New mountain bike destination close to debut in western Colorado | Way of life

A debut is on the horizon for some highly anticipated trails in western Colorado.

The first 6.3 miles of the Grand Hogback network could be revealed to mountain bikers as early as April 15, when the ski lifts close for wintering. But the Rifle-based project manager considered the opening “a bit up in the air”, with a new parking lot to be built off Colorado 13 on the popular year-round hiking trail to Rifle Arch.

“We’re probably closer to June 1,” said Nathan Lindquist, Rifle’s chief planning officer.

Single track loops have been constructed from the Rifle Arch Trail, the start of what promises to be a new riding destination.

They are part of a larger whole, 18 mile system designed in 2019. The Bureau of Land Management called for the Great Hogback trails to be a “high quality” option away from Hubbard Mesa, the off-road and target shooting area where the singletrack had been burned, causing issues of security.

Land managers consulted with advocates from the Rifle Area Mountain Biking Organization.

“Without motorized access and the hiking trail to Rifle Arch, the only trail in the 2,200-acre area, this was a rare opportunity to build a trail network from a blank slate,” said the ‘organization. explains on his website.

And in the town 25 miles west of Glenwood Springs, leaders also saw an opportunity.

“Most Coloradans have no idea of ​​the visual grandeur along the Grand Hogback just minutes from the I-70 corridor,” reads the project master plan. “These trails will introduce visitors to this stunning area and ensure cyclists and hikers have a solid combination of trail choices.”

The plan envisions the desert-style ride enthusiasts seek elsewhere on the Colorado Plateau, which includes Fruita and Moab.

“With a combination of sandstone arches, cliffs, scenic views and rolling terrain, the Great Hogback Trails will showcase an undiscovered Colorado gem and become a premier mountain biking and hiking system,” read a grant application to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

This was while requesting funds for the second phase of construction of the Grand Hogback Trail. Lindquist said the city “missed the cut” for the grant, but with other funding and volunteer work, he still expected more mileage to be added this year.

In what was a controversial BLM decision, Class 1 e-bikes — with pedal-assisted top speeds of 20 mph — will be allowed on Grand Hogback trails. The Rifle Area Mountain Biking Organization wrote a letter against the move, while other residents “are happy,” Lindquist said.

“It’s good for some people who might not be able to ride otherwise or as easily,” he said. “But yes, it will be interesting.”

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