Fred Barr built the trail bearing his name during the years of 1914-1918. Built as a trail for burro rides to the summit, it began at the top of the incline, a funicular rail that took tourists up one mile and nearly 2000 ft above the cog railway depot. The lower three miles were built in the 1920’s by the Forest Service using CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) workers.
As well as Barr Trail, Mr. Barr built other trails on Pikes Peak. He built Barr Camp 1922-1924 as a halfway overnight stop for the burro trips to the summit and his other burro trails. In addition to the two cabins you will see when you visit Barr Camp, there was a third cabin that burned in the early 1970’s and a burro barn.
Fred Barr never owned the land but had sole authorization for his burro concession from the Forest Service. After his death in 1940, the burro concession continued until 1959. The camp was abandoned and suffered vandalism during the time it was vacant. In 1964, the Mennonite Church took over the lease for the camp and worked to rebuild the cabin and grounds. While there were caretakers in the camp during the summer months, the vandalism continued during the time there were no caretakers on-site. After several summers of rebuilding, the Mennonite Community felt it was no longer possible to maintain the camp only during summers. The destruction continued through the late 1970’s when the forest service was preparing to raze the buildings.
At this time, a couple of long-time hikers felt they may be able to maintain the camp with year around caretakers on-site and that it could be a oasis for hikers on the mountain. Through hard work and the donations of people over-nighting and eating at the camp, they were able to revive the camp as way-station on Pikes Peak. In the 1990’s, Barr Camp became a non-profit organization.
Through the generosity of hikers and several organizations, Barr Camp underwent a major upgrade in 2000 with the addition of a Solar Power System and composting toilets. While these are modern updates, we think you will find Barr Camp to be a place far-removed from the fast-paced life you leave behind when you hike up the trail.
Today Barr Camp hosts day-hikers all but a few days of the year. Overnight guests stay year around, with the summer months busy with visitors from all around the world. Over 25,000 hikers visit the camp annually with 2,500 over night guests.
The main cabin was built in 1922, and is the main gathering place in the camp. The large deck welcomes hikers to take a break, eat a snack and contemplate the rest of the hike. Hikers as well as overnight guests are welcome in the cabin.