Conquering the Manitou Incline: What To Know Before You Go
Climbing the Manitou Incline has become a fad for Colorado hiking enthusiasts, but before you take on the challenge there are some things you need to go before you go.
What Is the Manitou Incline?
Seems like most people have heard of the Manitou Incline, even if they don't know exactly what is. In short, the Manitou Incline is just under a mile of steps - 2,744 steps to be exact - with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet. You'll find the Incline in Manitou Springs, just west of Colorado Springs.
To say it is a challenge would be a gross understatement. There is a sign on the trail that cautions hikers 2,744 Steps Is Not A Walk In the Park. The sign goes on to compare the hike to navigating some international landmarks. The hike is comparable to climbing up:
- The Empire State Building
- The Eiffel Tower TWICE
- The Washington Monument THREE TIMES
- The Statue of Liberty SIX TIMES
What Does Climbing the Manitou Incline Feel Like?
Climbing a Colorado 14er is challenging, but, along the way, you're generally going to have some segments of the trail that may level out for a short period to give you some relief from the steady incline. That is not the case with the Manitou Incline. There is no reprieve. Every step you take is going to be a step up.
What I can tell you from my own personal experience on the incline is that your heart is going to pound, you're going to sweat - a lot, and your legs are going to feel like rubber before you reach the top. For most hikers, there will be frequent stops along the way to catch your breath and to have a drink of water. It took me right at an hour to reach the top, which was a steady pace, though not fast. I heard one hiker say he made the ascent in 37 minutes. Doing it that fast is definitely the exception, though there are people who run all the way up the stairs - and back down.
At the Summit
As with any hike or climb, there is a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when you reach the top. The harder the climb, the greater the satisfaction. When you reach the top of the Manitou Incline there is a large area where hikers can sit and rest before heading back down- generally on a beautiful 2.5 hike that winds down the mountain and back to the base.
If you are interested in learning more about what doing the Manitou Incline is like, take a look at the photos and descriptions below for more details. You may be one who will never attempt something like the Manitou Incline, so you will enjoy the excursion virtually.