- Some of the highlights of the Pike National Forest include various recreation areas. The Barr National Recreation Trail provides access to Pikes Peak and an entire network of trails on it. The Rampart Range Motorized Area provides countless trails for ATVs and motorcycle riders. Buffalo Creek Mountain Bike Area enables mountain bikers of all levels to enjoy the outdoors. The South Platte River Corridor provides public access to gold-medal trout waters. The Windy Ridge Scenic Area allows visitors to view the oldest living entities on Earth, the Bristlecone Pine. The Alma-Fairplay Area boasts four 14,000 foot peaks for those wishing to add to their list of summits attained. These and several other attractions make the Pike National Forest a major attraction in the state of Colorado.
Pike's Peak from Garden of the Gods
Recreation - The Pike National Forest includes a multitude of recreation opportunities for every kind of visitor. For backpackers the Colorado Trail, Barr Recreational Trail, Lost Creek Wilderness and Buffalo Peaks Wilderness provide countless miles of trails. Those visitors interested in boating may choose to visit Rampart Reservoir, Catamount Reservoirs or Elevenmile Canyon Reservoir. For the motorcyclists and ATVs riders the Rampart Range Motorized Area makes many motorized trails easily accessible. The West Creek Area also provides miles of motorized trails. Camping is provided in approximately 40 campgrounds throughout the forest. Mountain bikers, hikers and horseback riders are provided with countless outlets in varied terrain.
Climate - Controlled mainly by the Rocky Mountains, weather in the Pike National Forest varies extremely on a yearly, daily and hourly basis. Colorado's high elevation makes the air thinner and harder to breathe. The elevation also makes it easier to get a sunburn, because there is less air between you and the sun to filter ultraviolet light. Temperatures are affected by elevation, cooling four degrees for every 1,000 feet gained.
When hiking, particularly on high mountain peaks, during the summer, morning and early afternoon hikes are best to avoid lightning and thunderstorms. The average yearly precipitation is 16 inches, the majority of which comes in spring and summer. Summer temperatures average 72 degrees during the day. Nighttime freezing temperatures are not uncommon during the summer. The mean winter temperature is 26 degrees. The low humidity on the eastern slopes makes both warm and cold temperatures seem more comfortable.
The Pike National Forest is located south of Denver and north of Cripple Creek, Colorado. It includes the southern half of the Mt. Evans Wilderness Area, where the Pegmatite Points form the northern boundary of the Pike National Forest. The northwestern boundary is made complete by the Continental Divide with the Arapaho National Forest on the northern side of the divide. To the west, the Pike National Forest boundary ends at the Park County Line. The southern boundary of the forest lies north of Cripple Creek on Pikes Peak. To the east the border is formed by Colorado Springs and the central plains. The major river drainage on the Pike National forest is the South Platte, which flows through the western part of the forest from Deckers to Fairplay.