Manitou Springs Incline is one of the most unique and most popular trails in the area. Originally this was a cable car that took tourists up the side of Rocky Mountain until it was closed in 1990. Since then the rails have been removed but the wooden ties remained to prevent erosion of the hill creating a steep trail that appears from the bottom as an endless stairway to heaven. For many years it was illegal to climb the Incline even though thousands of people continued to do so. After a lengthy legal process hiking the Incline became legal on February 1st, 2013. The Incline underwent major repairs at the end of 2014 and 2016.
The Incline starts at the Cog Railway parking lot off the Ruxton avenue. Hiking up is pretty straightforward since the Incline is a perfectly straight line up the hill at an average grade of 40%. Located at about 0.6 miles is the so-called Bailout Point. Here the Barr trail is passing by the Incline and you can take it down if you don't feel like you can make it to the top. This section is also the steepest and most technical part of the Incline. If you look up the end seems near but this is only the false summit. Fortunately once you get over the hump you will see the finish is not too far ahead.
From the top a connecting trail takes you down to Barr trail. Hike the Barr Trail for about 2.2 miles back down to the trailhead parking lot
Distance: 0.8 miles to the top of the Incline. 3.7 miles round trip with Barr Trail.
Difficulty: While short in distance this is not an easy walk up. If this is your first time take your time and bring plenty of water.
Directions: Exit westound US-24 to Manitou Avenue and drive to downtown Manitou Springs. Barr trailhead is located at the top of the Ruxton Avenue. A reservation is required and the fee is $20 per day. Parking fees along Ruxton Avenue are also extremely high at $10 per hour with substantial fines. Your best bet is parking at the free lot at El Paso Blvd and Old Mans Trail and take the free shuttle which will drop you off just a short walk below the trailhead. See Colorado Springs Metro page for more information for routes 33 and 36.
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