South Canyon bicycle trail grand opening on Friday |

South Canyon bicycle trail grand opening on Friday

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – The Lower Valley Trails Group (LoVa) and Garfield County will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of Phase 2 of the South Canyon Trail.

The event is set for 11 a.m. on Friday, May 20 at the trailhead by the old South Canyon bridge, just east of I-70 exit 111, two miles west of West Glenwood.

The Phase 2 stretch is the second step toward constructing an eight-foot-wide paved trail through South Canyon. At present, cyclists must ride on the interstate highway to pass through the narrow canyon between Glenwood Springs and New Castle.

Phase 1 of the trail was completed in 2009 in the West Glenwood area. Phase 2 runs from the South Canyon exit from I-70 west to the mouth of the canyon. Between the two is a 1.8-mile stretch where Phase 3 of the trail is to be built, creating a complete connection for cyclists apart from the interstate highway. Plans call for completion of the entire South Canyon stretch by 2014.

“Though it is still only a short stretch, it gets us closer to completion, and provides safe access to this scenic section of trail, with good opportunities for fishing, kayaking, wildlife viewing, and picnicking,” said LoVa Executive Director Larry Dragon. “We encourage everyone to come to this event and begin utilizing the trail.”

The South Canyon Trail will eventually be part of the longer LoVa Trail, which is envisioned to span 47 miles through the Colorado River Valley in Garfield County, from Glenwood Springs west to the Mesa County line. The stretch through South Canyon is by far the most difficult and expensive section of the entire trail, said Dragon.

“The South Canyon Trail is the most urgent section. Once completed, it will provide the only alternate route to travelling on I-70 for cyclists and pedestrians between Glenwood Springs and New Castle,” he said.

The Phase 2 section of trail was designed by SGM Inc. of Glenwood Springs, and constructed by Heyl Civil Constructors (now Aspen Earthmoving) of New Castle. It is located entirely within the I-70 right-of-way, on the south side of the highway and just above the Colorado River.

Retaining walls, railings and a protective fence were necessary for about two-thirds of the route due to the steep terrain and close proximity to the highway.

Funding for the project has been a collaborative effort between LoVa, Garfield County, the city of Glenwood Springs, Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Parks Trails Program. Garfield County also served as the fiscal agent, and Jeff Nelson of the engineering department was the project manager.

For information, contact Dragon, at or 379-9889.

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