Colorado might be the ‘homiest’ feeling place I’ve ever been. Jus tstepping off the plane and getting a nose full of the Rocky Mountain air after was enough to make you fall in love. Rachel and I took a little long weekend to Colorado Springs (more specifically, Manitou Springs) for some hiking, climbing, and photography.


Shot just outside of Red Rocks Park area.

We stayed at an AirBnB in Manitou (we love you Merril), and spent plenty of time hiking around the area. My lovely amigo Vanessa helped us to find some trails less-traveled.

Manitou itself is a little oasis tucked away in the Rocky Mountain foothills. Lots of little shops and tourist traps, and central to a lot of day-hiking opportunities. We have to highlight Matt Carpenter, who runs a little ice cream shop in town and also happens to be record-holder for ascending of Pike’s Peak and a legendary marathon runner. Also, a cool dude in general. So if you’re passing through down, go get a cone and have a conversation with him.


We stuffed as much as we could in to our (pretty much improvisational) itinerary. Seven hikes in three days, a few of which ended up being pretty demanding. We definitely felt the effects of the higher altitude: cost of such a short trip. I can recommend all of the hikes below. Mt. Cutler was probably our favorite, as the main trail circles around the backside of the mountain to give you a completely panoramic view. Very easy hike for families and such too.


  • Red Rocks Hike
  • Garden of the Gods
  • Dinner at PJ’s in Manitou
  • Matt Carpenter’s Ice Cream



  • Chasing the sunrise via rental car
  • Maintou Incline Hike
  • Barr Trail back down



Tracklog of our hike up the Manitou Incline and hike down Ute Pass. [.KMZ file for Google Earth]

The Manitou Incline was probably the most physically demanding segment of the trip. The trail lays on the remains of an old funicular railway. The grueling ascent, while having nice man-made steps, is still a 2000′ foot elevation gain in less than a mile of hiking: average grade of 45% (24°) and as steep as 68% (34°) in places.


We didn’t get to catch a concert here, but of course we had to get the obligatory stair-climb and photo from Red Rocks amphitheater.