Manitou Incline and Pikes Peak

by kenji SAITO on August 21, 2022

Hiking Manitou Incline and Pikes Peak

We woke up early the next day to tackle Colorado’s version of Koko Stairs, stairs on steroids. Found a spot to park at the Iron Springs Chateau for ten bucks.

Manitou Incline

Manitou Incline

Starting off at the base altitude of 6,530′.

Manitou Incline

Manitou Incline

Looking ahead to the 2,744 steps that we had to climb in order to gain the summit.

Manitou Incline

Manitou Incline

Catching the sunrise as it started to illuminate the incline that started life as a funicular from 1907 until a rock slide in 1990 washed out the rail bed. The owner of the funicular, Pikes Peak Cog Railway decided not to repair the tracks and removed all the existing rails but left the wooden ties.

Manitou Incline

Manitou Incline

Locals didn’t let the no trespassing signs that were first installed in 1999 to prevent them from getting their incline workout. It literally took an act of Congress for the hike to become legal in 2013.

Manitou Incline

Manitou Incline

Andy passing the Barr Trail switchback as the incline increased to a 68% grade. A marked departure from the average grade of 41%.

Manitou Incline

Manitou Incline

Almost to the summit after passing the false summit.

Manitou Incline

Manitou Incline

Group photo at the 8,550′ summit where we had just gained 2,020′ of elevation in less than a mile.

Barr Trail

Barr Trail

Going down the trail that Fred Barr and a group of ten men built back in 1917.

Pikes Peak Junction

Pikes Peak Junction

Shall we do a 14er today since we’re here? Crickets.

Barr Trail

Barr Trail

Following the buck fence down the less crowded trail.

Barr Trail

Barr Trail

Overlooking the rustic mountain town of Manitou Springs that is also home to several natural springs. Surpise surprise. No wonder the pakalolo here grows so strong!

Barr Trail

Barr Trail

We soon caught up with Nani coming down the switchback trail.

Manitou Incline

Manitou Incline

Group photo on the incline trail.

Barr Trail

Barr Trail

Hoping the tree doesn’t see-saw on me.

Barr Trail

Barr Trail

Shadow hikers in the morning sun.

Barr Trail

Barr Trail

Following the trail back down to the parking lot.

Manitou Incline

Manitou Incline

Looking back at the popular hiking trail.

GPS Tracks

GPS Tracks

Our up and down hike covered roughly 4.35 miles.

Manitou Eatery

Manitou Eatery

We found a nearby restaurant where the portions were plentiful and so was the wait. Meditating by the creek was optional.

Pikes Peak Highway

Pikes Peak Highway

Permit in hand, we drove up the winding road that was constructed back in 1915.

Pikes Peak Highway

Pikes Peak Highway

We soon experienced hail and snow on the drive to the highest summit on the Front Range. I’m sure the bicyclists and hikers appreciated the change in weather conditions.

Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Leaving nothing but footprints and our money at the peak where the partial pressure of oxygen is only at 60% of that at sea level. One needs a faster rate of respiration to cope with the altitude change.

Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Seeking temporary shelter and warmth in the visitor center that had a gift shop and restaurant. Fun fact. The peak was named after Zebulon Pike who failed to reach the summit due to harsh winter conditions. Consolation prize.

Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Does the snow taste better …

Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

… than the famous high altitude donut? The jury’s still out on that one.

Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Looking down at the Pikes Peak Cog Railway, one of four means to attain the summit. The other three being; hiking, bicycling and motoring.

Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Our first 14er! The easy way. The non-countable way.

Pikes Peak Highway

Pikes Peak Highway

We experienced an avalanche of sorts. On our windshield coming down the snow soaked highway.

Pikes Peak Highway

Pikes Peak Highway

Took a panoramic photo of the stunning scenery near Devil’s Playground.

Catamount Reservoir

Catamount Reservoir

We passed this large body of water popular with locals for fishing and other water activities on our way down. Stopped at REI and Trader Joe’s for our obligatory shopping.

Post hike meal at Casa Defelice where Pete and Nani fired up the grill to cook steaks, sweet potatoes, corn on the cobs and leftover Shrimp Thai Salad. Thanks guys!

Photos taken by Andy Wiegand, Nani Dee and yours truly. Not necessarily in order.

Note: I have been made aware that some hikers have been using my blog as a hiking guide and getting lost on the trails. Please note that this blog was made to document the hike for the crew(s) that did it. That is why some of my comments will seem to have no relevance or meaning to anybody outside of the crew(s) that hiked that trail. My blog was never meant as a hiking guide, so please do not treat it as such. If you find inspiration and entertainment from these hikes, that is more than enough. If you plan on replicating these hikes, do so in the knowledge that you should do your own research accordingly as trail conditions, access, legalities and so forth are constantly in flux. What was current today is most likely yesterdays news. Please be prepared to accept any risks and responsibilities on your own as you should know your own limitations, experience and abilities before you even set foot on a trail, as even the “simplest” or “easiest” of trails can present potential pitfalls for even the most “experienced” hikers. One should also always let somebody know of your hiking plans in case something doesn’t go as planned, better safe than sorry.

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