Colorado Springs, CO

May reservations for the Manitou Incline available April 1st

Colorado Jill

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Starting up the Manitou InclinePhoto by the author

(Colorado Springs, CO) Once upon a time in the not-so-distant past, if you wanted to hike the Manitou Incline, you did it. Now, reservations are required.

The good news is that it is still free to do this challenging climb. However, it now takes some advanced planning which is wise for anyone attempting this hike.

The Manitou Incline is a demanding one-mile (almost) hike that gains close to 2,000 feet of elevation. This tough uphill climb has thousands of steps and a steep grade that is as high as 68% in certain places.  

There is a false summit about three-quarters up, but don’t let this discourage you. It is only about 300 more steps to reach the true summit, and the views are worth the climb.

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View from the top of the Manitou InclinePhoto by the author

If you are physically active, acclimated to the altitude, have the proper equipment (good shoes, a large water bottle), and want to test your fitness on this trail, go here to make reservations. 

The May time slots will open on April 1st at 9:00 a.m. 

The Incline’s regular-season hours (March 13th through November 5th) are from 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.  There are 65 reservation slots  available from  6:00 - 9:00 a.m., 45 slots from 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., and 25 reservation slots from 3:30 - 6:30 p.m. 

Park staff will be at the Incline base to check the reservation, so make sure to have the confirmation on your phone or a printed copy. Proof of paid parking is also required at check-in.

There are several paid parking options which you can learn more about here.

The Manitou Incline reservation system began in August 2020 when the hiking trail re-opened following the COVID-19 shutdown.

This system was a public health safety measure at the time and was initially thought to be temporary. However, since the reservation requirement began, there have been fewer calls for rescue services. The hikers now seem to be more intentional and better prepared for the strenuous hike. This change may be due to the safety reminders that are emailed with the reservation confirmation.

This system is here to stay, so plan ahead if you hope to tackle the Incline in May. I’ll see you there!

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Colorado Springs, CO
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