Since its transformation from a Pikes Peak railway to an infamously steep hiking trail, Denver locals and outdoor enthusiasts all over Colorado have made the Manitou Incline a fitness destination. Usually just shortened to “The Incline,” the hike is unique for its unusually steep grade— up to 68% at times. Because the trail is just a little bit wider than a train, hikers are in unusually close proximity to one another and often use this as an opportunity to commiserate and pace themselves with others.
Due to this proximity, however, Manitou Springs has taken measures to lower the spread of Coronavirus on the Incline. A reservation system has been implemented as of August 4 after the trail was closed in mid-March.
Here’s what you need to know
- Free reservations are available at the Incline Website with 30-minute slots from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Attendants will not allow hikers without a reservation up the trail.
- 45 hikers are permitted per 30 minute reservation
- The Barr trail lot, where people usually park, is off-limits for Incline hikers. Instead, park at the Hiawatha Gardens lot and take a free shuttle, or at the Iron Springs Chateau for $10 (reservations recommended, check it out here.) Make sure you allow enough time to get from your parking area to the base and still make your reserved time.
- Hikers must wear the wristband issued by an attendant at the base for the duration of the hike.
- Masks are not required during the hike. However, make sure to have one for before and after, and feel free to wear yours on the trail. They are required both indoors and outdoors while walking around Manitou Springs.
Keep in mind, the Incline is not for the faint of heart. The steep way up is a great workout but not a safe route to take down to the base. Instead, wind around the back and take the bottom four miles of the Barr Trail as your descent. The Barr is a beautiful trail that’s popular even among those not trying to conquer the Incline. For a special reward after your hike, try Colorado Custard in downtown Manitou Springs— a destination for locals and tourists.