Whew. I'm writing this four hours after my first trip up the Manitou Incline hiking trail, and I'm still tired. This is one serious workout.
One mile up. 2800 railroad ties. 2000 feet of vertical. And a four mile hike back down the Barr trail.
Just past the Cog parking lot is a sign for the Barr Trail Parking lot, where both the Barr Trail and the Manitou Incline begin.
We waited about ten minutes on a Sunday in late autumn, and soon enough some hikers came down and gave up a spot.
But the summers are much busier. The photo below is on a nice quiet fall day, looking up the trail's beams with relatively low traffic.
You can see the Manitou Incline from quite a distance--it's very clear from Hwy 24 between Manitou and Colorado Springs. It looks like a scar cut through the trees, which is exactly what it is.
What you're seeing is actually the old railbed from the Mount Manitou Scenic Incline railway.
There was even a warning sign prominently displayed along the beginning of the trail that alerted you to its private property status and the hazardous conditions that exist ahead.
Still, there seemed to be an unspoken exception, as the trail was always full of people trudging or dashing up those wooden beams. (Behind the scenes, though, several entities were trying to come to an agreement about whether or not those hikers should be there).
And as of 2013, the trail is now officially open to the public! This of course makes it even more popular than ever. But for those who might be skittish about breaking laws, fear not, it is perfectly legal to climb the Incline!
The climb is difficult, but the views are stunning. And while most of the time you're looking at dirt and beams and gravel and drainage pipes, when you stop for oxygen and look around, it's worth it. You're above 7,000 feet, and your neighbors are pine trees and giant boulders.
There's a false summit, so if you're new to the trail, don't celebrate too early. About half-way up, there is a place where you can sneak over on the Barr Trail back down if it's too intense for you.
DON'T FORGET TO BRING WATER! You will need it. See our HIKING TIPS for more.
Also, for comfort's sake, it's best to wear some kind of wicking shirt or apparel to keep you dry. Regardless of the season, you will sweat on this trail, and you'll want the right clothes for this hike.A lot of people train on this trail, chugging up to the top in 40 minutes and racing back down in another 20.
So be mindful of your speed (or lack thereof) and the pace of others behind you.
Also, keep your eyes open for those daring folks who jog back down the stairs instead of taking the leisurely 4-mile hike back down the Barr Trail.
I'd give yourself a good hour or longer to make it to the top if you're new to the incline.
Remember to stop and take in the views. Be safe, and have a great time at the Manitou Incline.
Have you climbed the Manitou Incline?
Share your story! How long did it take? How was the weather? Did you go with friends and family? How was the view from the top?
What Other Visitors Have Said
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
First Time Up the Incline!
I Think I Can, I Think I Can
What could be so hard about a bunch of stairs???
Manitou Incline - Hiker POV
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