If you want to get out of Denver and take on a classic challenge - and see a different part of the Front Range - head down toward Colorado Springs, and up to Manitou Springs for a run or hike of the “Manitou Incline” in Ruxton Canyon.
What Makes It Great
You’ll love the history of this place as well as its controversial public openings, closings and renegade use over the last 30 years - including the parking situation due to congestion, safety and ownership. The land too is owned by three entities - the City of Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway and the U.S. Forest Service at the top; but in January 2013 a long legal battle converted the abandoned railway into a public hiking trail.
There is one chance to bail out about two-thirds of the way up (Barr Trail). When you reach the false summit, you're three quarters of the way there, with only a few hundred feet left to go. The trail gains a brutal 2,000 feet in less than a mile, but you'll have reason to feel proud upon reaching the top.
Who is Going to Love It
As a trail runner, you really owe it to yourself to do a little research about this lung busting classic. Its challenge through Strava and other online tracking games is legendary. You’ll share the trail with bad ass military dudes and Olympic athletes, not to mention the hundreds, if not thousands, of competitive runners in the area, and plenty of hikers as well. Just hopefully not all at the same time.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The parking lot gets super busy, so if you can't find a spot, there is a shuttle to the incline from mid-May to mid-September.