Manitou Incline, Manitou Springs, Colorado

The Manitou Incline: the Holy Grail of Cardio Workouts

The Manitou Incline Trail in Manitou Springs, Colorado, is a renowned hiking trail famous for its steep incline and stunning views. Originally built as a cable car route for carrying materials up Pikes Peak, it was converted into a trail after the railway's closure in 1990.   The Manitou Incline Trail is located in Manitou Springs, just west of Colorado Springs, Colorado. It starts near the base of Pikes Peak and ascends sharply up the eastern slope of the mountain.

Reservations are Required to Hike the Manitou Incline: CLICK HERE to make your reservation.

Parking: Parking can be very challenging especially during the peak season (May-Sept). CLICK HERE for information about parking options.

Length and Difficulty: The trail is approximately one mile in length, but its steep grade makes it very challenging for even experienced hikers. With an elevation gain of over 2,000 feet, it is often considered one of the most difficult hikes in the area.

Stairs: The trail consists mainly of a series of wooden and stone steps, with a total of over 2,700 steps from start to finish. The steepness of the incline and the high altitude add to the difficulty of the climb.

Fitness Challenge: The Manitou Incline is a popular destination for fitness enthusiasts looking for a challenging workout. Many locals and visitors use it for cardio training, stair climbing workouts, and overall fitness goals.

Preparing Yourself for Hiking the Manitou Incline: Prior to attempting this hike it is important to prepare adequately so that your trip can be both safe and enjoyable.  Below are some tips that you should consider before venturing out on the trail.   

  1. Physical Conditioning: The Manitou Incline is extremely steep and strenuous, with an elevation gain of over 2,000 feet in less than a mile. You should be in good physical health and have strong cardiovascular endurance in order to attempt this hike.  Training for this hike should include a variety of cardiovascular activities and leg strength training exercises.  Incorporate activities such as stair climbing, hiking on steep terrain, and endurance exercises to build stamina.

  2. Hydration and Nutrition: Proper hydration (especially due to the altitude) and nutrition are essential for any hike, especially one as demanding as the Manitou Incline. Hydrate well the day before your hike and bring plenty of water with you on the trail. Pack high-energy snacks like nuts, trail mix, energy bars, and fruit to fuel your body during the ascent.

  3. Gear and Attire: Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the hike. Dress in layers to accommodate changing weather conditions and wear moisture-wicking clothing to stay dry and comfortable. Choose sturdy, supportive hiking shoes with good traction to navigate the uneven terrain and steep steps safely.

  4. Sun Protection: Protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays by wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat. Consider bringing a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt for added protection against sunburn and wear sunscreen with a high SPF rating.

  5. Weather Awareness: Check the weather forecast before embarking on your hike and be prepared for changing conditions. Colorado weather can be unpredictable, so bring along rain gear, a waterproof jacket, and extra layers in case of cold temperatures or inclement weather.

  6. Safety Essentials: Carry a fully charged cell phone with you in case of emergencies, but be aware that reception may be limited on the trail. Bring a basic first aid kit with essentials like bandages, blister pads, pain relievers, and any personal medications you may need.

  7. Trail Etiquette and Regulations: Familiarize yourself with trail etiquette and regulations before starting your hike. Follow posted signs and stay on designated trails to minimize environmental impact. Dogs are not allowed on the Manitou Incline, so leave your furry friends at home.

  8. Start Early: Begin your hike early in the day to avoid crowds and to allow plenty of time to complete the trail at a comfortable pace. Starting early also helps avoid the heat of the day, especially in the summer months.

By following these preparation tips you can help to ensure a safe and rewarding experience while hiking the challenging Manitou Incline Trail in Manitou Springs.

Overall, the Manitou Incline Trail offers a unique and challenging hiking experience with unparalleled views of the Colorado landscape. Whether you're seeking a fitness challenge or simply want to enjoy the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, this iconic trail is not to be missed.


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