This time of year many Crested Butte locals escape “mud season” and head down Highway 135 to Gunnison to ride the incredible trail system at Hartman Rocks. Springtime comes much earlier in Gunnison so while we wait for the local trail system to dry out in Crested Butte, we take advantage of convenient access – its a 35 minute drive – and beautiful riding conditions at Hartman Rocks. I’ve been lucky enough to ride bikes all over the west including “hot spots” like Fruita, Sedona, Moab and the Pacific Northwest but I must say, the riding at Hartman Rocks is as good as any location out there. One of the reasons the riding is so impressive? The Gunnison Trails organization. Gunnison Trails is a non-profit trail advocacy organization established to assist land managers and other organizations in maintaining existing trails, educating users on responsible trail-based recreation and pursuing new opportunities for biking, running and hiking trails which promote sustainable trail use throughout Gunnison County.
This video by Chris Miller does a great job of showcasing the Gunnison Trails organization and their impact on the trail riding opportunities at Hartman Rocks.
Gunnison-Crested Butte Trail
One of the exciting projects Gunnison Trails is currently pursuing is a off-road trail system linking Gunnison and Crested Butte. According to their website, “the total length of the Gunnison to Crested Butte trail would be 40-50 miles and as with most communities in the mountains of Colorado, both Gunnison and Crested Butte have evolving systems of trails surrounding them. By connecting these isolated trail systems, we begin to establish a vibrant network that links our tourism-based economies. While this proposal would connect Gunnison and Crested Butte, it should be considered a model for establishing non- motorized trail connectivity throughout the mountainous regions of our state.” Learn more about their proposal here.
Gunnison Trails assists and works closely with local land managers from the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service on trail related projects and issues. Their main goals include maintaining existing trails and trail infrastructure, educating trail users and promoting responsible use of Gunnison area trails and proposing, gaining consent and approval for, and constructing new trails and new trail systems.
Since organizing in 2006, Gunnison Trails has:
Racked up countless volunteer hours working on trails in the field; educating trail users; attending meetings with the public and with land managers; creating and presenting proposals for trails improvements on public lands near Gunnison, CO; as well as other trail advocacy tasks.
Maintained the more than 40 miles of trails in the Hartman Rocks area on BLM public lands, most of which had never been maintained before. A component of this maintenance has been to construct substantial and robust trail features that armor the trail against the elements and use.
Assisted the BLM in rerouting several trails that were in areas of natural resource concern and helped educate trail users about why these trails had to be moved and worked closely with land managers at the BLM and Forest Service on the recently completed Travel Planning Process.
Helped trail users to understand and honor season trail closure for wildlife protection and has contributed more than $2,500 toward trail related projects and efforts on BLM public lands.