Manitou Incline

Colorado

Manitou Incline Facts

States: Colorado
Counties: El Paso
Length: 1 miles
Trail end points: Ruxton Ave. and Barr Trail
Trail surfaces: Boardwalk, Dirt
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 8147455
Trail activities: Walking

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Manitou Incline Description

The Manitou Incline is a very unusual rail-trail. Built along a former cable car line, the trail goes straight up the side of a mountain, climbing about 2,000 feet over its one-mile length! It was originally built to carry materials for the construction of a hydroelectric plant and water pipeline, but was later turned into a tourist attraction.

The rail-trail begins in Manitou Springs, a community just west of Colorado Springs, and is comprised of a series of wooden steps—former railroad ties—that rise to an average grade of 40 percent. The trail is an intense workout and not for everyone, but those that make the journey are rewarded with spectacular views. An easier descent can be made by connecting to the Barr Trail, which zig-zags down the slope. Note that the trail is recommended for hikers only and pets are not permitted.

Railroad buffs will want to check out the nearby Pikes Peak Cog Railway that has been chugging visitors up to the summit of famed Pikes Peak since 1891. The peak rises more than 14,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains.

Parking and Trail Access

Take US 24 through Manitou Springs and follow signs for the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Don’t park at the railway’s depot, but instead continue past and take a right on Hydro Street. There is a trailhead and paid parking lot at the end of the street.

Manitou Incline Reviews

First of all, being from Houston where it is flat and only about 60' above sea level, I was sucking wind getting to the gate, granting passage up to the Incline!

I began my ascent and found the trail very well groomed and friendly for recreational walkers all the way up to serious fitness enthusiasts. I decided to turn around and go back down at the first non-step break in the trail as I was just in town visiting, on business.

I decided that I would wait for my daughters or my sister to join me, making the climb all the way up to the top, but you are certain to get your day's worth of exercise out of the effort and the subsequent 3.6 mile descent down Barr Trail.

Parking is limited and it costs $5 cash to park at The Cog railway; best bet it is to catch the free shuttle in Manitou Springs Park (which runs every 20 minutes and is limited on stops).

I look forward to returning and finishing the hike to the top.

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