First phase of Grand Hogback Trails project at Rifle Arch nears completion
A new trail system at Rifle Arch is nearing the completion of 6.3 miles of trail, according to a Rifle department head.
Rifle City Planner Nathan Lindquist reported to the city council Feb. 3 that the first phase, which will likely cost $80,095, is scheduled for a spring completion. The second phase of the project includes the construction of a new parking lot, added signage and relocation of the existing hiking trail, among other improvements.
The second phase is estimated to cost $113,097.
In 2020, the city signed a contract with Gumption Trail Works to complete the first phase. Delays caused by Bureau of Land Management permitting issues, however, only allowed for 5.7 miles of trail to be completed before wintertime at $70,045, Lindquist said.
The remaining trail will be constructed at an additional cost of $10,050.
“We did a good job working through that and we got 5.7 of the 6.3 miles done,” Lindquist said of the delay. “So, we just extended the scope of it to finish the last bit in the spring as soon as we’re allowed to do so.”
Upon first-phase completion, the biking trail is slated to open April 15, weather permitting. Meanwhile, the hiking trails are still open year round, Lindquist said.
“I did have the opportunity of course as the project manager to go and quality control test the trials with my mountain bike,” Lindquist joked. “It was an important part of the process.”
The city intends to build an additional 5 to 6 miles of trails throughout the course of 2021.
“In all seriousness it’s going to be a big asset,” Lindquist said of Hogback’s completion. “I think it’s pretty exciting. I’m not a good mountain biker and they’re fun for me, so they’ll be fun for good mountain bikers even more so.”
The city has accrued a number of funding sources for the Grand Hogback Trails construction project.
Rifle’s Visitor Improvement Fund, and help from the Rifle Area Mountain Bike Organization and local volunteers, raised $94,002 for phase one of the Grand Hogback Trails construction project. Various sources, among others, included substantial allocations from the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners, the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association and the Greater Rifle Improvement Team, which generates revenue through the local lodging tax.
With $43,907 already secured by the Visitor Improvement Fund, Lindquist said the city will also implement further funding sources — including a pending $100,000 grant from Colorado Parks & Wildlife — for the completion of phase two.
City councilors also last week gave their blessing to now seek bids for construction of the new parking lot at Rifle Arch. The current parking, which straddles Colorado Highway 13, has continued to be a safety concern.
“From my perspective, I want to get the parking lot done,” Mayor Barbara Clifton said. “I think it’s a safety issue.”
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More trails will open for the season on Sunday for mountain bikers in Aspen, Snowmass Village and Glenwood Springs.