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City of Colorado Springs / Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services / News

Manitou Incline Trail Enhancement
Monday, August 11, 2014


Incline to receive much-needed facelift 

Colorado Springs, CO - Join us for a media briefing on Tuesday, August 12 at 11 a.m. at the base of the Manitou Incline to discuss the upcoming Trail Enhancement Project. Please park in the COG parking lot, 515 Ruxton Av, 80829.

The Incline project has four major goals: improved safety, enhanced user experience, long-term sustainability of the trail and increased accessibility.  Work on the Incline will include repair and replacement of damaged retaining walls, cleanup of rebar and loose debris, construction of additional drainage structures, stabilization of existing ties and stabilization of surrounding slopes.  The new drainage structures will significantly reduce the velocity of water, a critical factor in reducing erosion and ensuring the Incline’s long-term sustainability.

History of the Mt. Manitou Incline

Under the ownership of Dr. Newton Brumback, the Manitou Incline was originally constructed as a one-mile cable tram for the purpose of providing access to water tanks at the top of the mountain that would provide gravity-fed water pressure to the cities of Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs. Shortly after its completion in 1907, the tram was opened as a tourist attraction. The Incline boasted a 16-minute ride to “scenic splendors” and ten miles of hiking trails in Mt. Manitou Park, and claimed to be the “longest and highest incline on the globe.”

The Incline’s 2,741 steps make up one of the most challenging and popular recreation sites in the nation. The trail is a one-mile ascent with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet, and the average grade is 43%, reaching 68% at the steepest point.  Nearly 20 years of unmanaged trespass and use of the Incline have resulted in significant erosion on the mountainside and dangerous trail conditions.

In 2010, the three property owners - Colorado Springs Utilities, the COG Railway, and the US Forest Service – together with the cities of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, agreed that serious safety and liability concerns, including the trail’s condition and impact on nearby neighborhoods, called for development of a Site Development and Management Plan to address these issues, allow the Incline to open for legal use and to capitalize on the Incline’s benefits. The Incline is now officially open and legal for recreational use.