The Incline, once the bed of a popular tourist cable car, closed in 1990, and the rails were removed. Locals started hiking up the railroad ties for an extreme workout—2,000 feet of elevation gain in less than a mile!—even though it was partly on private land and not strictly legal. After many years of wrangling and an actual Act of Congress, the Incline was made legal in February of 2013. This is an advanced hike at high altitude. You should be in good physical shape and acclimated to Colorado altitude to hike this trail.
The Incline trailhead is next to Barr Trailhead in Manitou Springs. Even with paid parking, finding a spot can be difficult. In the summer, plan to park in the lot at Tajine Alami, 10 Old Man’s Trail, Manitou Springs, and take the free shuttle.
About three-quarters of the way up the Incline, there is a cutoff to the Barr Trail, locally called “The Bailout.” If you make it to the top, you will find another connection to the Barr Trail to make the trek back down.
The Incline Friends worked tirelessly for the legalization of the trail, and now have put their efforts to help fund repairs and maintenance. Visit their website, www.inclinefriends.com, for more information and to lend a hand.