Manitou Incline to close during three historical running events this summer

The Pikes Peak Ascent & Marathon and Salomon Running are American Trail Running Association (ATRA) corporate members. ATRA’s Peter Maksimow is the Barr Trail Mountain Race event committee member. ATRA is an International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) associate member.

When runners in the 2019 Barr Trail Mountain Race and the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon make their way up and down the tricky switchbacks known as the “W’s” on Barr Trail, they’ll have the course largely to themselves.

As in recent years, the City of Colorado Springs has agreed to close the Manitou Incline on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 24 and 25, during the Pikes Peak races. And new this year, the Incline will be closed during the Barr Trail Mountain Race on July 28. Closure times will be 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on July 28, and 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on both Aug. 24, and 25.

Pikes Peak Marathon, Inc. President Ron Ilgen said safety concerns for all trail users should always be a top priority in such large-scale backcountry events.

“We appreciate the support from the City of Colorado Springs in closing the Incline during the Barr Trail Mountain Race, as well as the Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent,” Ilgen said. “The chance of injury with runners racing on Barr Trail is our primary concern and we hope that the Incline hikers understand.”

About 400 runners will make their way to Barr Camp and back – a 12.6 mile round trip – during the Barr Trail Mountain Race, which is the 2019 Skyrunning North American Championship race. Some 1,800 will run in the Pikes Peak Ascent, a 13.32-mile climb up Barr Trail to the finish line at the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak.

As part of the Salomon Golden Trail Series, the world’s best mountain runners will lead a field of 800 to the summit in the Pikes Peak Marathon, then charge back to Manitou Springs at break-neck speed. Since Incline users are required to return via Barr Trail, city and marathon officials have agreed that the additional foot traffic from the Incline could be hazardous and closure during the races is in the best interest of all.

The Incline ascends nearly 2,000 feet and climbing the challenging staircase of railroad ties has become one of the most popular outdoor activities along Colorado’s Front Range. It’s common for more than 2,000 hikers to make the trip on a weekend day.

Don’t live in Manitou Springs? You can always “climb” the Manitou Incline virtually on Google Maps Street-view thanks to ATRA’s Pikes Peak Trekker project.