Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen blocked for 2 weeks for bridge work
A beloved Aspen area hiking trail will be closed to through traffic for about two weeks beginning Monday for maintenance.
The Hunter Creek Trail will not technically be closed, though hikers will not be able to go further than the fourth of five bridges on the lower section of the trail about 0.6 miles up from the Lone Pine Road trailhead, Gary Tennenbaum, director of the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails program, said Wednesday.
“It is a big deal,” Tennenbaum said. “We don’t like to close trails if we don’t have to. But the bridge is in really poor shape.”
The wood decking and handrails on the bridge are 25 to 30 years old and badly in need of replacement, though the bridge’s metal structure is solid, he said.
The bridge to be repaired is just below the Benedict Bridge — 0.24 miles to be exact — and 0.4 miles upstream from the bottom of the Lani White Trail, according to an Open Space and Trails news release Wednesday. The Benedict Bridge is at the top of the Lower Hunter Creek Trail.
Those who want to hike the upper section of the Hunter Creek Trail can access it using the Bureau of Land Management parking lot located on Hunter Creek Road, which can be accessed via Red Mountain Road, Tennenbaum said.
Work on the aging bridge is set to begin Monday. The Open Space program would like some assistance with staging construction materials and is recruiting volunteers to carry wood and other items to the bridge site on Monday and after the project is over, he said.
Those who are interested in what Tennenbaum called “a great morning workout” should go to the Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers website — rfov.org — to sign up.
The work on the bridge originally was scheduled for the spring, though the COVID-19 pandemic delayed it, according to the news release. Two of the other five bridges on the Lower Hunter Creek Trail have been reconstructed in recent years.