Update 12/1/14: The Manitou Incline will reopen at 10 AM this Friday, December 5th.
Update November 17th, 2014 It’s currently like the Manitou Incline will re-open the first week of December but not on the 1st. More Incline repair details here.
Update August 5th, 2014 Colorado Springs Park and Rec has confirmed that the Incline will be closing August 18th at 6 AM. The Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon are on final weekend the Incline is open. Find info about the effects of the races on the Incline here.First the good news, the Manitou Incline will be getting some much needed repairs. Now the bad news, the Incline will be closed for about four months. The contractor hasn’t been selected yet so the exact start date isn’t known but will most likely be mid-August after the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon.
The Incline has slowly been eroding since the cable car quit operating in 1990. Volunteers pounded in rebar and made other repairs over the years or the Incline would be in worse shape. Last fall’s heavy rains did considerable damage.
If hikers are caught trespassing during the closure, they could receive a $100 fine. According to project manager Sarah Bryarly, Manitou Springs police will enforce the closure.The Incline work will include repair and replacement of damaged retaining walls, cleanup of rebar and loose debris, construction of additional drainage structures, stabilization of existing ties and stabilization of surrounding slopes. The plan includes putting in a sustainable trail where the social trail connects the top of the Incline to Barr Trail. The four main goals of this project are improved safety, enhanced user experience, long-term sustainability of the trail and increased accessibility.
While the long-term sustainability of the trail is critical, I’m not sure how the user experience is going to be enhanced. One of the key things users wanted during public input meetings during the legalization process was for the Incline retain it’s rough character.
The conceptual drawing on the left that was provided by the City of Colorado Springs doesn’t seem to leave it so rugged. Of course looking at the photos above that compare a section in 1996 to it’s current condition, it appears it could be at least as rough as back then. I started hiking the Incline in 1998 and have noticed it changing over the years but didn’t realize how much.During the Incline closure the surrounding trails will remain open. These include Barr Trail, Ute Indian Trail, Intemann Trail and Red Mountain trail. The free shuttle will also continue as planned through mid September.
The project is expected to cost nearly $1.6 million. About half a million will come from FEMA because of the rain damage. The remainder will come from the Great Outdoors Colorado Grant, Colorado Springs Utilities, the State Trails Grant, the Colorado Springs CTF Program, Incline Friends, Colorado Springs TOPS Program and the Manitou Springs Barr Parking Lot Fund.
In the excellent video below, engineer Don Jacobs talks about some of the challenges of working to stabilize the Incline.