Things to Know About Hiking Colorado’s Awesome Manitou Incline
You've heard of the Manitou Incline; maybe you know of a friend who knows somebody who has done it. I have done it, and I'm here to tell you seven things you'll want to know.
I'm not a big 'hiker' kind of guy. I like easy to moderate hikes around the Fort Collins area; Coyote Ridge for example, or the Cathy Fromme Natural Area. I have been known, however, to take on a challenge or two in my days, like the Warrior Dash and the Horsetooth Half Marathon. Hiking the Manitou Incline is completely different.
We used to have a coworker here at the station who lived in the area of the Incline, so he was able to hike it a lot; upwards of 15 times, I think is what he said. I can't see myself hiking it more than a couple of more times, but that's me.
I'd been really interested in hiking the incline ever since they kept talking about how they were renovating it, in 2016. Taking a look at this photo from before the renovation, there's no way I would have tried it.
I called up an old friend of mine to see if she would want to join me on my first hike up the beast. The weather was going to be perfect, she agreed. We went during the week in the fall of 2021. We really enjoyed it. I thought I'd put together an article about the things we discovered.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE MANITOU INCLINE
- Created in 1907 to haul pipes and equipment up the mountain for the building of the hydroelectric plant that serves Colorado Spring and Manitou Springs.
- 2,768 steps (websites will show only 2,744, but I was there, and there are 2,768)
- 41% average incline, 68% at its steepest.
- One mile, with a 2,000 feet elevation gain.
- The trail down is a four-mile hike.
7 Things a First Timer Can Tell You About The Manitou Incline
It's Further Than You Think
At the base, you'll be very pumped and ready for an adventure. You won't believe that you're actually going all the way up there (to where the arrow is.) If you did believe that, you may have turned around, right there.
It's 'Crazy' Steeper Than You Thought It Would Be
There are steps along the incline that are so steep (at that 68% incline area) that you'll want to use your arms to steady yourself, but each step you conquer takes you further from the trailhead (where the arrow is, above.)
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It Will Take Longer Than You Ever Thought It Would
You'll get to this turn-off and really begin to contemplate your sanity. You'll have been hiking up and up, for what seems forever, and find that you still have 1,000 more steps? You'll know that there's no shame in turning back towards the parking lot, but you'll push on.
They Do Have Markers Along The Way to Keep You Motivated
The markers cry out to you, 'Don't give up! Look how far you've come!' Seeing that you're 'only' 768 more steps away, can be frustrating, yet, you push onward.
You'll Make Friends Along the Way
You probably won't be the only one on the trail and you probably won't be the only one hiking it for the first time. You may pass people, people may pass you (some will be going down the incline backward). We kept a pretty good pace with these ladies.
Your Spotify Will Work
Have your 'It Gets Me Pumped Up' playlist ready to go because we listened to great rocking '80s tunes all the way up. Of course, you are going up, the service should be good.
At The Top of the Incline, You'll Feel Great, But.
Without question, hitting at 2,768th step is incredible. The adrenaline rush will have you jumping up and down for a couple of minutes. However, you won't find any bell to ring at the summit, no food trucks or beer waiting to help you celebrate. Just the trail that leads down, for four miles. So, give yourself a few minutes to take it all in before you leave.
Now, I did skip over the really important stuff, such as dressing appropriately and bringing water. Do those things, for sure, and bring your will to win.
Get more information on the incline and make a reservation for your hike, with Manitou Springs.