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 finally became legal on February 1st, 2013. The Incline underwent major repairs at the end of 2014 .
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. The views from the top and along the Incline are outstanding and well worth the effort. Most people chose to come down on Barr trail which is longer but also easier on your knees. There are number of other trails that you can continue on from the top as well.
Distance: 0.8 miles to the top of the Incline. 3.4 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. The trailhead is located at the top of the Ruxton Avenue. Parking fees along Ruxton are pretty steep at $5 per hour. The Barr Trail parking lot is $10 per day but fills quickly. Parking in these areas is limited to 7am-8pm. The other option is to park in town and hike up the Ruxton Avenue.
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