Blazing new trails for Rifle outdoor recreation |

Blazing new trails for Rifle outdoor recreation

City of Rifle, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, and RAMBO team up for a day of trail building on Graham Mesa

Volunteers work on the Bonsai Loop cutting a trail through and over the rocky hillside as a S.E.A.T. plane working the Middle Mamm Fire circles above Rifle last Saturday. The new 1-mile loop will be more advanced than the intermediate Highland Trail Loop that opened earlier this year on Graham Mesa. Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram
Kyle Mills
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The city of Rifle – with help from Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, Rifle Area Mountain Biking Organization and more than 20 volunteers – spent Saturday adding nearly a mile to the beginning of a new biking and hiking trail just off of East Seventh Street in the Highlands neighborhood.

Rifle Planning Director Nathan Lindquist and about 25 volunteers started building the new Bonsai Loop trail.

Lindquist said the full 1-mile loop would be complete by spring, adding to the existing 2-mile Highlands Loop Trail which opened to the public earlier this year.

“This will be more of a “black” (advanced) loop instead of “blue” (intermediate) like the rest of the trails,” Lindquist said. “It will be a great experience for more advanced riders, and still fun for beginners who can ride most of Bonsai even if you have to walk a few spots.”

Work on the Highlands Loop Trail began in 2018, the single track trail consists of a two-mile loop and a separate ½ mile hiking-only trail.

Lindquist said the city worked through last year roughing in the trails before RFOV hosted a similar trail building event.

“October 2018 we had a similar kind of workday, and finished off the loop,” Lindquist said.

With the new Bonsai Loop going in, there are already plans for another alternative trail off of the Highlands Loop.

“We have one more spot we are going to do a more technical section, it will be an alternative off of the Highlands Loop,” Lindquist said.

Lindquist said altogether there would be about four miles of trail when the area is complete.

After spending most of Saturday carving into the dusty hillside Lindquist and a few other volunteers went out on Sunday and roughed in the rest of the loop.

“We really need it to rain and pack it down, or snow which it might do Thursday,” Lindquist said with a laugh.

He said once they get out and ride it, they will notice some things you couldn’t while building it.

“There will be some more shaping and refining before we open it to the public,” Lindquist said.

Volunteers carve a new single track trail into the hillside last Saturday afternoon in Rifle. Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers teamed up with the city of Rifle and RAMBO to help build a new 1-mile loop into the Highland Trail system. Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram
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City of Rifle Planning Director Nathan Lindquist, right, talks with a volunteers during last Saturdays trail building on the new Banzai Loop in Rifle. Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram
Kyle Mills
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The new Bonsai Trail Loop is being added to the Highland Trails on Graham Mesa on the east side of Rifle. Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram
Kyle Mills
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Volunteers cover the hillside along Graham Mesa as they cut the new Bonsai Loop during the RFOV Trail Building day last Saturday in Rifle. Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram
Kyle Mills
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The sun rises above Graham Mesa as volunteers cut the new single track trail during last Saturday RFOV trail building day in Rifle. Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram
Kyle Mills
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