Colorado’s Craziest Hike May Reopen Soon
UPDATE: It was announced this afternoon, Wednesday, August 5, the Manitou Incline will officially re-open at 6 a.m. on Thursday, August 6. Reservations are required, and can be made here.
You may be able to access "Colorado's Craziest Hike" before long. A plan has been approved which would reopen one of Colorado's most popular trails.
We're not out of the woods yet. The approved reopening plan will now go to the City of Colorado Springs for final approval.
The trail has been closed since mid-March. In the past, visiting Manitou Incline was an extraordinarily informal task. You showed up and hiked the trail. Considering the large number of people utilizing the trail each day, hundreds per day, sometimes over a thousand, parking was a bit of a challenge. I have a friend in Colorado Springs, so I would simply have them drop me off at the trailhead on their way to work.
After months of debate, an agreement has been reached. A new reservation system has been proposed to limit traffic on the actual trail. According to KRDO, these are a few details:
- The first two weeks of operation will be limited to 35 people for a 30-minute window.
Later, reservations would be limited to 45 people per 30-minute window.
- reservation hours would be limited to 6 a.m. to 6 p.m
- reservations could be made up to seven days in advance.
- Anyone who uses the incline would need a reservation, unless they arrive on foot or by bicycle, and would need to provide proof that they parked at Hiawatha Gardens or the Iron Springs Chateau.
- Users would also need to wear a wristband through the hike.
- Reservation for groups larger than four people would need to be coordinated directly with Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department.
- While reservations are free, the city said it was previously looking into a reservation system that could charge hikers a minimum of $5 to access the old Manitou Cog Railway ties up Mt. Manitou.
Using the Manitou Incline without a valid reservation or at times other than the designated hours could result in a trespass citation.
There's something very special about Manitou Incline. I'm not really sure what it is about the trail. I make the trip each year on my birthday just to hike the trail. This year, my 50th birthday, I got gypped out of the hike due to the closure. This week it's a little different ball game in Manitou Springs. Unlike over here in Western Colorado, they're getting rain and high temps in the mid and upper 80's. Here's hoping they get the trail opened quick.