Backpacking, bike-packing, and horse packing are all good options for multi-day trips on Ring the Peak, whether traveling part or all of the Ring. But trail users must be aware of areas along the Ring where camping is prohibited, especially on the east and north sides of the Ring.
Camping regulations by segment of the Ring the Peak Trail
Starting on the south side and going counterclockwise, camping is allowed from Forest Road 376, along Forest Service Road 379, and Forest Service trails 701, and 668 up to the ridge between the Cheyenne watershed and the Bear Creek watershed. Additionally, campfires are not allowed in the Cheyenne watershed (the drainage south of Bear Creek), so while trail users can camp in the area near 701 and the south part of 668, they cannot have campfires there.
Then comes a long stretch of trail through areas that prohibit camping.
Though Forest Service generally allows dispersed camping, camping and campfires are not allowed in the Bear Creek watershed, which includes the north part of 668, 667, 776, and 666. Sections of those trails are in El Paso County property, Jones Park, which also does not allow camping. The next part of the Ring is in Colorado Springs parks, on the Bear Creek trail, High Drive, the Palmer Red Rock loop, and part of the Intemann Trail, through Bear Creek Canyon Park and Red Rock Canyon Open Space, so also no camping through there. Manitou Springs does not allow camping, so there is no camping along the Intemann Trail or Iron Mountain Trail. El Paso County does not allow camping, so there is no camping along the Ute Pass Trail, and no camping along the current work around for the missing parts of the Ute Pass Trail, and also no camping on the lower part of the Mount Esther trail, which is on an easement through private property.
The top of the Mount Esther trail and the Crowe Gulch trail, until reaching North Slope, is in national forest, so camping is allowed there. But it is more than 20 miles, perhaps about 21 or 22 miles, between areas that allow camping near the trail. Manitou Springs, about halfway, has commercial campgrounds and hotels (see Local Area).
Continuing counterclockwise past the Mount Esther trail, North Slope does not allow camping. Once back in national forest west of North Slope, camping is allowed again. Then the Ring is in national forest all the way to Pancake Rocks, so camping is allowed from the west side of North Slope to Pancake Rocks, except no camping is allowed around the Crags road, ¼ mile either side of the road, other than in the Crags campground.
All the areas that prohibit camping also prohibit open fires, including campfires. Colorado Springs Parks also prohibits charcoal. Stoves (with a shut-off valve) are allowed, unless a fire restriction because of high wildfire danger disallows even stoves.
Summary starting on the south side of Pikes Peak heading counterclockwise around the Ring
- Road to South Slope (376) – Forest Service – camping allowed
- Seven Steps (379) – Forest Service – camping allowed
- Forester (701) – Forest Service – camping allowed, no campfires (Cheyenne watershed)
- Pipeline (668) – Forest Service – camping allowed, no campfires (Cheyenne watershed)
- Pipeline (668) – El Paso County (Jones Park) – camping prohibited
- El Paso County property starts shortly after the junction with 622, where 622 comes in from the right
- Jones Park (667) – Forest Service (Bear Creek watershed) and El Paso County – camping prohibited
- Buckhorn (776) – Forest Service (Bear Creek watershed) – camping prohibited
- Bear Creek (666) – Forest Service (Bear Creek watershed) and Colorado Springs – camping prohibited
- High Drive – Colorado Springs (Bear Creek Canyon Park) – camping prohibited
- Palmer Red Rock loop – Forest Service (Bear Creek watershed) and Colorado Springs – camping prohibited
- Intemann Trail – Colorado Springs – camping prohibited
- Intemann Trail, Iron Mountain Trail – Manitou Springs – camping prohibited
- Ruxton Avenue – Manitou Springs – camping prohibited
- Ute Pass Trail – El Paso County – camping prohibited
- Roads to connect through the northeast gap (Ute Pass area) – camping prohibited
- Picabo Road – Chipita Park – camping prohibited
- Mount Esther, lower part – trail easement through private property – camping prohibited
- Mount Esther, Crowe Gulch (754) – Forest Service – camping allowed, but only before entering North Slope
- North Slope roads and trails – CS Parks and Rec and CS Utilities – camping prohibited
- Raspberry Mountain trail – Forest Service (after leaving North Slope) – camping allowed
- Crags Road (383) – Forest Service – camping prohibited within ¼ mile of the road other than in the Crags campground
- Putney Gulch trail – Forest Service – camping allowed
- Horsethief Park trail (704) – Forest Service – camping allowed
- Pancake Rocks trail – Forest Service – camping allowed
El Paso County
Cheyenne watershed and Bear Creek watershed restrictions:
Crags road restrictions: