The Incline: Phase III Construction

Reconstructing the Manitou Incline

Manitou Incline Open

Timberline Landscaping began work on the third phase of reconstruction on the Manitou Incline on August 21, 2017 following the Pikes Peak Marathon & Ascent. The trail was due to reopen in early December but has opened early. As of November 22, 2017 the Incline is again OPEN!

Phase III focused on the top portion of the trail, beginning at tie number 2,137 (the False Summit). This section of the trail, which has an elevation increase of approximately 500 vertical feet, received similar attention to Phases I & II. Damaged ties were replaced, a cabling system was installed along all ties to prevent future movement, and retaining walls, rock dams, and water chases will aid in prevention of erosion. We utilized a helicopter again to aid in the transport of materials.

We are honored to have completed work on such a well-loved trail in our community.

This is Timberlines third time working on the Manitou Incline. Phase 1 of the Manitou Incline Trail Renovation was also done by Timberline, and we received a National Association of Landscape Professionals award for the project. Phase II was completed in 2016.

Timberline’s Progress on the Manitou Incline – By the Numbers

Manitou Incline construction statistics

The Manitou Incline is a popular trail in Manitou Springs, Colorado. This difficult trail is not for the faint of heart. Although it is a short trail, its average grade is 41%, with a steepest of 68%. The Manitou Incline’s distance is just a mile, but it climbs very quickly, gaining 2,000 feet of elevation. The Incline was even voted America’s Toughest Trail! It provides a beautiful Manitou Springs view and a fun climb for experienced hikers.
The Manitou Incline has a rich history. It began in 1907 as a pathway for cable cars to carry pipeline materials for Pike’s Peak. Once the pipelines were finished, the Incline was visited often by tourists, hikers and exercisers, and was only recently established as an official hiking trail.

• Manitou Incline Distance: 1 mile
• Manitou Incline Elevation: 8,600 feet
• Overall Gain: 2,000 feet
• Trail Difficulty: Very Difficult
• Average Hike Time: 30 – 60 minutes
• Cost: Free
• Hours of use: sunrise to sunset. No night hiking permitted.
• Pets: not allowed

Colorado Springs Trails Guide

Timberline Landscaping is proud to have done construction on the following trails. We put together this guide to help you plan your next hiking or biking journey! Refer to the Colorado Springs Trails Guide infographic below for trail details, difficulty and pet regulations, and refer to the map below for directions to your trail of choice. Keep in mind that each trail has different hours of operation, so please refer to the “Learn More” links provided in the infographic for that information.

For more information about our trail building across Colorado Springs, see our Trails page!

Full Description…

Manitou Incline ConstructionAs of today Phase III of construction on the Manitou Incline has reached 90% complete! As long as we do not experience significant weather delays the trail will reopen on December 1st, 2017.

All retaining walls and water chases are finished. The tie steps have been placed and bracketed. Our next steps will be to add the cable that will attach to each step and lay erosion control netting along the sides of the trail. Care has been taken with the layout of steps to ensure that the trail is still a very difficult climb.

Manitou Incline ConstructionManitou Incline Construction


As of today we are estimated to be 60% complete with our work on The Manitou Incline’s third phase of construction. 24 retaining walls have been completed and we expect to have the remaining 7 in by the end of the week. All 10 water chases are finished. These measures will protect the trail from further erosion.

The entire stair case has been laid out and our next focus will be on installing the metal brackets and cabling that will ensure that steps stay in place for many years to come. Erosion control netting will be flown in on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week (weather permitting).

Manitou Incline Construction

We are currently estimated to be 25% through with Phase III of the reconstruction on the Manitou Incline. Our focus at the beginning of the project has been to get the proper supplies to the trail (via helicopter) and to remove old drainage culverts and unsafe steps.

To date, we have started 4 of the 17 total retaining walls and 5  of the 11 water chases.

Since the trail is so steep, crews had to dig out flat areas next to the steps in order to create flat spots for the helicopter to drop items such as concrete, timbers, and metal pipes. Each load is carefully weighed to ensure that we are carrying a safe amount, while also maximizing each trip that the helicopter takes. The trail is marked to indicate where specific items will be placed to avoid having to carry heavy materials up or down the Incline.

Manitou Incline Construction



Timberline Manitou Incline team

Since 2014, Timberline Landscaping has had the responsibility and privilege of working on phases I, II, and III of the reconstruction of the Manitou Incline. Working on such a beloved Colorado staple is an honor for our team, but such an honor does not come without a significant amount of work.

Our dedicated team of trail builders has spent countless hours not only reconstructing the trail and improving its safety and quality, but also climbing it countless times and hauling heavy equipment up and down the Incline. They have even been visited by rogue bears – all for the benefit of the trail and its faithful hikers.

To honor our team and all their hard work, we wanted to highlight our teammates and give them the opportunity to tell you about their experiences on the trail. We asked Erik Mondragon (Project Manager), Hugo Benitez (Foreman, Helicopter Director), Diego Martinez, Omar Gonzalez, and Victor Bravo to share some of the insights they’ve gathered working on the Incline.

team on the incline

What does it mean to you to have worked on such a popular trail?

Mondragon: “It meant a great deal to me, and still does, because I really want to do the last phase! The Incline is something that doesn’t come across as an opportunity to do work on, ever. I think we were very blessed to be able to do so.” Full Description…

Work on the Incline will be drawing to a close in just a few short weeks and everything is expected to be wrapped up in time for a December 2nd reopening.  The number of steps may be changing, but only very slightly, and will be shared once work is 100 % completed. New pads are going in to more accurately track the number of people climbing the trail each day.manitou incline construction

The last of our helicopter delivery days was completed last week. Topsoil, netting, and seeding is complete which will help with erosion mitigation. In total 200 tons of topsoil and 100 tons of riprap was flown in. When possible riprap was collected from the wooded areas near the trail and brought over via a pulley system to the trail (video below).

Our most exciting days are those that we were visited by a bear and her cubs. They kept a safe distance but certainly serve as a reminder that we should all be aware when out hiking!

Thank you for your patience and support while the trail has been closed. See you on December 2nd!

manitou incline construction




Things are progressing very well for our team up on The Incline!

Construction of timber walls has been completed, bringing our focus toward rip-rap boulder walls which are being constructed using 45 + tons of rock. Some of the rock being utilized was collected off the  mountain itself and transported via pulley systems out of the woods and to the trail.

Many storm water chases are now in place. These will serve to direct water away from the trail when it rains to save the trail from further erosion. When the trail re-opens you will notice that many drainage swales have been constructed 5-10 feet away from the trail to provide further protection from run-off.

Next week we will have three helicopter delivery days to fly in topsoil and additional riprap boulders.

With our first couple of weeks of construction on The Incline complete, we wanted to provide an update of what has happened thus far.

Much of our effort in the first weeks was placed upon organizing materials and preparing for our first helicopter day. Each helicopter drop location was numbered and marked on the trail and loads carefully planned by weight with a total of 54 loads and 100,000 pounds of materials flown in to date. These drops included timbers, concrete, augers, metal brackets, and a port-o-potty, among other things.  Some items have been carried by hand up the trail including wheelbarrows, shovels, and one 500 pound drill that we were unable to fly in. The crew hikes The Incline each day to the jobsite.

Helicopter dropping supplies on Manitou Incline

To date our crews have completed 4 water chases, started 9 retaining walls, and installed or repaired 100+ timber steps.

Manitou Incline steps

Here is a closer look at what it is like on The Incline when the helicopter is delivering supplies!

We get it – your favorite trail, the Manitou Incline, is closed for re-construction, and you’re itching for another good hike. No worries, there are plenty of hiking trails in Manitou Springs for you to visit!

Here are some directions to Manitou Springs and local attractions you can explore while you wait for the Incline to reopen:

Map of Manitou Springs Hiking

Want to see more Colorado Springs trails? Check out our Colorado Springs trails guide and map.

National Association of Landscape Professionals Merit Award Winner - Eco restoration

To say that The Manitou Incline Renovation was a large undertaking would be both obvious…and an understatement. Before placing our name in the hat for the project we asked ourselves, “are we crazy?” Since we dove in headfirst and have now completed Phase I and II of construction, the answer to that may very well be yes.

Having recently been honored with the Grand Award for Erosion Control and Ecological Restoration by the National Association of Landscape Professionals for our work on The Incline, we thought we would share just a bit of what went into the massive project. Full Description…