Ride, party to celebrate Rio Grande Trail | AspenTimes.com

Ride, party to celebrate Rio Grande Trail

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

CARBONDALE ” Bicyclists from up and down the Roaring Fork Valley are invited to hit the Rio Grande Trail on Saturday, June 21 for a celebration to mark completion of the trail that links Aspen and Glenwood Springs.

The party, including a free barbecue, music, informational booths, ribbon cutting, schwag and a bouncy house for kids, will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Carbondale Park and Ride lot, located at Highway 133 and Village Road.

First, though, bicyclists are invited to hit the trail from Aspen, Snowmass Village, Basalt and Glenwood Springs for an organized ride to the party, or what’s been dubbed the Golden Spike Celebration (a take on the driving of a golden spike to mark completion of the nation’s transcontinental railroad at Promontory, Utah on May 10, 1869).

– Aspen: meet at the Theatre Aspen tent along the Rio Grande Trail at 9 a.m.

– Snowmass Village: meet at the Rodeo Lot and merge with the Aspen group at the Woody Creek Tavern at about 9:30 a.m.

– Basalt: meet at Basalt High School at 10 a.m.

– Glenwood Springs: meet at City Hall at 9:30 a.m. and be part of the Strawberry Days Parade before continuing the ride to Carbondale.

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority is hosting the celebration. It comes on the heels of paving the final link on the Rio Grande this spring ” a 5.25-mile stretch between Highway 133 in Carbondale and County Road 154 at the Thunder River Marketplace, upvalley from Glenwood Springs.

Completion of the trail allows users to ride the entire length of the valley, from Aspen to Glenwood Springs, without pedaling side roads or busy Highway 82. However, the stretch between Woody Creek and the Slaughterhouse Bridge, below Aspen, remains unpaved.

Local governments, with contributions from Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, Great Outdoors Colorado and the Colorado Department of Transportation, purchased the former Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad corridor in 1997, envisioning its use for future mass transit as well as a bike/pedestrian trail linking the valley.

RFTA manages and maintains the corridor, in conjunction with Pitkin County Open Space and Trails and the city of Aspen in their respective jurisdictions.