• Mariel Megan Ross

New incline is the hottest outdoor activity in Denver

25 minutes from Sterling Ranch, you'll find a heart-pounding climb

Picture I snapped halfway up the Incline


Here at the Roundup we've been hearing a lot about Denver's new Incline Challenge, which is about 25 minutes from Sterling Ranch. Similar to the famous Manitou Incline, the Incline Challenge is essentially a heart-pounding stairwell up the side of a hill.

Alex feeling it after ascent #2

My husband Alex (Focus' and the Roundup's real estate attorney) and I stopped to see what all the buzz was about!


The new Rosie Rueter Trail and Incline Challenge has 132 large steps in the shadow of Rueter-Hess Reservoir. The short dirt trail to the incline, as well as the stairs themselves, are much wider than your typical single track trail, so it's relatively easy to maintain your distance and enjoy the climb to the top.


The entire trail from the parking lot to the top and back down again is just over a mile long. So the Incline Challenge isn't quite the workout that the Manitou Incline is, which ascends nearly 2,000 feet of elevation over less than 1 mile and has 2,768 steps.


The Incline Challenge is great because it's so versatile. If you're looking for a lung-busting workout, do the loop several times and you'll be sweating up a storm. We saw a number of people doing laps - and those last few steps up the incline were a bear the second or third time they went around the loop!

Dirt trail coming down from the top

We also saw smaller children, grandparents, and even a mother with a stroller pushing her way up the non-stair part of the loop (you can get to the top by either taking the stairs or taking the dirt loop trail, which is an easier ascent). So while I wouldn't say the incline is great for everyone, it is much more accessible than the Manitou Incline.


What's at the top? Big views! You can see the Tech Center, Downtown Denver, and all the way south to Pikes Peak. There's also a large gathering area perfect for pictures and a snack and water break.


How to get to the incline? The Incline Challenge is about 5 minutes off I-25 and Castle Pines Parkway - so it's about 25 minutes from Sterling Ranch.

Tech Center view from the top

North of Hess Road, the Rosie Rueter Trail and Incline Challenge is open daily, sunrise to sunset. There's a dirt parking lot at the base, and you'll walk up a dirt trail to the stairs. Also, pets are allowed on the trails, but not on the incline.


We're planning to stop by again and next time we're going to bring our 3 boys. They're excited to give Denver's hottest new outdoor activity a try!


-Mariel