The girlfriend has been in town for the past few weeks and decided it was finally her turn to climb the famous Manitou Springs Incline. For those of you not familiar the Incline is a very well known "hiking" trail located in Manitou Springs Colorado. The trail is, however, not like any other in the US. The trail is only just under a mile long, although you must climb up 2,000+ stairs and 2,000 vertical feet to reach the top.
Growing up not far from Colorado Springs I had always wanted to do this trail I just never found the time, this last visit marks my 3rd to the incline and definitely not the last. There is something about walking up the base of the incline and squinting to find the summit and knowing in an hour you will be up there.
The day started off with the routine Chick-fil-a breakfast Carley and my brother Jake were begging for. After some breakfast and gas, we hopped on the highway south straight to CO Springs. The drive is only just over an hour and a half from my house in Littleton CO.
The town of Manitou Springs is a typical Colorado mountain town. Filled with Brewery's, Gift shops, and the occasional mary jane hut. After driving through town you start to make your way up to the base of the incline. We decided to take Jakes Tacoma instead of mine so I would not have to deal with the 50% incline, traffic, and other hikers, with the old clutch. Since I was no newbie to the Incline I know of a somewhat hidden top parking lot which we luckily found the last spot and skipped the pavement part of the hike.
At the base of the Incline stands a wall of porta-potties for everyone experiencing the view for the first time. After a pit stop at the wall, we stretched and embarked on the trail.
You can really check your fitness level on this amazing trail in Colorado. Even after the first 50 steps, your legs start to tighten and so does your chest. At 8,000 ft Colorado springs is already a decent way up, add another 2,000 ft by the end of it and you will feel each breath. With Carley not fully acclimated to the altitude of Colorado we decided to take the trail chunk by chunk with water breaks every 100 steps or so.
After many water breaks and shade-stops later we were a little over half way up the trail when I stopped to take this picture. From this picture alone you can see the amazing grade at which this trail sits. Jake is on the right taking a quick breather and photo break.
After hiking up a few more 100 stairs Carley decided it was time for her to call it. There is a Barr Trail "Bailout" trailhead which is 2/3rds of the way up the Incline. With the lack of air at the altitude, we were at I was very proud of her even making it to the bailout. After leaving her with the rest of the water and her phone Jake and I continued on determined to reach the top.
After reaching the false summit we could finally see our destination and decided to kick it into overdrive. We finally reached the summit and were rewarded by the beautiful view of Southern Colorado that we had worked so hard to see. Not only is it a great view from the top but a real sense of accomplishment when you reach the peak. You are surrounded by other like people who are willing to go test themselves and enjoy the outdoors. There really is nothing like it. This time being Jakes first ever attempt and success I felt the pride of an older brother which is enough to do it in itself.
And of course the pack I took up with me.... my brand new custom Spare Camel from the lads over at BOGear. This thing is awesome.
After a few snap chats, and Instagram moments Jake and I decided to head down and meet up with Carley at the trail head. The Barr Trail down is more of a normal hiking trail, with a dirt path and a gradual decline.
My brother and I figured we would take a "short cut" which technically was however, was a bit more technical than we originally thought.
After finally making our way out of the short cut and back on the trail we hiked down another 2 miles to the parking lot and met back up with Carley. The concrete had never felt so good before. We all refilled our water bottles, changed our shoes and climbed back into the Tacoma.
No incline trip is complete without lunch at the Manitou Springs Brewing Company. It has turned into somewhat of a tradition when hiking the Incline. The brewery is down the hill right at the start of the town and hidden away behind a craft store. The ice cold house brewed IPA and a big BBQ Bacon burger after the hike is second to none.
The day was a successful one with 2/3 of the group making it to the top. Carley has promised next time she will make it to the summit. (I still think she could have this one) but we will be going again soon. For anyone looking for a one of a kind hike in Colorado Springs this one will not disappoint. Just make sure you are fully prepared!