Category Archives: Manitou Springs

Christmas Morning on the Incline: an adventure in snow hiking.

Before we delved into the presents, food and general laziness of Christmas morning, my brother and I headed up to the Incline for a quick early morning workout. The Incline is generally full of icy patches and packed snow from late November until April, and hiking it becomes almost more about foot placement than conditioning. Thankfully, and pretty late to the game, we have discovered Yaktrax which make hiking this thing much more manageable. Starting the day by hiking 2000 feet while the sun is rising is a great start to Christmas mornings. Check out our gallery below for a glimpse into how the Incline will look for the next few months.

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The Waldo Canyon Run

Waldo Canyon is located West of Manitou Springs, in the foothills of Pikes Peak. The canyon contains one of the more challenging trail runs in the area. The trail’s long climbs and overall altitude gain have the Waldo Canyon run a popular training route for those preparing for the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon.

The overall setup of the trail resembles a big lollipop. The first section is about 2 miles long, winding up the hillsides before entering the actual canyon. This first section is pretty gradual, winding mostly uphill until the last 1/2 mile, where the route descends to an open meadow. About 100 yards past the meadow, the trail splits, forming a 3.5 mile loop (there is an obvious sign). To the left the trail winds up a narrow canyon, following a creek. To the right, the trail climbs steeply up a number of switchbacks, cresting numerous times onto ridges before eventually dropping into the canyon with the creek.

I have run the route counterclockwise, which starts with a series of steep switchbacks before leveling out as the trail runs along two ridges and then eventually starts winding downhill. It looks like either way is equally difficult as both require steep climbs right at the beginning. Regardless of which way you take, the views within the loop are amazing; canyon walls, Pikes Peak, Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods and Red Rocks Canyon are all within sight.

The trails is fairly heavily populated, but it seems like most people stop at the meadow and avoid the loop. The trail is dog friendly too. Waldo is my new favorite run in this part of Colorado, one that definitely makes it easy to come back for more.

Map with elevation profile and terrain details.

Do it because: great views of Pikes Peak and the surrounding area, a challenging trail run with a good mix of climbs, flats and descents

Distance: 6.85 miles round trip: 1.69 to the beginning of the loop, 3.47 for the loop, 1.69 miles back to the trailhead.

Directions: From downtown Manitou, head West on Highway 24 for about 2 miles. The parking lot and trailhead is on the right. Watch for a sign on the right hand side of the Highway that indicates a trail is ahead.

View Waldo Canyon – Manitou Springs, CO in a larger map

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Casey’s photo diary of The Manitou Springs Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Parade

Editors Note: This is Casey’s first entry on TWW and we had a few problems with the pictures. After getting everything figured out we have finally thrown up the post, a couple of weeks late but whatever. Thanks to Casey for a great article and providing a constant source of humor for the entire weekend.

I apologize for the tardiness of my little contribution here. The coffin races were a couple of weekends ago, but I prefer to think of it as timely considering that it should help everyone get in a festive mood for the fall.

The weekend of October 24th was the 15th annual Emma Crawford Coffin Races and Parade. It’s awesome that the weirdest part of that sentence is that this town has done this 14 times before. Hopefully the research and archives staff at TWW can provide an informative explanation of how the event came about because even now I have no idea why this happens.  First of all, I realized quickly that it was no coincidence that I would experience this thing for the first time by getting woken up by a one eyed black cat licking my face.  An hour later I vomited at the top of Manitou’s famous Incline in front of a lovely couple and some high schoolers. I was wondering why I had gotten out of bed at all and this was before we had even set foot in the town. Here is what we walked into once we finally made it. Continue reading

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TWW Cool Places: Kinfolks

Kinfolks_logo_lgKinfolks is a bar, disguised as a gear store, fronting as a music venue. Originally starting as a outdoor store that focused on climbing and hiking, Kinfolks has shed most of its gear store identity and has morphed into one of Manitou’s most popular bars. Close to some of Manitou’s best trails, including the Intemann Trail and the Incline, Kinfolks is one of our favorite spots to recharge with a great beer. Long and cozy, the bar area is surprisingly spacious, especially considering the fact that the front part of the store/bar is still dominated by gear racks. Kinfolks has the best microbrew tap in the town; providing a revolving selection of micros from around Colorado and the West Coast.

Kinfolk’s small stage, which hosts small shows throughout the year, fits cozily near the back of the bar and provides enough space to host about 30 to 40 seats with additional standing room. The shows here are generally small bands and solo acts which tend to focus on folk music. Not exactly rockin’, but still a fun place to see some good local acts.

Each bar in town has its own little following. Kinfolks is the Patagonia/Columbia/up scale mountain hippie crew, which provides for an interesting mix and a good respite from some of the more drinker intensive watering holes in town. The best part about this bar, besides the beer, is that dogs are definitely welcome.

Kinfolks

Location: 950 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, CO 80829

Hours: Sunday 12PM to 8PM, Monday and Tuesday 3PM to 1oPM, Wednesday and Thursday 11AM to 10PM, Friday and Saturday 11AM to 11PM

Contact: 719-685-4433, theshop@kinfolksmanitou.com

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TWW’s Cool Places: Swirl Wine Emporium

logoThis is the first in our new series which provides short profiles of stores and places in the various cities and towns that we visit that we highly recommend checking out. First on the list of “TWW’s Cool Places” is Swirl Wine Emporium, located in Manitou Springs, CO. Swirl is a wine shop for people who want to know more about wine. The unique open and airy space (it’s a former bank) contains a large selection of bottles from throughout the world, including some excellent Colorado wines. Additionally, the owner and sommelier Sharon Palmer puts together a wine rack of excellent $12 or cheaper bottles. On top of the wine, Swirl offers a number of wine classes and tastings to broaden people’s wine knowledge (their blog is a good way to stay updated). Swirl also stocks a ton of great microbrew bottles and six-packs from throughout the West. The space plays hosts to a lot of local art (all for sale), and is quickly becoming a gathering point for the locals. Put simply, Swirl is one of Manitou’s best places to visit and explore and has become a new anchor point for the town.

Swirl Wine Emporium

Location: 717 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, CO

Hours: Monday-Friday 12PM-9PM, Saturday 11AM-9PM, Sunday 12PM-8PM

Contact: (719) 685-2294, Sharon@swirlwineemporium.com

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Siamese Twin/Balanced Rock Loop

The trails that run through the Garden of the Gods Park weave, meander and intersect to create an elaborate network that is can be difficult navigate, especially when running. The Siamese Twin/Balanced Rock Loop is TWW’s effort to provide a baseline trail run that you can build off and explore from. Continue reading

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Garden of the Gods

We here at TWW try to avoid writing about obvious features in an effort to avoid putting more people into already crowded parks and recreating areas. The gigantic redstone formations that jut from the ground in shark like fashion make the Garden of the Gods hard to miss. But the park is such a scenic and accessible place to run and ride that ignoring it eliminates one of the best places to get outside in the Manitou/Colorado Springs area.

First, the bad. This park is a hotspot for RVs, families, slow walkers, motorcycles, and photographers. They clog the roadways, they meander down the trails and they add traffic and noise to a pristine environment that is better enjoyed with minimal noise pollution. On top of that are the horse tours that bring their mounts through some of the trails and liberally deposit fertilizer within sneaker striking distance.

However, there is good. Thanks to the deluge of tourists in the area, and the need to maintain the park’s geographic features, the city undertook a project that rerouted the roads, eliminating the ability of cars to drive through the park’s middle and regulating traffic to a loop that winds around the perimeter of the park, leaving the more pristine areas of the park inaccessible via car. The roadways are smooth, incredibly wide and run in only one direction around the park, cutting down on cross traffic and reducing car speed. The center of the park, its most scenically striking area and once a car thoroughfare, has been reclaimed and now sports numerous trails. Additionally, most tourists stick close to the roadways and parking lots, leaving a lot of the trails empty. And parking here is abundant, with each lot allowing easy access to the trails that ring the park.

For runners, the park sports a number of dirt trails that are mostly rolling, winding through low foothills and open meadows, with everyone allowing views of the park, the mountains to the West, and Pikes Peak. The trails are well marked and hard packed, and generally well maintained. Running along the road is another good option, as the roadway’s bike lane is wide enough for both runners and cyclists. The loop here is not long enough for a good ride, but the park is a great way to start or end a longer cycling loop. Some of the hills in the park are steep enough for climbing intervals, allowing for a tortuous, yet scenic, workout.

The Garden’s location makes it easy to loop it into longer runs or rides in the area. Check out the Intemann Trail/Red Rocks Canyon Loop and the Cheyenne Canyon Loop for routes that run through or near the park, and run our Siamese Twins Loop to explore some of the Garden’s hidden formations.  The park’s location, and perhaps one of its best features, is its location near Manitou Springs and the West Side of Colorado Springs, making a long run followed up by a cold beer possible without hopping in a car, or RV.

Trail Map here (PDF) and here (also PDF).
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