Whether you call it the Manitou Incline, Manitou Springs Incline, or simply “The Incline,” you might be wondering if you are up for the challenge. Though it can look intimidating many people of different fitness levels make their way to the top every day.
Manitou Incline History
The Manitou Incline was built as a funicular in 1907. (Funicular is just a fancy word for a railroad built on a steep incline.) The funicular was a way to service water tanks at the top of the mountain and it was in service up until 1990. Since the closure as a railway, there were plenty of disputes and legal battles in regard to what should be done with the abandoned tracks. It was not until 2013 that The Incline became an official hiking trail thanks to an act of Congress.
Read about it here: President Signs into Law Bill to Clear Up Manitou Incline Legal Status
Ready To Climb?
Now that you know a bit about why the Manitou Incline is there you can decide if you want to take on the challenge. The first thing you should know is that reservations are required. Reservations are free but during popular times they can fill up and be “sold out.”
The good news is that the Manitou Springs Incline is only .9 miles in length. But every review or trail listing we came across lists the difficulty level as “hard” or “extreme.” After all, it is 2,744 steps straight up a mountainside. Most people take about an hour or a little more to reach the summit.
You’ll start at an elevation of 6,530 ft and the summit is 8,550 ft with an average grade of 41%. With each step, the scenery just gets better and better so you have that to look forward to.
Also, know that there are a few bail-out points on the way up that allow you to take the Barr Trail down which is much more gradual and easier on the knees.
We should also mention they have a strict no pets policy on the incline.
You Can Do It! (probably)
We believe the Manitou Incline is a unique experience and worth the attempt if you are able. Keep in mind you can take as long as you need or turn around if you decide it is not for you. You will still get some amazing views of Colorado even if you do not go up very far.
Speaking of Colorado… Our weather, especially in and around the mountains, is very unpredictable. Bring layers and be prepared for any season of the year no matter what time you visit. Drink plenty of water, wear shoes, and make sure you’re ready for the thin air at 8,000+ feet.
More Manitou Incline Resources
AllTrails is a great resource because it will have up-to-date reviews from people who have hiked it recently.
Also if you want a more relaxing way up the mountain consider the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway.