*Please Note* The Manitou Incline has reopened after extensive renovations and upgrades to the trail.
The Manitou Incline was originally built as a cable car to carry materials to build pipelines on Pikes Peak - America's Mountain. After the pipelines were finished, it was turned into a tourist attraction to bring guests to the top of the foothills for a spectacular view of Colorado Springs and the eastern plains. A rock slide damaged a section of track in 1990, so the Manitou Springs Incline was closed down. The rails were removed, but the railroad ties remained in the form of a massive staircase. Locals started using it for a challenging workout. Until February 2013, a portion of it was private property and it was illegal to hike up the ties of the old cable car line. Now, due to cooperations among private and public entities, it is legal to climb the Incline. It is known as one of, if not the most, popular and challenging, hikes in the Colorado Springs area.
Length: 1 mile
Altitude Gain: 2,000 feet
Duration: Under 30 minutes to over an hour or more depending on your fitness level and pace.
Trail Difficulty: Difficult
Recommended for: Physically active, not ADA accessible
Parking: Parking is limited in the Incline Parking lot and along Ruxton. Parking options include the reservation only lot, or take advantage of the parking in the lot by the Tahine Restaurant in Manitou Springs where you can then take the free shuttle the the Incline trailhead.
Dogs: No dogs are allowed on the Incline. This trail is not safe for even the most athletic dogs. The extreme exertion required is too hard on their little hearts, lungs and paws!
Hours of use: Dawn-Dusk, no night use permitted;
Please be advised. It can take first responders up to 3-4 hours to get to you if you have a medical issue.
This is considered an extreme trail and is an advanced hike! The Manitou Incline gains almost 2,000 feet of elevation over less than 1 mile. It's not for the faint of heart, but people from all walks (or climbs) of life have given it a go. It is, perhaps, the most unique and challenging trail in the country, attracting runners, Olympic athletes and cyclists from around the world. The trail is also used by military personnel and even soccer moms. More than anything, the Manitou Incline is famous for dishing out a tough workout. "I can’t think of any particular workout, route, or activity that forces you to push your boundaries quite like the Incline does," said Cameron Chambers, national mountain bike champion. "Redlined - that is the only word I can think of when describing the workout the Incline gives you."
For a successful experience, consult your physician, bring plenty of water and energy snacks and be sure you've adjusted to the high altitude of Colorado Springs (6,035 ft) before you attempt this trail. Pace yourself and rest when you need to.
About three-quarters of the way up, the Manitou Incline intersects with Barr Trail and you can take that way back down if you like. Don't be fooled by the false summit. After you crest it, there are still about 300 steps to go. Once you've made it to the top - or rather if you make it to the top - you can hike down the bottom four miles of the Barr Trail. Downhill use of the Incline is strongly discouraged.
It's a true Colorado workout that is enjoyed by many. Give it a try, if you are inclined!
Track your time and rank against other Manitou Incline users and win rewards for completing this tough workout with the Incline App.
For more detailed information and updates, visit the Incline Friends website.