All posts by Butch Peterson

Roaring Fork Trail Report April 16

The first big trail opening day of the season has arrived, but Mother Nature has decided to put the riding on hold untl sunny days and warm temperatures awaken the trails from their winter hibernation.

*** Keep in mind, it’s still only April and just because a trail is open, doesn’t mean you should ride it. If you encounter wet and/or snowy/muddy conditions, please turn back. Ride Dirt, Not Mud! .

When conditions permit, here are some of the popular trails open today, April 16th, 2020:


  • North Porcupine
  • Innie
  • Outie
  • Father of Ginormous
  • Trough
  • Next Jen
  • Skull Bucket


  • Buckhorn
  • Lower Buckhorn
  • Buckhorn Traverse
  • Vasten (Upper portions still hold snow.  Expect to be turned around by snowfields and large wet/muddy sections up high)

 *** IMPORTANT *** Riders can access or exit Lower Buckhorn from Rio Grande only East of the Catherine Store seasonal closure.  The Catherine Store section of the Rio Grande Trail is still closed and will be opening April 30th at 5 pm.

NOTE: Anyone planning to ride the “Up and Over” loop from Prince Creek to Rio Grande and back to Carbondale should be aware that they will need to detour through El Jebel until the Catherine Store section reopens at the end of April. 

* Glassier Trail IS NOT OPEN. So the Glassier/Buckhorn loop is NOT an option. Glassier opens May 16th. 


  • Elk Traverse and beyond


  • Stairway to Heaven and beyond 


  • South Canyon’s Lightning Bug and Tramway
  • Wulfson Trails
  • Grandstaff – Note: most of Grandstaff is still under plenty of snow.

What is still closed to riding:

  • Glassier Trail – opens May 16th
  • Coal Camp loops in South Canyon – the City of Glenwood Springs will open these trails when the snow melts.
  • Just about every trail upvalley from El Jebel  – Sky Mountain Park is scheduled to open May 16th.
  • Anything wet and muddy or under snow.

Local Trail Report: Friday April 3, 2020

Hello Roaring Fork riders,

Right now, more than ever, the best trail is the one you can ride to from your door.  

Unfortunately, if you live upvalley from Carbondale, that trail is either under snow or closed or both.  

Even if you can ride to the only open and trail in the valley – Red Hill – chances are it’ll be packed with others trying to do the same.

So what is a trail junkie gonna do to get some dirt under their knobbies?  We recommend to either wait it out until many seasonal wildlife closures open on April 16th – or hit the trail early or late in the day.  

Here is a short list of what local trails are open now and might be dry enough to ride if the sun gets a chance to dry out the lastest precipitation:

– All of the open trails on the front side of Red Hill  (Elk Traverse and beyond are closed until April 16 – please respect all closures)  

– Prince Creek:  Lower trails are still muddy.  Ginormous and Chrismas Tree still have a few large snow patches.  With plenty of sun and no snow/rain they could be good to go later this weekend. (Upper Prince Creek – gated trails beyond South Porcupine and beyond – will open April 16 – please respect all closures)

– Wulfson: All trails are open but may be wet, muddy, icy, or snow covered.  Stevie Bob trail is probably the first to dry out in the Wulfson network. 

Riders living in New Castle can hit Medaris, Prendergast, and the flow trails however Stairway to Heaven and the Colorow trails have a seasonal wildlife closure ending April 15.

The Paths Option:

Big props to Pitkin County Open Space and Trails for plowing Brush Creek, Rio Grande, AspenMass and Crystal bike paths.  While it’s not dirt, its still riding.  Please be careful as condtions can be icy and treacherous.

The Virtual Option:

Typically, with open and dry local trail milage as limited as it is now, we would recommend traveling West to Fruita and beyond.  However due to Colorado’s statewide Stay-at-Home order, traveling to recreate is not cool.  But if you need that Fruita Fix, we found some free online training videos posted on YouTube that can help you at least pretend you’re riding the Loma Loops.

Please stay safe this weekend and please Shred it – don’t spread it!

Trail Etiquette in the COVID-19 Era

Colorado’s statewide Stay-at-Home order states:

“You should stay home as much as possible except for critical activities including: 

 • Participating in outdoor recreation at a legally-mandated safe distance of six feet or more from other parties.”

For many of us trail riders, home is where the heart is. And our hearts are quite often at home on the local trails!

For now, recreation on trails is not prohibited. However, most local Roaring Fork trails are either still closed, under snow, muddy or too crowded.

If you need to ride — and who doesn’t? — Please respect closures, ride dirt not mud, and of course, keep it safe and keep your distance.

 For getting your “dirt fix,” we recommend:

  • Keeping at least a bike length from others.
  • Riding empty dry double track, rather than congested singletrack (Red Hill).
  • Exploring remote and dry gravel roads.
  • Not taking risks.
  • Not congregating at trail heads.
  • Continue to follow CDC’s most up to date guidelines.

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Director Gary Tennenbaum warned Tuesday that if people ignore social-distancing requirements and hang out in crowds while recreating outside, they will leave public land managers no choice but to take drastic actions.

 “If we [enjoy recreation] responsibly, we can keep it going,” Tennenbaum said. “Closing public access is such a big step that we don’t want to take.”

Thank you for your diligence in this challenging time. We’re all in this together. Please stay healthy.

Bigger Bike Park Coming to Crown Mountain Park

Crown Mountain Park and Recreation District secured a vital grant Thursday to help it build a 3.75-acre bike park in the midvalley.

The expansion of the biking facilities at Crown Mountain Park further enhances the Roaring Fork Valley’s facilities. The valley was designated a Gold Level Ride Center in January by the International Mountain Biking Association. It was the first area in Colorado to get the designation and only the seventh worldwide.

“This bike park expansion will strengthen the Ride Center’s Gold Level scoring during future evaluations, while creating a place for our youngest generation to learn, train and benefit from multiple aspects of cycling culture in a safe environment,” said Mike Pritchard, director of the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, a chapter of the international association.

Read the full story in the Aspen Times:

Red Hill Spring Construction Info Open House March 18th- Canceled

The following message was received from Kevin Schorzman (Public Works Director in Carbondale) about cancellation of the Red Hill Construction Open House on Wednesday. It has been canceled.

I light of current events, we have canceled the open house scheduled for Wednesday. We have also canceled the commuter parking meeting on Thursday. In place of the open house, we will schedule a conference call early next week for those who want to hear about the project or ask questions. Please let your network know about the cancellation.

The Town of Carbondale will be closing access to the Red Hill trails for a period of 4-6 weeks this spring to allow for planned construction activities.

This includes a re-aligned CR 107 road and intersection with Hwy 82, drainage improvements, two new parking lots, and a dismantling of the old (existing) parking lot.

An updated trailhead will eventually include new informational signage and amenities.

The public is invited An open house is scheduled for Wednesday March 18th, 4-7pm at Carbondale Town Hall.

Meeting is Wednesday March 18th, 4-7pm at Carbondale Town Hall.