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

Nearby Adventures

Hike Barr Trail to Pikes Peak Summit

12 Miles Round Trip - 7400 ft gain

Hike Palmer Trail Loop at Section 16

5.5 Miles Round Trip - 1400 ft gain

Hike the Upper Loop Trail

0.75 Miles Round Trip - 72 ft gain

More Nearby Adventures

Tours

More Tours

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Colorado trip

This was rad looking place. I literally stood at the bottom of this climb and said "nope I'm not doing it". After a long few days of visiting Colorado and hiking almost 5+ miles a day i don't think my body could physically handle these steps and incline.

The Best Training In Manitou Springs

This trail is the pinnacle of your workout. I could never run up this, but even hiking up gives you a killer workout. Beware the false summit!!

One Mile Of Stairs

It's literally a mile of stairs that goes straight up. A lot of fun, and a great physical challenge! I'm moderately fit, and was able to make it to the top in a little under an hour. We took some breaks along the way. Also, beware that the incline is very popular; it's almost always full of people (unless you come very early).

Summer, a season not to be missed in Aspen!

"I came for the winter, and stayed for the summer," is a phrase you'll often hear around town.  The weather is one of the highlights. During the day the temperature hovers in the 70's and 80's, and by evening the mercury will drop into the 60's. Arts & culture enthusiasts will be just as fulfilled as the adventure junkie during summer in Aspen.  The events calendar abounds with activities for everyone, from cultural events to athletic pursuits.

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.

Advertisement