Looking to make tracks: first phase of new 18-mile mountain bike trail system to begin this fall

With the 30 days appeal period over, plans are being set in place for the construction of the new Grand Hogback Trails near Rifle Arch

The latest plans for the Grand Hogback Trails located north of Rifle at the Rifle Arch trailhead.

Mountain bikers will soon have more options for single-track fun in western Garfield County as the city of Rifle and the Rifle Area Mountain Bike Organization start moving forward on carving a new trail system through the pinyon and juniper trees north of Rifle.

“Its going to be such a great system out there, I think it really is going to a be a big draw for us. It will be a pretty big deal once we get enough miles out there, it compares to a lot of other systems in Colorado,” Rifle City Planner Nathan Lindquist said. “It’s going to be really cool.”

The first phase of the 18-mile project is expected to cost just over $90,000, which organizers hope to start the beginning of September, will include nearly 7 miles of single-track trails.

“We really tried to minimize the crossings, they did a pretty good job with designing it that way,” Lindquist said. “You’ll climb uphill to the left of the trail, and then when you’re coming back to the trailhead you’ll be on the right side.”

Lindquist there will be only one major crossing of the trail, and one smaller crossing if you want to do more laps around the loop.

The city has contracted Aaron Mattix with Gumption Trail Works as the designated trail builder.

RAMBO board members met with Mattix on Sunday for a walkthrough of where the planned trails will snake through the BLM land that surrounds the Rifle Arch 9 miles north of Rifle. 

Board members are scheduling trail build training for local crew leaders/board members who have volunteered as trail crew leaders. 

“Their role is to supervise the larger volunteer trail build days we have coming up in September — we don’t have anything scheduled for those yet, but the plan is to train-up through August,” RAMBO president Erik Villasenor said. 

Organizers hope temperatures become milder moving into the fall and they ask for volunteers to help build trails. People interested in volunteering can watch the RAMBO Facebook page for dates to sign up; a new website is also in development.

See Thursday’s edition of the Rifle Citizen Telegram for more on this story.

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