Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter
Time To Complete
Probably the most revered (and feared) trail in the Pikes Peak region, the Incline is also one of the most popular. Gaining 2,000 feet in 3/4ths of a mile, it follows the old rail bed of the Incline Railroad, a popular tourist attraction until it was closed by a rock slide in 1990. The average grade is 40 percent, with a bailout point placed at 0.6 miles (the trail’s steepest section).
What Makes It Great
The Incline is popular for its breath-zapping workout. There is a reason local mountaineers test themselves on the Incline before they attempt Mount Everest. There’s a reason Olympic athletes come here to supplement their training back on state-of-the-art equipment. There’s a reason you have to fight with crowds on weekends. That reason: this is probably the best outdoor workout in the Rocky Mountains. It’s close to town and easy to reach (in the summer, there’s a shuttle bus that will drop you there). It’s free. And it is addicting.
There’s two-way traffic on the Incline, so runners are asked to head uphill on the railroad ties, then cut over to Barr Trail for the return trip. For more than two decades, the Incline was closed to foot traffic, but that has never kept people away. Finally, in February, 2013, it was officially opened after action by local, state and national government officials. A massive construction project aided by helicopters and a crew of hardy landscapers was finished in December, 2014. The new, improved Incline has more safety features (dangerous rebar has been removed and rock has been stabilized), but retains all of its original appeal.
Who is Going to Love It
There’s only one common denominator for the people you’ll meet here – they are all drawn by the challenge. The steepest point is a dizzying 68 percent (and it’s a false summit). The beauty of the Incline is that it is accessible to anyone with the will to reach the top (or at least the bailout point).
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The Incline trailhead is just off Ruxton Avenue in Manitou Springs. To get there from Colorado Springs, head west on Colorado Avenue, which turns into Manitou Avenue. Turn left at the roundabout in downtown Manitou and take Ruxton Avenue towards the Cog depot.
About 200 yards past the depot, turn right on Hydro Street and climb to the Barr trailhead parking area. Cost is $5 per 24 hours. This lot is often full; another option is a free shuttle run by the city from May to September – find it on El Paso Blvd., off Manitou Ave.
Don’t park in the railway parking lot – it’s only for customers, and they are serious about towing your car. Incline hours are dawn to dusk.
Written by Deb Acord for RootsRated and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.