The long wait is over for mountain bikers — more trails are opening on Sunday | AspenTimes.com
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The long wait is over for mountain bikers — more trails are opening on Sunday

Sky Mountain Park trail network near Aspen will open for season

A mountain biker cruises down Airline Trail in Sky Mountain Park on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Sky Mountain Park will open on Sunday, May 15 this year. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

The Roaring Fork Valley is about to get bigger for mountain bikers with the opening of trails in Aspen, Snowmass Village and Glenwood Springs.

The popular Sky Mountain Park trail network will open Sunday along with the nearby North Rim and Seven Star trails. The Upper Coal Camp loop trail in South Canyon, west of Glenwood Springs, also opens on Sunday.

“It’s going to be a great weekend to spend behind handlebars,” proclaimed the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association in its weekly email newsletter on Friday.



The opening of the trails in the upper and lower valley will take pressure off the Prince Creek network, Crown Mountain and Glassier trail in the midvalley.

“Prince Creek and Glassier have been very busy to start the season,” said Gary Tennenbaum, director of the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails program, which manages Glassier and Sky Mountain Park.



Sky Mountain Park is popular with riders of all abilities because of its diversity and multiple trailheads. The trails opening Sunday include Cozyline, Airline, Skyline Ridge, Deadline and Viewline. Adjacent routes such as the Ditch Trail, South Rim Trail and the Highline/Lowline trails are open year-round.

Open space rangers removed some downed trees on lower Airline but riders could encounter a few wet or muddy spots and other downed trees higher up, Tennenbaum said Friday. Downed timber is also likely on upper stretches of North Rim and Seven Star.

The use of trails managed by the open space program soared during the pandemic summer of 2020. Glassier Trail surged from 11,004 users in 2019 to 18,012 in 2020. The Viewline Trail in Sky Mountain Spark shot up from 8,481 to 17,805, according to data from the program.

“We are expecting use to be similar and are trying to get the message out about crowded or full trailheads and having a Plan B,” Tennenbaum said.

Meanwhile, most trails on the White River National Forest aren’t ready for prime time quite yet. The national forest’s transition to summer use will start May 21. That means motorized and mechanical uses aren’t allowed on most routes until that date.

Some routes on national forest in the Aspen area are closed until later so users don’t interfere with critical elk calving areas. Tom Blake, Sequel and other trails in the Elk Camp and Two Creeks vicinity are closed April 25 through June 20. The Anaerobic Nightmare Trail is closed April 25 through June 27. The Government Trail and Sugarbowl Trail are closed May 15 through June 27.

The mountain bike association will update trail conditions throughout the spring, summer and fall at https://www.rfmba.org/trails/trail-conditions/.

Time to weigh in

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails will launch the process to update its management plan for Sky Mountain Park on Sunday by opening a public survey.

“It has been 10 years since the heart of the Park debuted to public use, giving visitors their first access to the scenic ridge separating the Brush Creek and Owl Creek valleys,” the open space program said in a recent news release. The 2,400-acre park has become one of the most heavily used recreation destinations in the area. It is located between Highway 82 and Snowmass Village.

The survey will help gauge public sentiment regarding the park as it exists today and ask users what they would like to see going forward. The survey will be open through June 16. It can be found at http://www.pitkinOSTprojects.com.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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