Contributed by Laura Cromwell, Cabela’s
Colorado’s Manitou Incline in Manitou Springs is now open after being closed since August 18, 2014 for repairs. Located near Colorado Springs, the Manitou Incline is a popular draw amongst hikers and advanced trail runners seeking the intense experience of clearing over 2,000 feet of elevation in less than a mile—beginning at 6,530 feet and rising up to 8,550 feet.
The Manitou Incline itself is the remains of a narrow cable car system whose tracks were washed out during a rock slide in 1990. Closed from then on with the rails removed, locals would (illegally) climb the leftover stair-like ties to make their way to the top. Years later in February 2013, it officially became legal to hike.
If you’re not accustomed to higher elevations of this degree, it’s important to remember that altitude increases dehydration which in turn ruins a perfectly good hike. Before starting out, pick up a hydration pack that holds at least three liters (100 ounces) and drink one to one-and-a-half more liters of water than you do normally. Note that there is no place to refill your hydration pack along the trail, so fill it up completely beforehand.
About two-thirds from the summit, you can exit the Manitou Incline at the bailout to go down Barr Trail if you feel the elevation is too much and need to stop ascending. If you decide to continue, you will experience the steepest grade of the Manitou Incline which reaches 68 percent. A few hundred more feet gets you to the soul-crushing false summit, but just a few hundred more after that leads you to the incredible summit.
From there, enjoy the stunning view of Colorado Springs and the intense sense of pride and accomplishment that every hiker knows all too well.
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