Smuggler Mountain has a new segment of trail worth celebrating! In order to naturally separate hikers and mountain bike riders, the Lollipop Trail was extended to connect directly to Iowa Shaft. The new section of trail was designed and built to work well in both directions, and allows riders to enjoy singletrack instead of the old doubletrack road of the Hunter Creek Cutoff that is popular with hikers.
The project is one of several outcomes from the Smuggler Mountain – Hunter Creek Collaborative Plan that is now being implemented step by step each year. RFMBA’s role in identifying the problem (conflicts between users) and solution (designed trail alignment), is only part of the process to get to where we are today. The trail corridor was studied and approved by the White River National Forest with assistance and funding from Pitkin County Open Space and Trails as well as City of Aspen OS&T. In order to build the trail, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers provided tools, trained crew leaders, shuttled volunteers up and down Smuggler Mt. to the project site, and provided pizza and drinks for everyone at dusk.
The trail extension was largely built on 7 consecutive Tuesday evenings in June and July where the public was invited to ride, hike, or shuttle up Smuggler to work on clearing the corridor, and cutting the trail bench and backslope. Volunteers showed up week after week, on both sunny and rainy evenings! The trail also benefitted from group trail work days attended by Aspen Skiing Company employees who volunteered on the trail. In early July, IMBA’s Trail Care Crew taught their Trail Building School at the Sky Hotel in the morning before heading up to teach trail building techniques on the trail. The trail is now open and is getting more packed in with each passing rider and rain storm.