Letter: Great new trail | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Great new trail

There’s a new trail in South Canyon, just three miles west of Glenwood Springs on city-owned recreation land. This land was purchased by the city in 1956 and designated as recreational parklands for the benefit of the citizens of Glenwood Springs.

Our current City Council gave the green light for the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association to start building new trails in the canyon about a month ago. This recreational project has been made possible by funding from the city of Glenwood Springs, the state of Colorado, Garfield County, Alpine Bank, the town of New Castle and other local donors.

About 2-1/2 miles have already been built, and there will be eight miles in total completed by June. The new trail is already usable, and the community is welcome to come out and hike, bike or run on it. The trail, called Tramway in honor of the coal mining history of South Canyon, starts at the bottom of the canyon near the archery range (but on the west side of the road). You’ll need to hop over South Canyon Creek for now (there will be a bridge soon).

The trail climbs at a reasonable grade and twists in and out of the gamble oak forest. The trail follows the old coal train railroad bed and is high enough on the west wall to avoid the wetlands below while affording nice views of the canyon and the meadow next to the hot spring where elk and deer are often seen grazing.

The trail comes out at the “Y” intersection with the landfill road, and if you look up to your right you’ll see a brand new black fence (installed by the city) that surrounds the gravestone of John D. Cantrell, who died in 1885.

Scramble up the hill for a closer look, but please be respectful. The trail continues on the other side of the landfill road and climbs back and forth up the west wall. This section of the canyon is covered with the charred remains of the juniper forest that was burned off by the Coal Seam Fire in 2002. Near the southern edge of this area you get a view to the east of the smoke rising from the burning underground coal seam.

Another portion of the burning coal seam will be seen when the trail rounds the next corner in the canyon. At this point the trail construction is currently underway, so when you come upon the trail crew and their machinery please turn around. Don’t enter the construction zone. Enjoy the ride, hike or run back down to the trailhead.

These new trails will finally allow the public to enjoy their city-owned parklands in a way they’ve never been able to do before. Please take a moment to thank the City Council for their vision in deciding to embrace the recreational mandate for this land and for making this beautiful canyon accessible to the public.

Steve Barbee

Glenwood Springs