continue on the left side of the road. You have about 2 miles until you start the final assault up the large boulder field to the summit. Follow cairns through the maze of rocks and soon you will reach the top. Walk east to the Summit House and enjoy some donuts ! If you can arrange someone to pick you up, this could be an one-way hike, just be aware that the highway can be closed at any time due to weather.
Length: Roundtrip distance is 13.6 miles.
Difficulty: Advanced. 6.8 miles to summit with 4300 feet in elevation gain. Some exposure.
Directions: Take US-24 west and turn left at traffic light in Divide. Drive south on US-67 for about 4 miles. Turn left to CR-62 right after you pass the entrance to Mueller State park on the right. Drive 3 miles on the dirt road and you will see the new trailhead parking lot on the right side. Crags campground located 1/4 of a mile further down the road is no longer used as the official trailhead.