Run the Famous Manitou Incline

3.7 miles 2000 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Brian Lewis

Tackle one of the great fitness challenges in the Rocky Mountain Region. Climbing this old cog railroad bed, gaining over 2,000 feet in less than a mile, will lead you to an 8,950 foot summit. You can use the Incline app to go for a speed record against local Olympic athletes, military members and fitness freaks.

If you're ready for a fitness challenge like no other, look no further than the Manitou Incline. The trail climbs the remnants of an old cog railway bed, gaining 2000 feet of elevation in less than a mile. Busy all year round, the popular trail is used by everyone from Army Rangers and Olympic hopefuls to local families and vacationing flatlanders looking for a Rocky Mountain workout.

From the parking lot, the trail climbs gradually on wooden railroad ties. It's virtually impossible to get lost...up is the only way to go! After about a third of a mile the grade steepens significantly until the gnarliest sections, which are between the halfway point and around the two-thirds mark. This section is very steep, with grades of almost 70% and some areas where users might feel more comfortable on all fours.

Around two-thirds of the way up there is a convenient "bailout" point where the Incline intersects with the Barr Trail and those not up to the task of summitting can easily shorten their ascent and return to the parking lot on a much more gradual trail.

Beware the dreaded false summit up ahead and know there are still a few hundred feet of climbing beyond it. But, those who persevere will top out at just under 9,000 feet, greeted with a birds-eye view of Manitou Springs and sweeping vistas of Colorado Springs and the plains to the east.

Rather than stumbling down the Incline, continue on to the newly-built Barr Trail connector for a longer, but easier-on-the-knees descent on the famous Barr Trail back to the trailhead. Just keep an ear out for for the "on your left" of trail runners who use this popular route as a hill workout. Returning via Barr makes a nice four-mile loop back to the car.

Parking Tips

Parking can be a challenge (read: impossible on weekends) in the tiny lot near the trailhead or along narrow Ruxton Avenue. Pay close attention to parking lot signs and meters - you will get a ticket (or worse) if you ignore them. Many locals park in downtown Manitou and extend their workout by jogging up Ruxton to the trailhead. Or better yet, use the free shuttle that runs from downtown to the trailhead every 20 minutes from 10:00am to 8:00pm during the summer months.

Read More

Tags

Fitness
Running
Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥇Top Contributor

22 days ago

Tough, Crowded

This can be a great workout if done on the off season, early morning or evening. I use this as a workout before alpine season, but during the summer it gets very hot and very crowded. Going down the Barr trail can be a savior on the knees but please yield to those going uphill - especially those with overnight packs.

Awesome and hard workout

I did this trail twice. It’s an very nice, hard en rewarding workout. Please don’t go back down the manitou incline. This is dangerous, annoying for the people coming up and very hard on you knees. Use the bare trail instead (much easier and also an nice trail)

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

over 1 year ago

Challenging Hike

A challenging hike especially since I opted to go back down the incline which was hard on the knees! Be prepared for a challenge and bring lots of water!

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

over 2 years ago

Incredible

The Manitou Incline is an intense challenge, but upon finishing I felt looked worse than it is. That doesn't mean it is easy. Wouldn't recommend it for people just looking to get into shape. However, it's a good feeling of accomplishment the first time completing the massive staircase. The connector trail back down is gorgeous with views of Pike's Peak and other beautiful terrain. Great place to spend an afternoon. Don't forget to stop in Manitou Springs for a beer and a meal afterward!

Pure Will Power

This was by far the hardest incline I've ever seen. We came from Dallas, TX and tackled it the day after we arrived without acclimating. The climb took me 2 hours with a 50lb pack, but boy it was worth it. Great warm up for the rest of the climbs on the trip. The trails down are absolutely stunning and worth the climb all the way up. I do want to return soon.

Stay Nearby

Cripple Creek, Colorado

Cripple Creek Koa

Fountain, Colorado

Colorado Springs Koa

Cripple Creek, Colorado

Secluded Cabin W/ Game Room & Huge Wraparound Deck

Enjoy spectacular views of nearby Pikes Peak and the Sangre de Cristo 14,000 peaks from this secluded 3BR/2BA hideaway.Thoughtfully appointed throughout, your inviting knotty pine log cabin combine...

From $180/night

Woodland Park, Colorado

Pike Community

Overview Pike Community is a group campground located about 6 miles north of Woodland Park in central Colorado. It is a popular choice for of all ages, complete with a baseball field, playground, s...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike Barr Trail to Pikes Peak Summit

    Barr Trail is a 12 mile hike that travels the east face of Pikes Peak, from Manitou Springs (6700’) at the base, to the summit (14,115’). Because there are so many factors that can influence anyone’s experience of the trail (weather, fitness level...

    12 miles 7400 ft gain

  • Hike Red Mountain

    The hike can be started from where the Intemann trail meets Ruxton Ave close to Iron Spring. For parking, you can park at one of the few pay-for parking along the street or park in town and take the bus up to the incline. The hike starts up what s...

    2 miles 750 ft gain

  • Drink From Manitou Springs' Mineral Springs

    Manitou Springs is home to eight mineral springs all fairly close to the main shopping strip of Manitou. The springs were originally utilized by the Native Americans. In the 19th century, they were utilized by visitors from all over the world due ...

  • Walk to Rainbow Falls

    This waterfall was designated a historic site in 2016 due to its rich history dating back to the Native Americans and more recently the locals of Manitou Springs.  The bridge itself that crosses over the falls was created in the early 20th century...

    0.5 miles

  • Inspire Your Fall Aspen Trip!

    Autumn days in Aspen are filled with sunshine and nights with crisp cool air. Watch the mountains and valleys turn gold with the changing Aspen trees. Take in the scenery while enjoying scenic drives, hiking through forests, road biking, and exploring our IMBA Gold Level Ride Center recognized mountain bike trails. 




    Learn More