When I first heard about the Manitou Incline trail, I knew immediately that I wanted to hike it. It’s located in Colorado Springs and is essentially the big brother to Koko Head, one of my favorite trails in Hawaii. The trail is an old cable car railway that was closed down and locals started climbing up the railroad ties that remained. There are 2,768 “steps” to reach the top, gaining 2,000 ft of elevation in less than a mile. This baby is steep! It averages around 45% grade and gets as steep as a 68% grade. The top of the trail reaches an elevation of 8,590 ft. There are numbers on roughly every 100 steps so it makes tracking your progress pretty easy.
There’s no fee to do this hike, but be warned that if you try to park nearby you’ll likely have to pay for parking. However, they do have free parking and a free shuttle to the trail if you’re willing to park about a half mile away at 10 Old Man’s Trail.
As a bonus, you can hike Barr Trail on the way down instead of going back down the steps. It’s four miles of fairly mellow switchbacks and is way easier on the knees.
If you’re up for a tough workout, I definitely recommend this trail. You can check out the Colorado Springs website for more info. Frankly, I love this trail. I wish I lived closer to it so I could hike it more often.