From Utility to Attraction: A History of Mt. Manitou Park & Incline Railway
From Utility to Attraction: A History of Mt. Manitou Park & Incline Railway by Eric Swab
Published by Manitou Springs Heritage Center
The Mt. Manitou Incline Railway started as a cable car operation build to install a pipe line from the top of Mount Manitou to a hydroelectric plant as the base of the mountain.
In 1908, thanks to the initiative of some local citizens, it began transporting passengers to its Upper Station, and soon became the area’s most visited and popular tourist attraction. Visitors from all over the world as well as local residents alike enjoyed the unparalleled view from the top over the town below and the eastern plains as far as the Kansas border.
After its closure in 1990, the roadbed of the Incline immediately gained much publicity among hikers eager to challenge the strenuous climb – one mile in length and 2,000 feet difference in elevation. Over a period of 20 years, users of the Incline have attempted to stabilize the roadbed and to mitigate erosion. All this happened when unauthorized use of the Incline was tolerated.
In 2013, a formal use agreement was signed by interested entities, Now , nearly 25 years after the Mt. Manitou Incline Railway ceased operations, this climbing trail receives almost more publicity that the cable cars did during their 80-year operation.