One of southern Colorado’s most popular tourist trails, the Manitou Incline, could see a change that hikers responded to with a mixed reaction.
Colorado Springs Utilities, City Parks, and the Forest Service aim to make some changes by adding more exit points if people need to tap out early.
The issue for hikers is they are not supposed to go back down the incline so they are advised to take the adjacent Barr Trail down, but that’s also the route to the top of Pikes Peak so things are getting a little crowded.
For many, to make it to the top of the more than 2,700 steps on the incline is a right of passage,
But for Bohumil ‘Crazy Bob’ Stuka, it’s just a routine.
“[I do it] at least twice a day if I miss it try to do it many more you know?” said Stuka. “This is a part of my life. [The] Incline it’s my basic training.”
Bill Beagle with the Manitou Incline Friends said they are working with other organizations to add three more exit points along the trail.
Currently, when people make it to the top of the Manitou Incline, they come down Barr Trail but because of erosion concerns leaders are hoping to divert people and add more exit points to the North Side of the Incline, onto Ute Indian Trail.
“There are some people who are out-of-towners, or just not really in good shape, there should be bailout points,” said Suzanna Barreras, Colorado Springs native. “I know with Barr Trail. the only thing I don’t like it about is its really long and kind of boring.”
Right now there’s one point where you can bail out about 1200 steps in and take Barr Trail down.
The city is hoping to add an escape point up 860 steps in and extend Ute Indian Trail up to the incline summit for everyone who comes down, but regulars aren’t so sure.
They believe no matter how many times you’ve done it, its not for the faint of heart.
“Even for me its hard each time, I try to push myself,” said Crazy Bob.
Bill Beagle said this has been in the master plan for several years and these things take time.
There are no concrete plans but he hopes to begin construction before winter.