Plans will address extra amenities at Rio Grande Trail, increased use at Penny Hot Springs |

Plans will address extra amenities at Rio Grande Trail, increased use at Penny Hot Springs

Staff report
A sign for the Rio Grande Trail in Aspen.
Aspen Times File

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails has embarked on a couple of projects that will interest everyone from hikers and bikers cruising down the Rio Grande Trail to folks soaking in Penny Hot Springs.

The open space program staff is working on a plan to see where “nodes” with some type of amenity are needed on the popular Rio Grande Trail.

“These spots would offer a bench or picnic table, or perhaps a Port-a-Potty or water station if it’s feasible,” said a notice of the project.

The open space program oversees the Rio Grande Trail between Aspen and Emma. That covers 20 of the trail’s total 42 miles.

The “node plan” will help determine if there should be enhanced or additional trailheads. Potential locations for historical interpretation of sites along the trail also will be considered.

Feedback can be given online at or in person at the open space and trails booth at the July 14 Basalt Farmers Market.

A survey conducted in fall 2018 in Pitkin County showed that drinking water stations and restrooms were ranked the highest priorities.

This latest round of public comment closes Aug. 1. A plan will be presented to the open space board of directors in September.

Another planning process will be launched this summer for the Penny Hot Springs in the Crystal Valley, downstream of Redstone.

“The goal is to identify strategies to address increasing visitation to the popular spot,” said the open space notice. “The hot springs have a long history as a destination for fans of the soak.”

More details will be released later this summer on the public comment process. To get on an email list for updates on the Penny Hot Springs process, visit


See more