Due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, officials announced Wednesday morning the indefinite closure of the Manitou Incline.
Inhale. Exhale. The first step here is acceptance. Then reassurance. It’s going to be OK.
Southern Colorado still has many suitable alternatives to keep your heart racing and legs burning. Here are seven. Maybe you’ll find a new bestie until the Incline reopens. You’ll never know until you try.
Reminder: Be sure to check on the status of each of these trails as closures could affect availability. Also, be aware of the potential for ice during winter and spring.
This 3-mile climb in Green Mountain Falls begins at Catamount Creek and steeply ascends through pine forests to a lush valley known as the Garden of Eden. Turning back at the Garden makes for a 4-mile round trip, on par with the Incline/Barr Trail loop, but without its extreme grades. Hikers and runners may also continue onto the reservoirs of the North Slope Recreation Area for the full 6-mile round trip and a total elevation gain of 1,400 feet. The trail has at least two lookouts and can be used to reach the Ring the Peak Trail.
This stunner high in the hills overlooking the Air Force Academy doesn't quite pack the Incline's punch, but it'll do in a pinch. The trail rises 2,100 feet up a rough-hewn staircase of boulders, surrounded by lush forests bearing wildflowers and boasting a waterfall along the way. For sheer beauty, it's got the Incline beat, and its peak offers an unforgettable, 360-degree view of northern Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak in the distance.
Section 16/Palmer-Red Rock Loop
Combine sections of three trails for a popular 5.6-mile loop. Hike counterclockwise, up Section 16, to maximize the burn. Turn left (south) onto 26th Street from U.S. 24. Drive the winding hill to a four-way stop at Lower Gold Camp Road. Turn right (west) and continue for less than a mile as the road contours along the mountain. The clearly marked Section 16 trailhead is on the right. If the lot is full, drive a bit farther for more parking.
Red Mountain Trail
Not far from the Incline, this strenuous 1-mile climb to the summit of 7,735-foot Red Mountain will feel familiar at once, easing you into your new workout routine. Completed by volunteers in 2001 on Manitou's first parcel of open space, the trail climbs 950 vertical feet over the course of a mile to a summit overlooking the city. You'll find sweeping views and a glimpse of ruins from a nearly century-old tourist operation. o your new workout routine. Completed by volunteers in 2001 on Manitou's first parcel of open space, the trail climbs 950 vertical feet over the course of a mile to a summit overlooking the city. You'll find sweeping views and a glimpse of ruins from a nearly century-old tourist operation.
St. Mary's Falls
A gorgeous, 5.6-mile round trip to a tumbling falls that will test runners and hikers with 1,200 feet elevation of gain. To get there, drive up North Cheyenne Cañon Road for 3.2 miles from the start of the canyon to a gravel parking lot at the top. For a longer day, consider climbing an additional 3 miles from the falls to the summit of Mt. Rosa.
Hike or run along the spine of North Cheyenne Canon Park on this taxing route. It's 4 miles one way, so you can fashion it into an 8-mile out-and-back or turn back at any point to shorten the trip. Either way, the trail features views of the canyon and city and looks onto small, rough peaks along the way.
An excellent venue for high-altitude training on Pikes Peak's western slope, this 3-mile round-trip hike leads to the Crags, a rocky outcropping that overlooks the North Slope watershed. Hikers may elect to continue on toward the Pikes Peak summit for a 10-mile round trip.