The Manitou Incline

[All: 2 Avg.: 5]


3 Miles

Route Type

Single Loop




2,250 ft.

Highest Elevation



Arguably the steepest set of stairs in the country, The Manitou Incline climbs over 2,000ft in 1 mile and is sure to leave you aching for more.

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The Manitou Incline Walkthrough

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How to Run The Manitou Incline


Parking can be difficult at this very popular trailhead. There is free parking and free shuttle bus service nearby from Memorial Park in downtown Manitou Springs. This is your best bet. Almost all street parking in Manitou Springs is resident only or pay meter.

The Cog Wheel Lot, The Barr Trail Lot, and the Melodrama, all near the top of Ruxton Road, offer paid parking for $10/day, though space is limited.

Running Directions

From the trailhead, begin climbing the 2,768 stairs up into the sky. Grades will average around 30%, with a grade near 50% experienced near the top. Steps will vary in height and length. You’ll want to make sure to keep on eye on your footing. Though extensive maintenence has been done, erosion, rebar and rusted drainage pipes may still be present at some stairs.

How to Descend the Manitou Incline

There is a bail-out point about halfway up if you’re just not feelin’ it. It takes the Barr Trail down to parking. This makes about a 2 mile round trip.

When you reach the top, the most practical way down is to take the Barr Trail, which is joined to your left. Going down the incline can be dangerous with the uneven steps and crowds of people coming up. The Barr Trail will gently wind you back down a buffered trail. Total milage on the loop is about 3 miles.

How to Train for The Manitou Incline

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