Closure of the Manitou Incline not the end of the world

Sept. 1, 2014

Brandon Applehans
[email protected]

The sign reads: CLOSED FOR REPAIRS.

The Manitou Incline, a popular recreational location for locals and tourists, closed on Aug. 18. It will remain closed until late November or early December.

There are signs warning away hikers. Those who chose to bypass the signs may likely face a $100 fine. The project is estimated to cost $1,586,486.

The Trail Enhancement Project is intended to repair various damages caused by general wear and tear and flooding. About 30% of the trail has moderate damage and 20% severe damage. Crews will fix retaining walls, remove rebar and loose debris as well as build new drainage structures and stabilize trail ties.

Though the trail needs repairs to be safer for  hikers, the timing for the closure  was unfortunate. The incline closed a week before the semester started. What do we do now?

Anyone who has hiked the incline in years past knows the trail itself has never been the safest in the city. Nonetheless, people seem to participate in the hike as sort of a mission. They challenge themselves to reach the top. Like a goal to check off their bucket list.

Even though the trail is unavailable, we shouldn’t be too down because Colorado Springs has plenty more options for outdoor recreation.

With places such as Red Rocks and Garden of the Gods just minutes away from the UCCS campus, one can’t help but try them. The challenge might not be there, but the views are still present.

Red Rocks Canyon Open Space is fifteen minutes away from campus. This is located south of US 24, between Colorado Springs and Manitou. With sights of the mountains  and parks throughout the open space, this spot serves a great hiking experience with many trails both intermediate and challenging.

Pikes Peak Greenway serves as another useful trail for outdoorsy students. This trail runs north and south throughout the whole city of Colorado Springs. With Pikes Peak Greenway connecting to the New Santa Fe trail, it actually runs through the Air Force Academy all the way to Palmer Lake.

One of the more talked about hiking spots is Garden of the Gods. It is very popular among students and has many purposes. This park serves as a hangout, as well as having multiple options of trails to choose from.

If you are a student wanting to get involved in hikes, trails and other outdoor activities, the university can also help. The Student Outdoor Leadership Expeditions office at the Recreation Center allows students to rent bikes, fishing equipment and camping necessities. Many of these are already paid for through tuition fees.

S.O.L.E. also plans trips for students to go backpacking, mountain climbing or fly-fishing.

Even if the most well-known hiking area is out of commission, the options are still endless.