In 1907, the Manitou Incline was constructed as a one-mile, funicular, cable tram to aid in the construction of a nearby hydroelectric plant and waterline. Typical wooden boxcars were used to haul materials and pipe up to the top of Mount Manitou. Shortly after it was constructed, the Railway was purchased by Dr. Newton M. Brumback who quickly converted it to a tourist attraction boasting a 16-minute ride to Mount Manitou Park on the "longest and highest incline on the globe."
Spencer Penrose purchased the Incline Railway in 1923 and upgraded the entire operation. He added newer cars with better benches and retractable roofs designed for inclement weather. In 1958, the summit station was rebuilt to allow for a much fancier dining and viewing experience for passengers.
Due to its location and grade, the Incline Railway incurred very high maintenance costs. Therefore, in 1990, the Railway operation ceased to exist and the rails were removed, creating a natural staircase of railroad ties and an open invitation to hikers.
INFO ON THE INCLINE TODAY - Although hiking the Incline was only legalized in February of 2013, the natural staircase has grown in popularity as a true Colorado hike and fitness challenge. Starting at 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) and ending at 8,590 feet (2,620 meters), the Incline is an almost straight shot of about 2,750 steps, 0.9 miles up Mount Manitou. If you do the math, you will find that in just under one-mile, you increase your elevation by about 2,000 feet – that's intense! If you find that you bit of more of the Incline than you could chew, there is a bailout point about 2/3 of the way up that intersects with the down-bound Barr Trail.
About ¾ of the way up, after the steepest grade of 68%, many people feel they have reached the top – only to find that they have in fact reached the "False Summit." Fear not, one only has to hike 300 more feet to reach the actual summit and take in the splendor of the surrounding views, including the cities of Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs.
A newly built trail to the south connects the top of the Incline to Barr Trail and it is about 3 miles back to the base.
$10.00 per vehicle WHEN AVAILABLE
Due to the popularity of the Incline, Barr Trail, the Cog Railway and other trails, Ruxton Avenue and the area surrounding the Incline is EXTREMELY crowded on weekends and holidays. There are three lots (Barr Trail, Cog Railway and Iron Springs), but they fill up quickly. We recommend the FREE SHUTTLE (running daily from late May through early September). Parking for the Incline is generally available at the Pikes Peak Cog Railway from 6:00 AM until 8:00 PM from November through February. This parking MAY be restricted on busy days when the Pikes Peak Cog Railway needs parking for Railway customers. From March-October, parking is very limited and MAY be available from 6 AM til 7 AM and again after 6PM, but MAY be restricted based on space and availability for Pikes Peak Cog Railway customers.
There is a 4 hour parking limit. Cars left unattended after 4 hours will be towed.
A valid credit card is required to purchase a $7 parking pass; cash is not accepted.
REMEMBER! USE THE FREE SHUTTLE, ESPECIALLY DURING THE SUMMER!
Take exit #141 (US 24/Cimarron Street) off I-25 and go west (towards the mountains) on US 24/Cimarron Street. After 4 miles, take the Manitou Springs exit onto Manitou Avenue. Go west on Manitou Avenue, 1½ mile to the traffic circle. At the traffic circle, take the second right onto Ruxton Avenue – please note the Mountain Man shop, which denotes Ruxton Ave. Go ¾ of a mile to the top of Ruxton Ave. The Incline is on the right through the Cog Railway (Cog customers only) parking lot.
From mid-May to mid-September, the city of Manitou Springs offers a FREE shuttle service throughout the city of Manitou Springs; including a stop at the Iron Springs Chateau, just a few yards away from the base of the Incline. There is a FREE parking lot located at 10 Old Man's Trail, the Tajine Alami Moroccan Restaurant. The shuttle operates seven days a week. Please check the shuttle brochure for times.
For more information, please see
Manitou Shuttle Brochure
WARNING: The Manitou Incline is an EXTREME trail.
Use at your own risk.
Do not attempt this trail if you are not used to hiking at altitude or have trouble climbing a standard flight of stairs.
Consult with your doctor before adding the Incline to your exercise routine.
If you need medical attention on the Incline, it could take First Responders over an hour to get to you.
Incline hours are DAWN to DUSK.
Be respectful of the neighbors who live on Ruxton Ave. Would you like to be woken up with beeping and slamming of car doors? If you injure yourself in the dark, remember that a First Responder could be injured as well trying to rescue you.
No Dogs Allowed
We love hiking with our pets, but dogs off leash or dogs on long leashes become hazards to other hikers and to themselves. The excessive amount of dog waste that has been left behind is also becoming a health issue.
UPHILL ONLY! Please use Barr Trail for your descent.
Please be RESPECTFUL of all hikers.
Stay on the designated trail corridor, don't blaze your own trail to get down faster.
Slower hikers stay to the right.
Pack out your trash. Utilize the Incline Base Camp restrooms or the port-a-lets before you start your hike.
These rules and regulations were vetted during the master plan process and are required by the property owners. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in permits and agreements being revoked. If you enjoy using the Incline please respect the rules and regulations, other hikers and the property owners. The Incline is on public and private land.
This is an EXTREME workout and not for the faint of heart. It is recommended that you give yourself ample time to adjust to the Colorado altitude before tackling the Incline. Once you feel acclimated and ready, be sure to bring water and sip it along the way. Remember that Incline Base Camp has water, energy drinks and nutritional bars if you need extra energy. Take your time reaching the top. Wear plenty of sunscreen as the sun will beat down on you and shade is limited. Don't forget to step to the side and rest if you need to. Most importantly, DON'T FORGET TO BREATHE DEEPLY!