History of the Manitou Incline
Learn how this funicular railway transformed into one of the most popular workout locations in Colorado Springs.
Manitou Incline Construction
Construction of the Manitou Incline, a mountainside railway operated by a cable with ascending and descending cars, began in 1907. The Incline was built to help with the construction of a hydroelectric plant and waterline and was used to haul materials to the top of the mountain.
The Incline Becomes an Attraction
After construction finished the railway was purchased by Dr. Newton M. Brumback who converted it to a 16 minute tourist ride to Mount Manitou Park. The Incline’s original summit house was built from leftover construction materials. Seven years after its creation the summit house burnt down. That same year, in 1914, a new summit house was built to be more comfortable and a safe place to shelter visitors from the elements.
Spencer Penrose, a Colorado Springs entrepreneur, known for building The Broadmoor and constructing Pikes Peak Highway, purchased the Manitou Incline in 1923. He upgraded the operation adding new cars with nicer benches and retractable roofs. Then, in 1958, the summit house was rebuilt again and remained until the Incline closed, then it was dismantled.
The Incline operated under Pikes Peak Cog Railway until a rockslide washed out the rail bed. Due to its location and grade, it incurred high maintenance costs and ceased to operate in 1990. At this time rails were removed creating a natural staircase of railroad ties.
A portion of the trail was on private property until early 2013. In February 2013 the land became public and, in turn, hiking the Manitou Incline became legal. In 2014 the Incline was temporarily closed for extensive repairs to sections of the trail. It has since become a very popular workout spot.
On March 17, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Manitou Springs City Council closed the incline for public health and safety. The incline re-opened on August 4, 2020 with a new protocol where visitors need to register prior to their arrival at Manitou Incline to help manage the number of daily visitors. This system is still in place, to make a reservation check here.
Today the Manitou Incline sees an estimated 70,000 visitors a year ranging from 7-70 years of age. Experienced hikers enjoy the challenging incline and have made the site home to several world records. Those planning to visit are strongly encouraged to come prepared. To ensure you’re ready for the challenge check out our expert hiking tips for Manitou Incline.
Tourist Cable Car Track Turned Heart-Pounding Workout!Learn More
The Manitou Incline is home to numerous records, challenges, and is the site for World Records.Learn More
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