I first found out about the Manitou Incline, in Manitou Springs, Colorado, in a Runner’s World article from last year. Ironically enough, I read about it while sitting on the runway waiting for my plane to depart after spending a week in Denver. I probably wouldn’t have been able to go to the incline, but it was ironic that I was reading about it as I was in the process of leaving Colorado.
The Manitou Incline is a one-mile climb lined with railroad ties. People flock there every day to climb, and often attempt to run, the incline. It used to be illegal, which didn’t matter to incline users, who used it for over 20 years illegally. But as of February 1st of this year, it is legal!
The incline has an average grade of 41% and a maximum grade of 68%. The record for fastest run up the trail is 17 minutes. The average time it takes to hike up the trail is 45 minutes. There was a really neat graph in the RW article comparing the Newton Hills of Boston to the Incline, and it made Boston’s hills look like speed bumps…. but I can’t find it, so you’ll have to use your imagination.
The incline has its roots as a former cable car railway, which was used to carry materials to pipeline construction on Pikes Peak. But the rails were removed in 1990.
In the Runner’s World article it said that as you climb, you look up and think you are almost to the top. But then you find that it is actually a false summit and there is still roughly 1/4 of a mile to go!
The one mile trail climbs 2,000 vertical feet. Once you get to the top you can enjoy the view while you catch your breath and revel in your accomplishment. Then you have to make it back down without tripping!
Had you heard of the Incline before now?
Who’s taking a road trip to Manitou Springs to climb the incline with me!?