History of the Manitou Incline








This is a work in progress, if you have additional info or photos please e-mail me.


The Manitou Incline



Completed in 1907 the Manitou Incline was a 1 mile cable tram built to support the construction of a hydroelectric plant and it's waterline. After performing this service the railway was then purchased by Dr. Brumbach and turned into a tourist attraction. The incline boasted a 16 minute ride to "scenic splendors", 10 miles of hiking trails in Mount Manitou Park, and claimed to be the "longest and highest incline on the globe."

Old Manitou Incline Postcards

The original station at the top of the incline burned down in 1914 but was quickly rebuilt.
This photo shows the original summit house. It's construction was quite simple, a leftover of the days the incline served it's construction purposes.




One of the original cars.
The original cars that carried the passengers to the summit were little more than the original box cars used for hauling construction materials, but with wooden benches added.




As seen in this postcard the 1914 replacement summit house was much more elaborate. This building was able to accomodate a store on the summit and also provide a more protected building in which riders could seek shelter in the event of a storm. Spencer Penrose bought the incline in 1923 and made it part of his tourist attraction empire, which is now owned by the Oklahoma Publishing Co. During this time the cars were upgraded to allow for a retractable roof and more safety. The summit station was again rebuilt in 1958 and lasted until it was dismantled upon closure of the incline.



1948 Summit Photo (normally taken with the camera rotated to over emphasize the slope of the incline).


A postcard of the lower station of the incline.


The Manitou Incline became a prominant feature above Manitou Springs. It was a popular tourist attraction and remained busy for many years. However it was plagued with rockslides that made the maintenance costs very high.



1969 Summit Photo and the final version of car used on the incline.

Red Mountain Incline

Few people today are aware that the Manitou Incline breifly had competition from the Red Mountain Incline. However, the Red Mountain Incline could not offer the same trail access and views of the Manitou Incline and soon went under. There are still some remains of the old dance hall and station at the summit of Red Mountain. If you know where to look you can still see the scar from the old track of this incline railroad, but it takes far more effort than seeing the Manitou Incline scar.



View from summit of Red Mtn Incline


A car used on the Red Mountain Incline.




Advertisement for the Red Mountain Incline.

At the Summit

The Manitou Incline boasted of the 10 miles of hiking trails in Mount Manitou Park. Locals and tourists enjoyed these trails for their stunning views and unique rock formations.


Card touting the views of Pikes Peak.


Bub and Tige Manitou Incline Card.


The early lookout on Eagle's Nest.


Tourists enjoying Manitou Park.


Stage Rock and Eagle Cliff, a couple of the many rock formations on Mount Manitou.

Base of the Incline

At the base of the incline several businesses flourished in their day. Joseph Hiestand owned a curio store named the Ute Iron Springs. The Manitou Casino was at the base for several years. There even was a Manitou Electric Railway known as the Dinky Trolley that ran from the Stratton Loop Station on Manitou Avenue up to the Casino and Cog Station over what is now the Intemann Trail.

Iron Springs Hotel


Another view of the hotel and incline


In 1990 the Manitou Incline closed after a rockslide damaged the tracks again and the Cog Railway decided to cease the failing operation and focus on the profitable Cog Railway. Ever since then the route has seen a steady stream of runners, joggers, hikers, walkers, and even some crawlers. The route is short and steep, gaining nearly 2000 feet of elevation in 3/4 of a mile it is truely a Colorado workout.