The popular Incline trail in Manitou Springs reopens to hardy hikers August 6 with a new reservation system in place.
The trail — which is basically just a giant mile-long staircase up a mountain outside of Colorado Springs — was closed early in the coronavirus pandemic over concerns that climbers wouldn't be able to socially distance.
Hiking the extreme trail is still free, but under the new rules, users will have to reserve a time-slot online and then show proof of the reservation to an attendant stationed at the trailhead in order to get a wristband and start climbing.
For the next two weeks, there will be 35 slots available per half hour, every day from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. That number will increase by late August to 45 hikers per half hour. A quick scan of the next week shows that early morning slots, before the hike gets stiflingly hot, are already filling rapidly.
Hikers aren't required to wear a mask on the Incline, but the city recommends putting them on when passing within 6 feet of other trail users.
The reservation website also notes that some businesses in Manitou Springs are offering discounts to customers who come in with a wristband from the trail.