The Incline Trail

HARD 1,541 reviews

The Incline Trail is a 3.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Manitou Springs, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
3.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,922 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no shade

no dogs

The trail is the remains of a cog railway that went to the top of Manitou Mountain. The trail gains about 2000 feet of elevation in about a mile. Imagine climbing a rough uneven set of stairs that's a mile long. There is a bail out about half way up that will put you on Barr Trail. Beware of the false summit just past the bail out. Once you're at the top you can hike back down the incline, or turn south and hike or run back down Barr Trail. The view from the top over Colorado Springs is worth the effort. This is a great trail for training and it is what most people use it for.

3 days ago

Being an avid hiker from East Tennessee, there was no hope for me. I completed the incline on my first day in Colorado, but my lungs paid dearly for it since I was not used to the elevation. I strongly suggest that you buy the "I completed the incline" sticker at the gift shop before hand and use that as motivation to get to the top. Overall once you make it to the top, the view is worth it as well as the sense of cheating death and accomplishment. Pack water, food, needle cheast decompressor and a good camera to document your humility.

4 days ago

fun trail, you'll get your cardio in!

8 days ago

Me encantó la experiencia,excelente si lo
recomiendo.

hiking
9 days ago

They aren’t kidding-this is an extreme hike. But it was awesome!!

hiking
12 days ago

Tough hike!! Had to take a lot of breaks!! The accomplishment of getting to the top feels great but I don’t need to do it again!!

hiking
15 days ago

Extremely difficult but definitely worth it!

16 days ago

Felt like such an accomplishment getting to the top. I’m probably average as far as endurance fitness goes and this was a grind, especially half way up when it gets steeper. Had to take a breather every 50 steps near the end there, but I’m glad I didn’t bail out early and kept going to the summit. Took the Barr trail back down and it’s pretty mellow with tons of switchbacks. Some sections are very narrow and people like to run down, so keep an ear open for people running up behind you.

I got to the start around 6:15am and ended up paying the $10 parking because I didn’t know any better, but it was nice having my car close. I’m told there is other parking in manitou and a shuttle that runs to the trailhead every 20 mins. Might try that next time to save money. The parking lot was packed by 8am when I got back down, make sure you go early to beat the heat and crowds.

My only complaint is that some of the steps are washed out between, just gotta be careful on some spots. Very tough hike for me, but worth it!

22 days ago

Unforgettable and I don’t plan on doing it again. Bring a lot of water and snacks. I started off listening to music but quickly put that away because this climb is all mental if you’re somewhat physically fit.

I did almost zero research before going. Mistake number 1. Then I thought I could do it in 45 minutes. The joke was on me because the sheer incline and rise in elevation took my breath away and I kept having to sit down. I summited after climbing for 2 1/2 hours. Very humbling.

The best thing about the Incline is the positive community spirit as you climb. Everyone was encouraging each other and they clapped as I took the last step.

If you can-do it!

hiking
26 days ago

Fantastic as always! I’ve hiked the Incline over a dozen times... in all weather conditions. Bring plenty of water, a great attitude, & an adventurous spirit. You’ll have a blast! This is a very challenging hike. Beware of elevation sickness if you’re not used to climbing a mountain this steep (68 degree incline), gaining 2,000 ft of elevation in less than a mile. Otherwise, congratulations on conquering one of the steepest stairs in the world!

hiking
29 days ago

Took this Down after doing the incline.. great views all the way down. Easy trail for a cool down after going all the way up

hiking
1 month ago

The trail is actually in pretty good condition. They just made some improvements. Part of my rating is because I wasn’t ready. I couldn’t finish it and took the bail out trail close to step 1900, about 2/3 to the top. Aside from the level of difficulty, the problem was that I went on a Sunday. There were lots of people hiking and not everyone was polite enough to step to the side of the trail when needing to take a break. I was already exhausted and having to maneuver around people resting just made it worse and quite dangerous. As you pass half of the trail, the steps are pretty steep. If you are fit enough, it is a great trail, providing a wonderful sense of fulfillment once you are done. At least, I imagine it does. If you are not super fit, you might wanna consider a few easier trails before picking this one.

hiking
1 month ago

This was very challenging with a beautiful view! Make sure to bring a source of water, preferably 1 liter or larger! My first time going up took about an 1hr& a half! I’m moderately in shape!! Can be dangerous going down if not paying close attention. Some steps need to be refurbished! Awesome scenery and definitely felt all
Muscles in my legs burn!!

hiking
1 month ago

This is a very challenging hike. I could not go all the way up to the top. Pack water and sunscreen because you are in the sun for so much of the hike. Might be better in the fall. I’d rather come back when its colder outside.

hiking
1 month ago

Slow and steady, as the incline is a workout climb! My husband and I got there around 6:30a for easier parking ($), fewer people, and cooler temps. It took us an about an hour to get to the top with brief stops to admire the view behind us. There is an "exit" (Barr trail) about 2/3 up, but keep climbing! Awesome challenge; so exhilarating! I felt accomplished as I reached the top!! The Barr trail down was pretty easy -- going downhill -- many people were running it.

hiking
1 month ago

Omg! Never again! Nope! Nope! Nope! It took us almost 3 hours to get to the top! Then we took the trail back down and got turned around! It was challenging and it showed us how out of shape we really were. Lol Nope! If you do decide to take the challenge...please please bring plenty of water!

hiking
1 month ago

Omg! Never again! Nope! Nope! Nope! It took us almost 3 hours to get to the top! Then we took the trail back down and got turned around! It was challenging and it showed us how out of shape we really were. Lol Nope!

1 month ago

Great spot and hard workout. Everyone was friendly and courteous!

hiking
1 month ago

My last day of vacation, and just had to try it out. I was lucky enough to share the experience with my 13 y/o and my 10 y/o. We had a blast meeting so many positive souls especially during such a challenging climb

1 month ago

I don't understand the point of doing this "trail", except for the excuse "because it's there". It's more of a hot, physical grind with too many people and not so great of a view. A bunch of stairs isn't all that fun. With so many countless amazing hikes in the vicinity through some really beautiful nature, I wouldn't recommend you waste your time here if you're in the area on vacation with limited time. Go find something nicer and more enjoyable. The natural trail back down is much better and is the only redeeming quality.

1 month ago

loved it absolutely worth it very intense

1 month ago

I’m from Northern CA, elevation 700, and had 3 days to adjust to the higher elevation. My husband and I started at 5:55am, it took 85 minutes up. I took my time due to the elevation... and my slight fear of heights. We jogged the trail down, which took 60 minutes. It was a challenge but totally worth it. Start early, lots of water, and enjoy the beauty this adventure has to offer. Anyone in good health can accomplish this trail, pace yourself, everyone was super friendly on the trail. One of the best adventures!

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing workout! This one is TOUGH! But felt like a great accomplishment when you hit the top. Be sure to bring water. Did this one with my kids 13 and 16. We all loved it.

hiking
1 month ago

I love how challenging the incline is! I did it back in November when I was in town and it was even better this time (mainly because I wasn't fooled by the false summit!!). I coincidentally started after the thunderstorms went through which was nice since it cooled it off and cut down on the dust. Shout out to the guy behind me who kept me going at a pretty challenging pace! Enjoy the challenge, it's 110% worth it!!

hiking
1 month ago

What a workout! Take it slow and steady. Start very early, or you'll get baked by the sun. I started at about 520am and the sun was already eating at my back halfway up. Take as many breaks as you need to catch your breath. Felt the pulse from my neck around step 1700 or so. Towards the top my goal was to take 20 to 25 steps between breaks. Made it to the summit in a decent 1h 16m then took Barr Trail down. Lots of runners (both directions) and a few mountain bikes to contend with, making it a little dusty. Not very well marked so keep this app handy, however most side trails lead back to the main. Barr Trail has tons of small rocks. If you so much as drag a toe, you'll have rocks in your socks and shoes. I plan on doing this trail more, so gaiters are a good idea. You get humbled real quick when some people blow by you up the incline!

hiking
1 month ago

Hard hike and great workout. Literally straight up. Sometimes I had to get on all fours to keep climbing. Beware the false summit! The view at the top is awesome and you feel like a badass after completing. Definitely take the shuttle and don’t try to walk back down the steps. So hard on your knees! Just take the trail down, it’s more fun!

A great workout, and definitely worth the challenge to get to the top. I would suggest starting earlier in the day to avoid the heat. There is always a steady crowd of people, regardless of the time of day, and most are supportive and encouraging.
I would strongly suggest taking the free shuttle from the park, as parking is not free, and can be challenging.
Great bucket list item to check off.

hiking
1 month ago

first time doing this trail and it's hard but awesome

1 month ago

Most definitely the hardest trail I have done. just make sure you brings lots of water and have some protein snacks to keep you going. If you have trouble, there is a dipout trail at the halfway point. Don't be discouraged by the false summit, once you hit that, you're nearly there!! You don't have to be in incredible shape to do this, though it's recommended. But there were a ton of people in better shape than I quitting.
Once you get to the top, you feel so relieved, and the view is absolutely gorgeous, and don't worry, you don't have to go down the way you came up. There is a trail that takes you back down, though it's about 45-90 minutes to get down.

1 month ago

it's hard. bring plenty of water. take lots of breaks. don't look up,don't look down, just take it one step at a time.

hiking
1 month ago

I love the incline! Best therapy for whatever life throws at you! One step at a time. Pace yourself. Water!!! I attempt this once a week or so and at one point I was doing it 1-2 times a week. That view at the top is absolutely breathe taking.

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