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.