Mountain bikes welcome
The United States Forest Service (USFS) has approved the construction of more than 30 miles of new trail for use by mountain bikers, hikers and horses. The trail will be part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST) and the Colorado Trail (CT) and will be located near North Pass on Highway 114 south of Gunnison.
“Because of its remote nature and length, I think the majority of users on the new segment of trail will be mountain bikers,” said Gunnison Trails executive director Dave Wiens. “There are not a lot of horses out there, and the through-hiker use is pretty sparse, as well. Like the Crest Trail, this has the potential to be a destination spot for mountain biking, especially if it’s a good trail.”
Right now, adds Wiens, the Forest Service is considering making all 30-plus miles of the new trail single track.
“If it’s flowy and rolly and awesome you could ride it as an out and back and essentially be on a different trail back from the one you went out on.”
Currently the trail is nothing more than road markings and flaggings, but its construction has been funded and work is slated to begin next summer, according to the USFS.
In the decision to approve the trail the USFS cites the existence of the local mountain biking community and assorted advocacy groups and volunteers as potential partners in the trail’s planning, construction and maintenance.
“The Crested Butte Mountain Biking Association has the capability to put on giant workdays, and Gunnison Trails can put out a pretty good volunteer effort,” said Wiens. “Combined, there is a huge volunteer capacity, and the result could very well be epic.”
The new trail will be approximately 31.2 miles from the Skyline Trail in the La Garita Mountains to Lujan Pass, and construction will include the development of a .9-mile spur trail to connect the trail to Luder’s Campground. A trailhead and quarter-acre parking area at the top of North Pass has also been approved by the USFS.