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Colorado's Rio Grande Trail is built upon the Aspen Branch of the former rail corridor of Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW). Trains stopped running between the 1960s and the mid-1990s, after which the corridor was purchased by a cooperative of local government entities and organizations. The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority was created in 2001 to, in part, help manage the trail.
From Glenwood Springs to Carbondale, the Rio Grande Trail follows the course of the Roaring Fork River, nestled between the river and Route 82 before heading east to continue paralleling Route 82 to Aspen. In Glenwood, the trail also connects to the equally stunning Glenwood Canyon Bike and Pedestrian Path.
Trail users will find a scattering of picnic tables and benches along the route but there is no potable water. Vault toilets are found at various places. For those wishing to bike portions of the trail, you can also take an RFTA bus to and from various trailheads between Aspen and Rifle; bike racks on the buses are provided. You will have to pay a nominal fee to bring your bike in addition to the bus fare.
When winter snowfall exceeds 3 inches, the trail is plowed between Glenwood Springs and Main Street in Carbondale. Certain other sections may be groomed for cross-country skiers.
SEASONAL CLOSURE: To protect wintering wildlife, the Rio Grande Trail between Rock Bottom Ranch and Catherine Bridge closes seasonally from November 30 to April 30. A detour route is noted at the Hooks Lane and Catherine Bridge trailhead parking lots during this time. The detour is along county roads. The closure applies to all trail users, including anglers and hunters. In addition, dogs are prohibited on this section of the trail year-round.
The Rio Grande Trail can be accessed from several places along its route. For more detailed information about the location of parking and access, including bus service routes, refer to links under Related Content to the right.
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