incline reservations (copy) (copy)

Jess Davis, right, and Rylee Kraft from Colorado Springs Park and Recreation check in a hiker at the base of the Manitou Springs Incline in August 2020 on the first day of its reopening with required reservations.

A slight adjustment has been made to the ever-evolving reservation system for the Manitou Incline.

Hikers of the popular mountainside staircase can now book spots for free up to eight weeks in advance. Previously, they could do so no more than seven days out.

"This should clear up one of the more confusing aspects of the system," read a notice from Trails and Open Space Coalition, which remains opposed to the one-year-old reservation system.

With the previously short reservation window, the coalition said it "regularly received phone calls or messages from confused applicants who thought there were no openings available."

The move follows other tweaks to the system jointly managed by the cities of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs.

First this summer, managers adjusted the number of hikers allowed in every half-hour slot — accounting for busy times when The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway adds traffic to the shared, residential Ruxton corridor. Later, managers set new rules for people who arrived at the Incline's base without reservations. They have been allowed to fill in for slots unused by people with reservations, said Kurt Schroeder, representing the Colorado Springs parks department that pays for attendants at the trailhead.

The no-show rate has regularly hovered around 40%. That's been of high concern to advocates.

"But it does leave the opportunity for folks that are not as dialed in to the (reservation) process to still show up and have a chance," Schroeder previously told The Gazette.

He and representatives of Manitou Springs say they have been pleased by the reservation system, meant to cut crowds and manage traffic in town. Data from in-ground trail counters suggest hiking is down more than 20% compared with the year prior to reservations.

Load comments