What do you call friends that voluntarily wake up at 3:45 a.m. to go on a sunrise hike with you? Amazing. Somehow, my friend Shreya and I managed to round up seven of our friends to hike the Manitou Incline at sunrise this morning. We hiked it last week during spring break, and when we decided that we wanted to hike the Incline at sunrise this week, we invited several of our friends. My motto when hiking or engaging in mountainous activities is always the more the merrier, but even I was pretty impressed that my friends were willing to get up so early for this venture. Hiking the Incline involved leaving Denver at 4:30, which is earlier than I even like to think about.
The Incline itself is the relic of the Mt. Manitou Scenic Incline Railway, which took tourists up to the top of Manitou in cable cars. It was closed in 1990 due to a rockslide, and the rails were removed and sold to a mining company. Just the railroad ties are left today, and it has become a popular hiking and running area for locals. The Incline is approximately 1.02 miles and has an average grade of 41%. Translation: the Incline is the most intense stairmaster you will ever find.
Interestingly, the Incline is technically private property, and so everyone who hikes and climbs the Incline is trespassing. However there are currently meetings in place trying to legalize the Incline and it’s kind of an unspoken rule that everyone hikes the Incline regardless of its private property status. And the Incline is definitely popular. Even on a Thursday at 5:30 a.m. when my friends and I rolled into town we barely grabbed the last three spots in the parking lot. Colorado people are intense. Although, part of the reason that the parking lot was so crowded was because there was a large group from the Fort Carson base at the Incline to partake in some physical training.
Anyway, along with the soldiers, my friends and I hit the Incline while it was still dark outside. We were under a bit of a time constraint, since we were racing the sun to the top, so we tried to hustle as much as possible.
My brave soldiers
During our climb to the top, I had to remember to look back every once in awhile, because the views were beautiful. I highly recommend sunrise hiking to anyone interested.
Overall, it was a great hike. I can’t imagine a better way to start my day than with a hike. It sounds cheesy but Shreya and I have recently talked about how hiking and being in the mountains is soul cleansing. My soul was definitely cleansed this morning!
The top of the Incline also hooks up with the Barr Trail, which is a trail that you can hike all the way to Pike’s Peak. Correspondingly, there were some great views of the sunrise hitting the clouds over Pike’s Peak. To get down from the Incline, you can either hike back down the Incline or take the Barr Trail down. Hiking the Incline down is another workout in of itself, so my friends and I opted to take the Barr Trail. The trail is all downhill so it’s a fun trail to run, and we probably ran down 75% of the trail, taking occasional breaks.
How am I going to spend the rest of my day? I will probably need a major nap at some point. Oh and of course I am going for another trail run with my friend Claire at 3:00 p.m. Two workouts in one day, that’s the Colorado way!