FAQ - Pikes Peak RD

Pikes Peak RD FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Alphabetical Index of Linked Questions by Subject


Q1. Does your District have a firewood-cutting program and if so what are the details?


A. .For the most up to date information, please give us a call at (719) 636-1602. The program runs off and on year round, the cost is $20.00 to $40.00 a cord.  Permits and cutting area maps can be obtained from our office in Colorado Springs.  Permits are valid for 60 days from the date of purchase.  The cutting areas may vary so call or visit our office to get the most current information.


Q2. My trees appear to have a disease. Can someone from your office come out and look at them and tell me what the disease is and how to remedy it?


A. The Colorado State Forest Service specializes in tree disease questions and a variety of other subjects for private landowner. The telephone number is 719-687-2921 or you can visit them online at http://csfs.colostate.edu/.  Colorado State University (CSU) Extension at 719-636-8920 or the City of Colorado Springs Forester at 719-385-5942 are other options to contact.


Q3. How do I make campground reservations?


A. It depends on what agency operates the campgrounds you are interested in. If it happens to be the National Forest Service or the Corp of Engineers you can make campground reservations through the national reservation center at 877-444-6777 or online at www.recreation.gov. If you want to make reservations at Colorado State Parks facilities call 800-678-2267 or visit them online at www.reserveamerica.com/. If you want to make campground reservations at National Park Service facilities call 800-365-2267 or visit them online at www.recreation.gov. It’s a good idea to make your reservations well in advance. IMPORTANT TIP: You will need to know the name of the campground where you want to stay before you call the reservation center. For instance, if Rampart Reservoir is your camping destination you'll have to tell the reservationists the specific campground at Rampart Reservoir that your interested in, which in this case would either be Meadow Ridge or Thunder Ridge Campground. Otherwise, the reservationists won’t be able to discern the name of the campground from a geographical place name like Rampart Reservoir.


Q4. How old do I have to be to get a job with the Forest Service? And if I meet the age requirement how do I get a job with the Forest Service?


A. You have to be at least 18 years old. Then the first step towards getting employment with the Forest Service is to get acquainted with the variety of Forest Service jobs available. You can do this by logging on to www.avuecentral.com and filling out an application.  You can also go online to www.usajobs.com for a complete listing of available Federal Jobs. Good luck.


Q5. How can I get tree seedlings?


A. The Colorado State Forest Service sells seedlings. You can reach them at 719-687-2921 for details or visit them online at http://csfs.colostate.edu/. They will also send you a free order form and informational pamphlet at your request.


Q6. Where can I register my boat and ATV?


A. The answer is the Colorado Park and Wildlife office. Their street address is:
 4255 Sinton Road, Colorado Springs, CO.
You can also reach them at 719-227-5250 or visit them online at http://cpw.state.co.us/.


Q7. When will the gate to Rampart Reservoir be open and when does it close for the season?


A. Weather permitting, the gate to Rampart Reservoir should be open by mid May each year. You can, however, in the meantime hike to Rampart Reservoir from the Rainbow Gulch Trailhead. The 1.4-mile trail will take you to the Rampart Reservoir inlet and to some potentially good fishing. Keep in mind that the campgrounds won't be open until the end of May, again weather permitting. The gate usually closes in November after the first major snowfall.


Q8. Can I ride my ATV or unlicensed vehicle on USFS Roads? Where is the best ATV areas on your district?

You must adhere to all posted and published travel management regulations. All of the County Roads prohibit ATV's or motorized vehicles that don't have a license plate. All of the main Forest Roads, generally those passable by cars and low clearance vehicles, are closed to ATV's and motorized vehicles that do not have license plates. Some of those roads include Old Stage Forest Development Road (FDR) 368, High Drive FDR 380, Mount Herman FDR 320, Rampart Range FDR 300, Rampart Recreation Area FDR 306, Crags-Fourmile Creek FDR 350, Seven Lakes FDR 376, and Rainbow Falls FDR 350. As a general rule most of the 4-wheel High Clearance Roads are open to ATV's.  The best places for riding your ATV is Trail System 717 north of Divide, Colorado and the Rainbow Falls trail system north of Woodland Park. Maps of these trail systems are available free of charge at our district office or online download here.

Q9. When is the Pikes Peak Highway open, how much does it cost and what are the current weather conditions?

A. The best way to answer this question is to have you call the Pikes Peak Visitor Information at (719) 385-7325 or go to http://www.pikespeak.us.com/Essentials/hours-and-fees.html

 But generally, the Pikes Peak Highway is open year-round with some closures during severe weather.


Q10. Do you have a Holiday Tree Cutting Program and what are the details of the program?


A. Yes we do and it's a very popular program. We, ordinarily, start selling permits at our office in Colorado Springs on the first Monday after Thanksgiving and continue selling permits for approximately two weeks, ending on a Wednesday. The tree permits sell for $20 and you can purchase up to 5 permits. No need to rush in first thing on Monday because we don't place a cap on the number of permits we sell. Cutting areas do change, so check with the FS office for maps and info.


Q11. Do you have those American the Beautiful Passes that will get me into National Parks free?


A. Yes, we sell the America the Beautiful Senior, Access and Annual Passes which have replaced the Golden Eagle Passports, Golden Age Passports and Golden Access Passports. The America the Beautiful Annual Pass is an annual pass, which sells for $80. The America the Beautiful Senior Pass is a lifetime pass or annual pass for those 62 and older, which sells for $20-$80 ($20 for annual and $80 for Lifetime). The America the Beautiful Access Pass is a free lifetime pass for those who are permanently disabled or blind.


Q12. When and where can I see the wildflowers in bloom?


A. In general, wildflowers bloom along the Front Range from mid April through late September. Many factors influence the exact time wildflowers bloom, but you can nonetheless expect a pretty good showing from late May through the end of June. Bear in mind that, as a general rule, wildflowers bloom earlier at lower elevations. For details on when and where all the varieties of wildflowers bloom check out one of the many books on the subject, most are available at a public library. You can also call the Forest Service Wildflower Viewing Hotline (800-354-4595) for field reports on the progress of wildflower blooming.


Q13. How do I get to your office from Interstate 25?


A. Get off on Exit 141, (Cimarron Street), make a right turn at the bottom of the exit ramp, go six blocks east into the downtown area to Weber Street, turn right (south) onto Weber Street and travel one and a half blocks down Weber Street. Our office is on the left (east) side of the street. You will know you are there when you see a yellow and dark brown brick building with a matching USDA Forest Service sign in the front, a flag pole, several large ponderosa pine trees and a parking lot on the south side of the building.


Q14. Are there any lakes you can swim in on your District?


A. Not on the Pikes Peak Ranger District, but you might check with Colorado State Parks. You can reach them at 719-471-0900 or visit them online at www.coloradoparks.org. You may also consider calling the Colorado Division of Wildlife at 719-227-5200 or visiting them online at www.dnr.state.co.us/wildlife for the lakes and reservoirs under their control.


Q15.How do I get rid of nuisance critters?


A. You will find the answer to this question at the Colorado Division of Wildlife at 719-227-5200 or you can visit them online at www.dnr.state.co.us/wildlife.


Q16. What's the weather forecast for next month?


A. You can get the current conditions by calling 1-877-315-7623. You can get the current road conditions by dialing 719-630-1111, extension 7623. Additional weather information can be found online at various weather related websites.


Q17. Where are the best fishing spots on your district?


A. Many of our customers swear by Rampart Reservoir; others like river fishing along the South Platte.  The Colorado Division of Wildlife can also assist you in locating the hottest fishing spots. The can be reached at 719-227-5200 or you can visit them online at www.dnr.state.co.us/wildlife. They can also provide information about their stocking schedule and fishing report. TIP: Click on the "Fishing" button on our homepage to learn more. ANOTHER TIP: Check out the fishing report column in the Gazette Telegraph.


Q18. How much snow is on Pikes Peak? What about two months from now?


A. It, of course, varies from year to year and season to season. As an average, however, you can expect a few feet of snow through March or April and then see it quickly recede in May. By June the snow will have disappeared from most areas.


Q19. What accommodations are there at Barr Camp and what are the fees?


A. Barr Camp is operated under a special use permit through the Forest Service. To gain an insight into what accommodations they offer and their prices you should contact them at 719-337-0676 or www.barrcamp.com


Q20. Is water available on Barr Trail?


A. No. In any case, it’s a good idea to take a quality water filter in the event you have to drink untreated, “natural” water. The filter should, at a minimum, be able to, filter out Giardia cysts, which can give you flu-like symptoms. If you don’t have a filter and you feel compelled to drink the untreated “natural” water then make sure you boil it for 3-5 minutes. It's a good idea to take enough “safe” water with you to see you through the hike.  Also try looking at the Barr Camp website at www.barrcamp.com.


Q21. Can I hunt on the Manitou Experimental Forest and at Rampart Reservoir?


A. The answer is yes with the following conditions: You cannot shoot a weapon within the boundary of the Manitou Experimental Forest in June, July and August and you cannot shoot a weapon within 150 yards of a developed recreation area or building. You must also adhere to the posted and published travel management regulations.


Q22. Is Gold Camp Road open all the way to Cripple Creek?


A. No. You can only go as far as Tunnel #3 which partially collapsed in 1987. You can, however, take Old Stage Road to where it meets Gold Camp Road and then continue to Cripple Creek.


Q23. How much does it cost to ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway to Pikes Peak and how do I make reservations?


A. (8/21/2018 The Cog Railway is not running) You can make reservations and check out the fee schedule online at www.cograilway.com or you can call the COG Road Depot at 719-685-5401. You can also e-mail them at cogtrain@iex.net. Generally, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway is open for business April through November.


Q24. I'd like to get information about the cabins and lookout stations in the Pike National Forest?


A. We don’t have any cabins or lookout stations in the Pikes Peak Ranger District, but you might check with the South Platte Ranger District in Morrison at 303-275-5610, or the South Park Ranger District in Fairplay at 719-836-2031. You can also visit with these districts online by clicking on their respective buttons on our homepage.


Q25. Where can I go boating (rafting, canoeing and kayaking) in the Pike National Forest?


A. Anywhere in the National Forest where it is not expressly prohibited by Special Order. All Forest Service offices should have the Special Orders that pertain to their area of responsibility for you to review. IMPORTANT NOTE: Please respect the rights of private landowners. Ask permission first. Some local favorites for boating and such are Rampart Reservoir, Manitou Lake and the tri-lakes of the North Slope Recreation Area.


Q26. Where can I go horseback riding in the National Forest? Can my horse stay with me in the Forest Service campgrounds?


A. As a general rule you can take horses anywhere in the National Forest not specifically prohibited by Special Order. When there are exceptions they will for the most part be signed. To answer your second question, none of our developed campgrounds accommodate horses, but cast an eye towards the South Platte Ranger District's Indian Creek Campground south of Sedalia on Highway 67. It does have an equestrian section in that campground. For information on this location, call the South Platte Ranger District at 303-275-5610. Also remember that if you take forage with you it must be certified weed free.


Q27. Where can I purchase Forest Service maps?


A. You can purchase them at our office, either in person, or by mail. It is $14.00 for a National Forest map.You can also find them in local bookstores and map stores.


Q28. What are the rules for panning for gold in the National Forest? And, where are the best places for panning for gold?


A. You can pan for gold recreationally on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service lands without a permit, but it’s your responsibility to know that you are on public and not private land. You will also want to avoid patented mining claims. Also keep in mind that you should consult with the Forest Service or BLM before undertaking any kind of activity that would result in ground disturbance.


Q29. What are the best mountain biking trails on your district?


A. One of the favorites is the 11.6-mile trail around Rampart Reservoir. But, you'll want to do some exploring to determine which trail may be a favorite for you. We have trails of every level of difficulty from easy to extreme. You will find a good variety of guidebooks on the subject at your favorite bookstore or even at a public library.


Q30. What are the best hiking trails for children?


A. The two trails we recommend are(6.8 mile loop/Easy), the Centennial Bike Trail #669 (8.2 miles/paved/easy) and the Crags Trail No. 664 (2 miles one way/Moderate). Another favorite is the Rampart Reservoir Trail No.700 (11.6 miles/Easy). Take plenty of water, rub on some sunscreen and have fun!


Q31. Can I pick berries in the National Forest?


A. Yes, for personal use only. The strawberries are especially delicious.


Q32. How do I avoid bear encounters and what do I do if I'm face to face with a bear?


A. Our first suggestion is to make noise while you’re hiking in the forest (metallic noise is best) to avoid an encounter altogether. If you’re camping keep your camp clean, store your food safely, dispose of garbage properly, sleep well away from food areas and store any toiletries safely. But, if all else fails and you find yourself face to face with a bear here are some suggestions according to the Division of Wildlife: stay calm, stop, speak softly and if the bear attacks fight back. Black bears have been driven away when people have fought back with rocks, sticks, binoculars and even their bare hands. If you’d like to know more about bear safety we’d be glad to send you a Colorado Division of Wildlife brochure called “Living With Wildlife In Bear Country.” And if you do have an encounter with a bear, which you probably won't, the Colorado Division of Wildlife would like to hear about it. You can reach them at 719-227-5200 in Colorado Springs.


Q33. Are the lakes and reservoirs iced over?


A. They generally begin to ice over in November and then thaw out around mid April or mid May.


Q34. Is the Rampart Shooting Range open?


A. It is CLOSED until further notice.


Q35. When is the Pikes Peak Marathon held and can I hike up Barr Trail while it is being held?

A. You can get more information by calling the Pikes Peak Marathon Committee at 719-473-2625. Barr Trail remains open to the general public during the marathon.


Q36. When is the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and can I camp along the road when it is being held?

A. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be held on the last Saturday of June. No, there is no camping permitted during this time.


Q37. What is the telephone number to the Pikes Peak Summit House and what are its hours of operation?


A. The telephone number is 719-661-8080. I'd recommend that you ask them for their hours of operation since they can vary.


Q38. What are your rules for having pets in the National Forest?


A. They should be leashed if you are in a Wilderness area, a developed recreation area or on a heavily traveled trail that’s covered by a Special Order. Otherwise, your pets should be under voice control at all times.


Q39. What is the elevation of Pikes Peak?


A. 14,115 feet.


Q40. Can I do recreational shooting on Mt. Herman Road?


A.  Although recreational shooting is generally permitted in the National Forest there are exceptions and conditions, there is  No Shooting on Mt. Herman Road. Areas restricted to shooting can be found in the PPRD Target Shooting Brochure or you can obtain a map from us that shows you exactly where these restrictions apply. The other common sense conditions are as follows: (1) you cannot discharge a firearm in or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area (2) you cannot discharge a firearm across or on a Forest Development road or a body of water adjacent thereto, or in any manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result in such discharge (3) you cannot discharge a firearm into or within any cave. I would also advise you to familiarize yourself with Colorado State law regarding possessing and transporting firearms.


Q41. How long will it take me to drive to the top of Pikes Peak?


A. Allow yourself approximately 2 hours roundrtrip. Remember that you must be off the Pikes Peak Highway by sunset—no overnight parking is allowed. The road is 38 miles roundtrip.


Q42. How long will it take me to hike up Pikes Peak?


A. Approximately three hours if you're a world-class marathoner. If not, it could take you from 8 to 12 hours, depending on your fitness level. Then, again, you could drive up to Pikes Peak in about 2 hours or take the Cog Railway which would get you there in about 1:15 minutes.


Q43. How do I reach the C.S.U. Extension?


A. You can reach them at 719-636-8920 or visit them online at www.ext.colostate.edu/.


Q44. Where can I see fall colors


A. Call the National Forest you are willing to visit for the best information.  Our National Forest Office is 719-553-1400.


Q45. Can you see the curvature of the earth from Pikes Peak?


A. Yes.


Q46. How big is the Pike National Forest?


A. 1,288,383 acres more or less.


Q47. Where can I go in the forest to get rocks, pinecones, pine boughs,

logs, posts, etc.?


A. You have to have a permit to remove any minerals or wood products from the National Forest. To obtain one of these permits check with your nearest Forest Service office.


Q48. I’d like to have my wedding ceremony in the National Forest, how do I go about it.

A. Contact Recreation.gov at 877-444-6777 or visit them online at www.recreation.gov to reserve a Group Campground for the ceremony.


Q49. How old do you have to be to volunteer to work for the Forest Service?


A. There are no age limitations. Just fill out an application and we will take it from there.


Q50. Do you sell books and maps at your office?


A.   We sell National Forest Maps within Colorado at our district office.


Q51. Can I use a metal detector on Forest Service lands?


A. It is allowed, but with restrictions in recreation areas and archaeological sites.  Also, you should be aware that the National Historic Preservation Act generally prohibits collecting anything 50 years old or older.