Rebuilding the Manitou Incline
What Timberline did
The City of Colorado Springs Park and Recreation Division decided the popular Manitou Incline Trail at the base of Pikes Peak needed to be rebuilt due to safety and erosion issues. With every rain, parts of the trail slowly washed away. Timberline took on this project in three phases.
Phase 1 focused on the area of the trail with the most unsafe conditions and erosion, while Phase 2 added additional erosion control measures like storm water chases and boulder retaining walls. Phase 3 focused on the top portion of the trail (the False Summit). Damaged ties were replaced and a cable system was installed along all ties to prevent future movement, and retaining walls, rock dams, and water chases will aid in prevention of erosion. A helicopter also aided in the transport of materials.
Topsoil, netting, and seeding was placed along the sides of the trail to help with erosion mitigation. Minimal materials were kept on the trail to allow lesser impact and ensured protection of historical artefacts. 39 retaining walls were constructed and many erosion control measures were put in place. Locals worried that the new trail would be too easy to hike, but after the rebuild some have said its more difficult to climb.
What is the manitou incline?
The Incline is built on a 41% average grade with a steepest grade of 68%. The trail is nearly 1 mile long, however, it climbs fast in elevation with nearly a 2,000 foot elevation gain. The Manitou Incline Elevation sits at nearly 8,600 feet. This makes it an intense hike which is why it is often used by Olympic Athletes and Military personnel for training. The trail is open from 6 am to 6 pm. Pets are not allowed. The trail has 2,744 steps. The Incline is compared to hiking The Empire State Building, The Eiffel Tower (Twice), or The Washington Monument three times.
Where is The Incline?
The trail is located in Manitou Springs. The trail is currently free to hike, however, be prepared to pay for parking. Some areas only take cash while others only take cards. Free parking is located at 10 Old Man’s Trail and offers a free shuttle to the trailhead. There is a restroom located at the base of the Barr Trail near The Incline base. Please note that dogs are not allowed on the trail. Find the trail here.
The history Behind the Incline
The incline was originally constructed in 1907 for the purpose of hauling pipes and other materials to the summit for the construction of a hydroelectric power plant to the cities of Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs. After the construction finished, the railway opened as a tourist attraction for hikers.
what to know before you go
- Get enough sleep the night before.
- Make sure to get plenty of sleep the night before so your body is well-rested and ready.
- Get to the trail early.
- The trail is open from 6 am to 6 pm, so if you want to avoid the crowds during the busy season, it is best to get there early. This will also allow you to hike the trail while it is still cooler in the morning.
- Stay hydrated.
- Drink plenty of fluids the night before and pack extra water. Also, consider electrolyte drinks.
- Bring snacks.
- Pack high energy foods such as protein bars.
- Wear the proper clothing.
- Consider bringing a light jacket or windbreaker in case the weather changes. Wear comfortable shoes that have good traction. Also, wear sunscreen if needed.
- Take your time!
- The average person takes about an hour to climb the trail. If you are not used to the elevation changes it may take longer. It is important to go slow and rest.
- Getting back down.
- After you reach the top, take the Barr Trail down (roughly 4 miles).