The Manitou Incline
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. https://manitousprings.org/manitou-free-shuttle/ 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.
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.
Climbing your first mountain or 14er is an exciting and rewarding experience! You’ll get the achievement of seeing the world from above and the feel-goods of the endorphins from the exercise. However, the mountains aren’t a walk in the park, and getting down is mandatory. Some situations require extra caution and a little know how. With a bit of preparation, you’ll be able to get to the summit and back safely.
Whether you are training for a race or simply indulging in all the wilderness has to offer, there are a variety of factors, some constant, and some changing, that are likely to have an impact on your journey. Knowing these factors can help ensure your safety and get you back to the trailhead safely.