The Manitou Incline is a +2,700-step staircase in Manitou Springs, which is near Colorado’s Pikes Peak. This insane incline rises 2,000 vertical feet in just under one mile. That’s steep, folks.
The Manitou Incline began life as a cable car track used to ferry pipeline materials up to Pikes Peak. Once the pipelines were built, it morphed into a cable car ride for tourists. But after a rock slide damaged the track in 1990, those in charge dismantled the ride. Everything, that is, but the wooden railroad ties to which the steel cable car tracks had been attached.
Well, the sight of a staircase going up the side of a mountain began luring people who wanted to test their mettle against the mountain. Soon people were climbing it for fitness and fun. First it was locals, but then people began coming from afar.
Manitou Incline Becomes Famous
Today, more than 300,000 people head up the Manitou Incline annually. Kevin Bacon is one; undoubtedly, many other celebrities have hiked it as well. And people are always trying to set speed records or other distinctions, such as Greg Cummings, who broke the record for the most climbs in a calendar year when he hit no. 1,720 on Dec. 21, 2019. That’s an average of five daily ascents, and Cummings has a few more weeks to pad his record.
You can read about my adventure hiking the Manitou Incline in the story above. If you’re interested in doing it, here are some tips.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat and bring water.
- It’s best to acclimate yourself to the elevation beforehand.
- Plan to spend 30 to 60 minutes hiking up, after which you’ll have to hike four miles back down on the (easier) Barr Trail.
- There’s no charge to hike the Incline, but there’s a parking fee. However, you can park off-site for free, then hop on a free shuttle to the trailhead.
- Beware of the false summit about three-quarters of the way up.
- But there’s a bailout point shortly before that if you’re tired.
- A shop near the start sells t-shirts and other souvenirs.
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