I have been hiking the peak up Barr Trail for years now and I always wonder about the sign “16 Golden Stairs” near the top. As a first-time hiker when I saw that I thought, “oh, great, I am there.” Well, not quite. It seems more like 16 switchbacks. What is the sign referencing?
• The “16 Golden Stairs” sign makes even experienced runners and hikers cringe a bit. It signals a group of short switchbacks through steep, rocky terrain. Instead of 16, it’s really double that because switchbacks have two parts, so think 32 leading to the top of the trail. It’s a constantly changing, naturally eroding, boulder-filled area, but Pikes Peak Marathon champ Matt Carpenter posts: “In general, the condition of Barr Trail is excellent thanks primarily to the Friends of the Peak and the Pikes Peak Trail Dogs.”