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(TMU) — If you love challenges and hiking, you’ll love the Manitou Incline in Colorado which was only legalized for hiking in 2013. Definitely not for the unfit, faint of heart or pets, the Manitou Incline is only a mile long but very steep, made up of 2,744 steps. The stunning view from the summit is totally worth the effort, according to those who make it to the top.

The website of the Incline Friends provide some finer detail: ‘’It is known as one of the most popular and challenging hikes in the Colorado Springs area. It is famous for its sweeping views and steep grade, as steep as 68% in places with an average grade just over 40%, making it a fitness challenge for locals in the Colorado Springs area. The incline gains over 2,000 feet (610 m) of elevation in less than one mile, to a height of about 8,600′. It can be completed by Olympic athletes in around 20 minutes, but it can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on your fitness level.’’

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Many hikers give a sigh of relief after making it past the steepest grade of 68%, thinking they have made it to the top, but alas, they’ve only reached what’s called the ‘False Summit’ and will need to take a deep breath and press on for another 300 feet to enjoy the majestic views which include the cities of Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs! For those unable to cope with the elevation, there is a bailout point about 2/3 of the way up which meets up with the Barr Trail, a 3 mile down trail.

The steps making up the Manitou Incline are the remains of what was once a funicular—or cable train—constructed in 1907 to get materials and workers to the top of Pike’s Peak for the construction of a nearby hydroelectric plant and waterline. Shortly after completion of the project, it was bought by the enterprising Dr. Newton M Brumback who turned it into a successful tourist attraction.

New owner Spencer Penrose bought the Incline Railway in 1923 and upgraded the whole operation. He rebuilt the summit station in 1958, providing a more upmarket dining and viewing experience for visitors. The Railway became too expensive to maintain and stopped operating in 1990.

The rail tracks were removed but the railroad ties left behind, forming a natural, ready-made staircase.

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Before you make the trip to hike the Manitou Incline, check the weather conditions, familiarize yourself with the strict rules and regulations, take the time to adjust to Colorado Springs’ high altitude, wear appropriate hiking gear, take plenty of water and energy snacks and leave your pets at home.

The Manitou Incline is, like most attractions, closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic but under normal circumstance is open seven days a week from 6am to 8am from April 1 to October 31 and 6am to 6pm from November 1 to March 31.

The hike is free but parking at the Barr Lot, at end of the downward Barr Trail, is limited and cost $10. Alternatively, park for free and take the free shuttle ride from 10 Old Man’s Trail at the Hiawatha Gardens building. Another option is a reservation only lot or the parking lot by the Tahine Restaurant in Manitou Springs from where you can take the free shuttle to the Incline.

This content was originally published here.