Sunday, March 1, 2009

"Have a nice walk"

That is what my husband said before I left with Hillary.

We wouldn't exactly call it a walk, more like a hike, a really, really hard hike.

The Manitou Incline is a legendary workout. Yes, it is only about a mile long but in the mile you climb 2100 feet in elevation.

Hillary and I at the start. See that break in the trees, you think that is the end? No, it is the false summit, it goes up further, that was a shocker.

How sad that I have lived in Colorado for almost 30 years and had never hiked the Incline.

Since I am an inquisitive girl, I had to find out the history of this incline. I found some great websites loaded with information.

Completed in 1907 the Manitou Incline was a 1 mile cable tram built to support the construction of a hydroelectric plant and it's waterline. After performing this service the railway was then purchased by Dr. Brumbach and turned into a tourist attraction. The incline boasted a 16 minute ride to "scenic splendors", 10 miles of hiking trails in Mount Manitou Park, and claimed to be the "longest and highest incline on the globe."

Spencer Penrose bought the incline in 1923 and made it part of his tourist attraction empire, which is now owned by the Oklahoma Publishing Co. During this time the cars were upgraded to allow for a retractable roof and more safety. The summit station was again rebuilt in 1958 and lasted until it was dismantled upon closure of the incline.

The Manitou Incline became a prominant feature above Manitou Springs. It was a popular tourist attraction and remained busy for many years. However it was plagued with rockslides that made the maintenance costs very high.

1969 Summit Photo and the final version of car used on the incline.

The Incline tourist attraction closed in early 1990 and has become a very popular place for local hikers. And now we know why.


Me and Hillary

More to go

Hillary looking down

I found myself counting the railroad ties, "I'll take a break at 40." Or "If I can just take 20 more, I can sit and rest." Rumor has it there are about 3000 railroad ties. I counted to 40 several times. During the steepest parts, I counted to 5.

Looking up

Looking down

Hillary gets to the summit


And you can either hike back down (umm, no thanks) or take the 4 mile stretch of Barr Trail back to the parking lot.

Next Saturday we are going to take this "nice walk" again. Want to join us?


Susi said...

wow, very cool. So, how long did it take? I think I should be used to walking miles before I try that, don't ya think!?

*Lissa* said...

Oh wow, that looks awesome! I want to go!

Elaine A. said...

Wow, that looks amazingly fun AND exhausting all at the same time! And thanks for the history, that was really cool to see too...

Auds at Barking Mad said...

I think I had a little heart attack just looking at the incline and thinking about the burn in my thighs and calves.

Go you! That's awesome and me and all my trillion fat cells are envious.

tiger said...


KC History Guy--Darrell L James said...

Yes, I visited in April of 1992 and thought it was merely "not open yet, for the season." But the staff at the nearby Pikes Peak Railway confirmed that the Manitou Incline was closed forever. I was grieved, as it was a big part of my childhood.