Run the Famous Manitou Incline

3.7 Miles Round Trip - 2000 ft gain - Loop Trail

The Incline - Search Nearby - 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.

Tags

Fitness
Running
Bathrooms
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
Scenic

Details

3.7 Miles
2000 ft elevation gain
Loop Trail

Stay Nearby

Cripple Creek, Colorado

Cripple Creek KOA

Fountain, Colorado

Colorado Springs KOA

Cañon City, Colorado

Royal Gorge / Canon City KOA

Pueblo, Colorado

Pueblo KOA

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Reviews

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Overall rating: 

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.

Bucket List - Check

Finally completed this bucket list item. Even as a in shape adventurer I struggled breathing while making my way to the top. The altitude did impact my pace and I'd caution all who are visiting from lower altitude states to be aware of how your body is feeling. Others then that it was amazing! Worth every breathe.

Tough but worth it

If you're looking for a really challenging hike, that has great views, this is it. Once at the top you can see everything in the surrounding Manitou/Colorado springs area. A definite bucket list item.

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Experiencing all Aspen has to offer is as easy as opening the front door. Join us for a summer adventure that’s anything but ordinary.

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