ONE HELL OF A HIKE
I recently ventured out to Colorado Springs on a sunny day to tackle the Manitou Incline with my fellow coworkers. I knew it involved a steep set of stairs, but I had no idea what was in store!
The Manitou Incline is considered an extreme trail that involves almost 2,000 feet of elevation in just under 1 mile—otherwise known as an extreme lower-body workout!
The incline was originally built as a cable car lift to carry materials up the mountain for pipelines on Pikes Peak. Now it’s just rAIL ties that one must, at many times, bear crawl up the mountain. It’s brutal, especially in the summer sun. Go early!
At points, the “steps” are stair-like; at others, they’re giant, steep hauls where your whole body is hanging off the mountain, basically. There are many platforms to pull over and catch your breath—something I tried not to do too often or with too much leisure, as you want to keep your momentum (and enthusiasm) high.
Something you should know if you ever attempt the hike: There is a false summit about 2/3 up the trail. It’s so steep that it appears like there couldn’t possibly be any more vertical climb. But alas, there is.
Once I reached the actual summit, I felt great—and quite accomplished.
I would never have been able to complete this one year ago, or at least as quickly and relatively painlessly as I did in the shape I’m in now. Being 30+ pounds lighter helps quite a lot, as well as having built up so much endurance and muscle power in my lower body. I wouldn’t say it was a piece of cake, but it was a challenge I felt strong enough to conquer.
You don’t take the rail ties back down, thank goodness. There’s the Barr Trail that descends to the parking lot, and I decided to trail-run it down. That’s also a testament to my fitness progress: It felt better to run than walk!
If you’re up for a good workout and great confidence boost, you should definitely check the Manitou Incline off your bucket list!
HEY COLORADANS, HAVE YOU GIVEN THE INCLINE A TRY?