Hikers/bikers will soon face a detour in Hunter Creek Valley | AspenTimes.com

Hikers/bikers will soon face a detour in Hunter Creek Valley

Aspen Times Staff Report

Hikers and mountain bikers will face a temporary detour on one of their favorite routes outside of Aspen this summer.

The U.S. Forest Service has announced that it must replace the rickety old footbridge farthest upstream in the Hunter Creek Valley. That structure, known as the Pioneer Bridge, is by the old municipal dam site. It connects the road on the north side of Hunter Creek with the Smuggler Cutoff Road.

The work will begin at the end of May or beginning of June, depending on when the materials are delivered, according to the Aspen Ranger District.

Hikers, cyclists and equestrians will have to alter their route for three to four weeks once the work begins, according to a district press release. The Forest Service has hired a contractor to install the structure.

The good news is the work won’t make creek crossings impossible. The 10th Mountain bridge farther downstream will still be available for travel. Travel in the valley will be possible, just slightly less convenient.

The Forest Service is warning users of the popular trails that the bridge work will require “temporary” improvements to the road on the north side of Hunter Creek – the one that passes the abandoned farm. However, the agency also promised that the road will be restored to a condition many may prefer.

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“After construction, disturbed areas will be reclaimed and most of the road will be scaled back to a single-track trail,” said the Forest Service press release. “The roadway will be returned to a two-track trail where it is needed for maintenance access for the Huston Ditch.”

Visitors to the popular valley are also being warned that some of the construction workers will live on site in travel trailers while the project is under way.