In 1907, Dr. Newton N. Brumback sanctioned the construction of a funicular railway that would provide access to the water tanks on top of Mount Manitou. This railroad would also allow access to the hydroelectric plant and service pipes on the mountain. However, shortly after its construction, the railroad was converted into a tourist attraction. The Incline Railway ran several trips a day from Manitou Springs to the top of Mount Manitou where passengers could eat lunch and enjoy the fresh mountain air. Plagued by rock slides and wash outs, the Railway ran from 1907 until it closed in 1990.
After its closure in 1990, the Railway bed quickly became a popular hiking trail for those looking for an incredibly intense workout. This is no hike for the faint of heart: the Incline starts at a measly 6,600 feet and climbs just over 2,000 feet in ¾ of a mile. Several parts of the trail are steep and rocky with exposed pipes and rebar from the days of the train. For those getting into more than they bargained for, there is a bailout point about 2/3 of the way up that connects with Barr Trail and the way down. Those determined to finish, don't be disheartened by the false summit; it means you only have ¼ of the trail left! When you get to the top, the trail connects with Barr Trail and you are clear to begin your 3 mile descent into Manitou Springs. Maps for the Incline and connecting trails can be purchased at the Cog Railway Depot for 25 cents. If you're looking for detailed maps and trail information, head on over to the Incline Base Camp..