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Wyoming Wanderers; The climb of a lifetime

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sarah Post
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

Every assignment has its perks, and in my opinion, one of the best perks of living in Wyoming is the endless opportunities to explore the great outdoors. 

A few weeks ago a few friends and I took a trip to Manitou Springs, Colorado, so we could attempt to conquer the Manitou Incline. The Manitou Incline is a staircase hike rated extreme in difficulty. It is only one mile long but has 2,020 feet of elevation gain, 2,768 steps and up to a 68% grade in some parts. 

Even after reading the statistics and reviews calling the hike “strenuous,” “extreme'' and “NOT easy,” I was ready to get climbing! We made reservations for a Saturday afternoon and we drove the three hours to Manitou Springs for the day. As we got closer to our destination, we could see the hike, a line cut out of the trees going straight up the mountain. 

The parking lot for the hike is small and at the bottom of a hill in a neighborhood. We paid for parking and wandered up the hill until we eventually found the base for the incline. Walking towards it was intimidating, as some of the incline looked overly steep and I couldn't even tell where the top is or when the hike ends. 

As soon as we started climbing, I could tell it would be challenging; but we took breaks about every 300 steps, which made it a little easier. The further we climbed, the more awed I was by the views. There were snow-capped mountains to our left, the city of Manitou Springs behind us and more mountains and hills to our right. Every direction we turned was stunning. 

When we reached the top of the incline after about an hour and a half of climbing, I felt so accomplished! I turned around and looked down at the 2,768 steps I climbed and felt so proud of myself. I made it to the top of the incline after all, a hike experienced hikers call extreme. 

The Barr trail took us back down the mountain, which was about three miles of switchbacks. We saw more of the snow-capped mountains on this trail and could see train tracks running through the hills. 

We ended our day by wandering around Manitou Springs, going to some local shops and getting dinner at a local restaurant. 

I have always loved exploring, and F.E Warren's location provides the opportunity to visit so many new places. I was so proud of myself for completing the Manitou Incline, and over-the-top excited I was able to visit a new place. Now I can’t wait to add new destinations to my Wyoming bucket list, then scratch them off.