Colorado Trail gets 80-mile complementary extension

A new section of the Colorado Trail
Photo courtesy of the Colorado Trail Foundation

The Colorado Trail Foundation has announced that it has added 80 miles of new trail to the Colorado Trail, which traverses the state from north to south.

The new branch, called “Collegiate West,” is a western complement to the existing trail, which passes to the east of the Collegiate Peaks. It helps create a 160-mile loop in and around the Collegiate Peaks, which the foundation expects to be popular with multi-day hikers.

The full press release is below. See more at the Colorado Trail website.

80 Miles Added to Iconic Colorado Trail

GOLDEN, CO – The 486-mile Colorado Trail between Denver and Durango, already a crown jewel among long-distance hikers, bikers and horse riders as well as thousands of day users, is adding 80 miles of trail through the spectacular Collegiate Peaks, home to a dozen of the state’s 14,000-foot mountains.

The new “Collegiate West” forms a western complement to the existing 80-mile stretch of trail on the eastern side of the Collegiate Peaks from Twin Lakes, southwest of Leadville, to south of Monarch Pass, southwest of Salida. It also creates a 160-mile loop that The Colorado Trail Foundation (CTF) officials expect to become one of Colorado’s most popular multi-day hikes.

“Loop hikers can park at access points anywhere along the east or west trails and not have to worry about shuttling vehicles,” says CTF Executive Director Bill Manning. “There are also good resupply spots – Twin Lakes, Buena Vista, Mount Princeton Hot Springs, and Salida – along the route.”

The new 80 miles, which also are part of the 3,000-mile Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (CDNST) that runs from Canada to Mexico, won’t add to the 486-mile distance for hikers and other enthusiasts tackling The Colorado Trail, but will provide a high-elevation alternative that features such landmarks as the beautiful Hope Pass and Lake Ann, Manning says.

The Colorado Trail has long shared 234 miles of trail with the CDNST. After the Continental Divide Trail Alliance, which oversaw the building and maintenance of the CDNST, dissolved in early 2012, The Colorado Trail Foundation responded and agreed to provide CTF volunteer stewardship on 80 additional miles as well as add this scenic and fun alternative route to the heart of The Colorado Trail.

The Collegiate West, much of which now follows old logging and mining roads, is being rerouted and rehabilitated as part of a multi-year project involving crews from The Colorado Trail Foundation, U.S. Forest Service, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Southwest Conservation Corps, and even the Buena Vista Correctional Facility. Trail signs are already in place to aid users along the new route.

The nonprofit CTF and its two-person staff oversee the work of hundreds of volunteers who continue to build and maintain the trail. Its office is in the American Mountaineering Center, 710 10th Street, Golden.

More information about the CTF, the new Collegiate West <> , and full-color, 18-by-24-inch poster maps of the trail, including the new Collegiate West, are available at <> .