Hunter Creek Trail extension moves forward |

Hunter Creek Trail extension moves forward

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – Extension of the Hunter Creek Trail, to link it to the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen, took a step forward Thursday with endorsement of design plans for a new bridge and a road crossing from both the Aspen and Pitkin County open space boards.

The city Parks Department intends to build the trail link this summer, connecting two popular local amenities – the paved Rio Grande Trail and the dirt hiking trail that leads into the Hunter Creek Valley, northeast of town. The extension will be a 4-foot-wide gravel path linking into the existing Hunter Creek Trail near the Hunter Longhouse housing. A new bridge will take the trail north across Hunter Creek and then follow the creek as it meanders west, crossing Red Mountain Road and intersecting with the Rio Grande Trail near Hunter Creek’s confluence with the Roaring Fork River, not far from the Rio Grande trailhead near the post office.

For those unfamiliar with the maze that is Aspen’s dense east-end neighborhood, the new Hunter Creek trailhead on the Rio Grande will be much easier to find, said Austin Weiss, trails coordinator.

“Tourists will now have a way to get to the Hunter Creek Trail easily,” he said.

At the Red Mountain Road crossing, a slight raising of the road surface is proposed along with pedestrian-activated lights similar to those at Eighth Street and Highway 82.

The plans go next to the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission, Weiss said.

The trail easement for the extension is held by Pitkin County Open Space and Trails. It includes segments granted to the county by both the Willoughby Pond Estates and Rubey subdivisions. The $250,000 budget for construction will be paid with private funds provided specifically for the trail project in return for an extension of vested rights for the Rubey subdivision, said Dale Will, county open space and trails director.

The city is taking the lead on construction because the Parks Department can get to it more quickly than county Open Space and Trails can, Will said.

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