The Manitou Incline has reopened with new regulations & restrictions. Incline users must make a free online reservation before hiking. Learn details here.
So you think you can climb the Manitou Incline?
This is considered an extreme trail and is an advanced hike! The Manitou Incline gains nearly 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 successfully conquered it. It is, perhaps, the most unique and challenging trail in the country, attracting runners, military, Olympic athletes, and hiking enthusiasts from around the world. More than anything, the Manitou Incline is famous for dishing out a tough workout.
Facts About The Manitou Incline
How many miles is the Manitou Incline?
The Incline is just under one mile in length.
How difficult is the trail?
The trail is rated as difficult and recommended for physically active people and advanced hikers only. The Manitou Incline is not ADA accessible. Please be advised that it can take first responders up to 3-4 hours to reach you if you should have a medical issue on the trail.
How many steps are there on Manitou Incline?
Oh, just 2,768 steps - but who’s counting?
How steep is the Incline?
The Manitou Incline gains 2,000 feet in elevation from start to finish. The average grade for the trail is 45 percent and, in some places, it is as steep as 68 percent.
How long does it take to summit the Manitou Incline?
Depending on your fitness level and pass it may take under 30 minutes to over an hour or more.
What is the history of the Manitou Incline?
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 cooperation 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.
Is it free to hike the Manitou Incline?
Yes, the incline is FREE and open to the public. However, be sure and bring your wallet because you will likely have to pay for parking.
Where can I park?
Please use the Manitou Springs FREE shuttle to avoid congestion on Ruxton Avenue. The shuttle and parking can be found at 10 Old Man's Trail at the Hiawatha Gardens building. The parking at Hiawatha Gardens costs $1/hour. Parking is limited in the Barr Trail lot and along Ruxton Road. Other parking options include the reservation only lot or the parking lot by the Tahine Restaurant in Manitou Springs, where you can then take the free shuttle right to the Incline trailhead.
How do you get back down?
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.
Is there a "bailout" point?
Hikers who want a shorter loop or may have underestimated the difficulty of hiking the Incline can now hop off on the new Northern Incline Return Trail. This new trail will also be helpful for first responders in emergency situations and is the start of providing needed relief to the historic and heavily-trafficked Barr Trail. The Northern Incline Return Trail offers two new return options for hikers, both located in the bottom half of the Incline.
The first return is located at railroad tie #395 and the second is at #1300, the Inclines approximate midway point. From the new midway connection at tie #1300, located 500 stairs below the existing cut through to Barr Trail, hikers follow a new 1-mile, naturally-surfaced section to the existing Ute Pass Regional Trail. Once hikers reach Ute Pass, it’s roughly an additional half mile to the base of the Incline. From tie #395, there is 0.15 mile of new trail before connecting with Ute Pass for an additional 0.2-mile hike down to the trailhead.
What is the false summit?
Don't be fooled by the false summit about three-quarters of the way up. At this point, the Manitou Incline intersects with Barr Trail and if you can't make it to the top, then you can take that way back down if you'd like. After you crest the false summit, there are approximately 300 steps to go before you reach the top.
Are dogs allowed?
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!
What is the record time for hiking the Manitou Incline?
Record holders include Joseph Gray, who summited at 17:45 and Allie McLaughlin who finished at 20:07. Get the Incline App and track your time and rank against other Manitou Incline users and win rewards for completing this tough workout.
What are the hours of operation for the Manitou Incline?
The trail is open from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. with no night use permitted.
What should I pack or bring when hiking the Manitou Incline?
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.
For more detailed information, maintenance details, volunteer opportunities and updates, visit the Incline Friends website.
INCLINE REOPENING REGULATIONS & RESTRICTIONS
As part of a memorandum of understanding between the cities of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, all Incline users must make a free online reservation before hiking and show proof of their reservation to an onsite attendant. The reservation and check-in system will be managed and staffed by the Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department.
How the process will work:
- After making an online reservation at www.coloradosprings.gov/incline, users will receive a welcome email with directions for parking, rules and regulations.
- Free parking is available at Hiawatha Gardens or users can pay to park at the Iron Springs Chateau.
- Those parking in the Hiawatha lot should plan for a 1.3–mile walk to the base of the Incline or utilize the Ruxton Avenue shuttle service.
- Plan ahead accordingly and arrive as close to your reserved time as possible.
- Upon checking in at the base of the Incline, hikers will be issued a wristband by an Incline attendant that must be worn at all times on the property.
- Reservations are available between 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Reservations are available for 35 people every 30 minutes.
- After that, the capacity will be increased to 45 people every 30 minutes.
- All users are asked to also follow current local recommendations for COVID-19, which will be readily available on the Incline website.
Keep in mind – in Manitou Springs, the use of a face covering, both indoors and outdoors, is required when a distance of 6-feet cannot be maintained.