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Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
Loop
Distance
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
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Whether you are looking for a weekend workout or training for a bigger climb, the Manitou Incline is a real butt buster. Ascending over 2,090 feet of elevation in 0.88 mile—even the fittest of climbers will feel the burn on this climb.

The Incline was originally built in 1907 as a cliff railway to access water tanks at the top of the mountain that would provide gravity-fed water pressure to the cities of Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs. According to Wikipedia, "The 1914 structure remained until replaced by an updated summit house in 1958, which remained until it was dismantled after the Incline's closure. The Incline operated under the Pikes Peak Cog Railway until a rock slide in 1990 washed out the rail bed and the Cog Railway decided to not repair the tracks."

Now the narrow gauge tracks offer adventurers a serious incline work out. Just imagine doing the stair stepper on full incline for an hour straight, but add in the altitude adjustment of 6,500 to 8,590 feet. It's not an easy climb, but it's well worth the effort.

From the base of the incline, the wood tracks decide your stride. Step by step, the trail ascends through light forest in an unrelenting fashion. Join the crowd in its challenges and triumphs, since you will be sweating it out alongside other participants. Support your fellow climbers through this challenge, as you will find that you often are in stride with strangers along the trail given your pace.

You can exit at the Barr trail about two-thirds of the way up, near the false summit. This is also known as the "bailout" or "wimpout" point. For those fully committed or not yet exhausted, continue stair stepping higher to the summit.

Once at the top, hike down via the Barr Trail. This easier path travels 4 miles back down to the base, which offers views of Pikes Peak and the surrounding Colorado Springs plateau below. It’s about a four-hour loop in total, and well worth the incline.

Paid parking options vary, including the parking lot at the trailhead. Parking is available by reservation only for $5.00 at Parking.com. Free public parking is available in a lot located behind the Tajine Alami Moroccan restaurant located at 10 Old Man’s Trail. A free shuttle takes hikers to the Incline and operates year round.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Excellent workout. Great views. Close to Colorado Springs.

Cons

Crowds.

Trailhead Elevation

6,500.00 ft (1,981.20 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,090.00 ft (637.03 m)

Features

Historically significant
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

No

Location

Field Guide

Comments

Thanks for the heads up, Harper. Looks like free public parking is also available in town.
02/21/2019
The overview states parking pass not required. You will need a pass to park at the trail head, but you can park in town at Memorial Park for free and take the free shuttle. Or, since you are exercising walk the mile through downtown Manitou and up Ruxton to the trail head.
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Visit Colorado Springs

Unplug and reconnect in the endless beauty of Colorado Springs. Soak up spacious blue skies as you hike refreshing waterfalls, national forests and natural landmarks. From sweeping vistas to rare rock formations, the region is full of reinvigorating experiences.

Trade in screen time for mountain time to discover unforgettable adventures. Ditch your to-do list for your bucket list. Play alongside towering sandstone formations in Garden of the Gods Park. Navigate the twists and turns up Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain and the roaring white waters of the Arkansas River.

With more than 60 inspired things to see and do, the only lines you’ll find here are the ones you cast in a sparkling reservoir. Where the nightlife involves stargazing in the wilderness and turning up means making it to the top of the Manitou Springs Incline.

Escape to the cool Rocky Mountains of Colorado Springs, explorers are always welcome.

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