|Elevation Gain||243 ft|
|My Time||25 min|
The Rueter-Hess Incline, also referred to as the “Parker Incline” by the FMLT intern, is a new recreation area in Douglas County. The intern convinced me to give it a try and it was a nice workout close by.
It may be a perfect opportunity to get some outdoor exercise, start one of those New Year’s Resolutions, or get back in elevation shape for a trip to the mountains.
The park itself is nice but still a bit under developed. The main feature is the one mile feature that contains the incline. There is another trail, the canal trail, which leads to some unfinished trails on the outskirts of the park.
The incline is a nice short trek that measures just over a mile. It is a loop to the top of a hill with two options. If you take the loop clockwise you will take the incline portion to the top of the hill.
This incline is 132 steps that covers about 150 feet of elevation gain. The steps are spaced out pretty nicely so you don’t have to take one after the other. There is also ample room so if you have to take a break people should be able to get around you.
This was definitely got the heart rate moving. I learned the hard way that trying to talk while climbing to the top was not in my best interest. The top leads to nice views of the front range, Parker, and the Hess reservoir.
Once at the top the trail loops back around and takes a more gradual descent back towards the parking lot. While it is more gradual, there are still some steep spots coming down in this direction. Make sure to check your footing!
The Backwards Loop
So we ended up doing the loop three times. On the second try we decided to go counter-clockwise to go up the hill first and take the incline down. Surprisingly this seemed more difficult! I have some theories on this.
I believe that taking the steps up bring you to a natural cadence. When you take the trail up you are just walking up a hill that has inclines up to a 25% grade but it isn’t portioned out into to steps. We just tried to plow up it and were huffing and puffing a bit.
Taking the incline portion down can also be a challenge to stay at a steady pace and not get ahead of yourself now that you have the gravity assist. The view looking down also makes it look steeper and just as intimidating!
Either way that you decide to go, make sure you take your time and enjoy the views!
Elevation and Distance
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 1.07 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 243 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 6,299 feet. I was also moving for a total of 25 minutes.
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So the step count is going to be a little high because I did this several times as a loop. The effort here is all about the elevation. Walking up a staircase is going to be a challenge. If you take it nice and slow and take some breaks you should be ok.
At its base level the incline course is a nice wide dirt and gravel track. The steps are wood framed and well designed. I can see this track getting a bit challenging if covered with snow or ice due to how steep it is so watch out for that. In good weather you should be ok with a regular exercise shoe.
The Rueter-Hess incline is located near Heirloom Pkwy and Hess Road in Douglas County. There is a decent parking area for about 20 – 25 cars. Porto-potties are available at the parking area.
I liked the Rueter-Hess Incline. It isn’t very long so we did it 3 times and still were only there for just over an hour. What I liked is that the hill is challenging either way that you go but then it gets a bit easier and you have time to catch your breath.
Personally I think going up the incline was actually easier than going up the trail to the right. I know it can look intimidating but the steps are a good way to get into a rhythm and set a pace. I’m glad that I gave this one a try and if I lived closer I would definitely be doing it a lot!
I am rating it as moderate as the elevation is pretty steep for a beginner. It may be an easier hike for you if you are used to elevation gains on hikes.
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