The Manitou Incline began as a railway to build a pipeline in 1903, became a tourist attraction in 1908, and operated through the 1989 season, but did not open again after a rockslide destroyed 500 feet of the track in spring 1990. The rails were removed, but the ties remained. Some local fitness enthusiasts began climbing the Incline, which gains 2000 vertical feet of elevation in 1 mile, for the workout, and word spread, until theIncline had an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 annual trips of people hiking by the No Trespassing signs. With its extreme popularity, through the years there were repeated attempts to form an agreement with the three land owners involved, with continual reports that the ink was almost dry. Hiking the Incline finally became legal on February 1, 2013, with Colorado Springs Parks and Rec becoming the managing entity. CS Parks and Rec has more information.
A nonprofit group, Incline Friends, formed in 2011 to support the process to make the Incline legal, and now supports the Incline through fundraising and volunteer projects. Friends of the Peak joined Incline Friends and CS Parks and Rec in 2012, 2013, and 2014 on projects to close social/renegade trails around the Incline and address erosion issues.
In fall 2014, repair on the Incline began. CS Parks and Rec hired a contractor for the heavy work. Friends of the Peak and Incline Friends helped build the new connector trail from the top of the Incline to Barr Trail. The Incline was closed for construction on August 18, 2014, and reopened on December 5, 2014.
After the repairs, Roger Austin counted the ties, in August 2015.