“8,000ft of vertical drop in 12.6 miles.”
— Matt Thoele
Note: this trail is used extensively by hikers who don't appreciate mountain bikers screaming downhill. Please be extremely courteous if you use this trail, or consider picking one of the other great trails in this area during busy times.
You can ride up this in theory, but it's extremely hard and you'll be hiking lots of it, including all of the last very steep 3 miles, which include a lot of steps at 14,000'. So start by convincing someone to shuttle you to the top of Pikes Peak!
Starting from the top, you'll encounter 32 boulder-filled switchbacks (called "The Golden Stairs") that mostly have to be hike-a-biked, and even that isn't easy.
The next few miles and couple thousand feet are more rideable, but still difficult and dangerous due to all the rocks and pea gravel in the trail. You'll pass a shelter around tree line in case the weather has gone to hell, which is entirely possible at any time at this altitude. You next reach Barr Camp, which means you're about halfway down. The trail is more rideable in this area, and much flatter for a couple miles (though still downhill). The last few miles are rocky and steep, but rideable.
There can be heavy hiker traffic, especially on weekends and during the weeks leading up to the Pike's Peak marathon, so please be courteous! It's best done during the week after the marathon is done.