Rio Grande Trail at Glenwood Springs Colorado is a great multi-use trail.
If you’re looking for the perfect bike trail for your family outing, try a rail-to-trail paved path.
A rail-to-trail paved path is a recreational pathway created on an unused rail bed.
They’re perfect for biking because they were built with a very gradual slope.
Trains weren’t able to go up or down sleep grades.
Generally, a rail-to-trail path is flat, long, and frequently takes you through a historical area.
In the United States, the Rails-to-Trails-Conservancy is a group that advocates for all rail-trails, and they're a great source of information.
The Rio Grande Trail is a popular choice for families in Glenwood Springs.
It’s perfect for riders of all ages and abilities.
The beautiful Roaring Fork River is beside the trail on most of your journey, making it a pleasant experience in nature.
This river is an important part of the Roaring Fork watershed area, and runs from the Sawatch Range, passes through Aspen on its way below Carbondale.
It joins the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs.
The Rio Grande Trail was completed in 2008 and gains about 2,100 feet over 42 miles.
This is a gentle slope that allows easy riding. It’s possible to ride the entire length in one day, or you can enjoy it in sections.
The main trail end points are at Herron Park at Neale Ave. (Aspen) and Two Rivers Park (Glenwood Springs)
One great ride is the portion of the trail from Glenwood Springs to Carbondale.
It runs between the Roaring Fork River and Route 82. After Carbondale, the trail heads east, parallel to 82 to Aspen.
In Glenwood, the trail also connects to the Glenwood Canyon Bike and Pedestrian Path.
There are glimpses of history as you pass by old ranch buildings along the way.
Mount Sopris is visible in the distance and is a majestic sight to see.
Bald eagles soar overhead and you may pass by herds of elk in meadows.
This trail was built on the old railway of Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, which stopped running in phases between the 1960s and 1990s.
Local groups and government organizations bought the corridor and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) was created to manage the trail.
If you decide to bike a section of the trail and take an RFTA bus back to your starting point, there are bike racks on the buses for your convenience.
But note that e-bikes are too heavy to be loaded on the bike racks and so they aren’t accepted at this time.
This is a multi-use trail and is completely protected from vehicles except at intersections.
Because of its popularity, it became important to create rules or etiquette for trail users, to allow everyone safe use.
GOLDEN RULES OF TRAIL ETIQUETTE
- Practice social distancing outdoors and please be mindful of other trail users. Keep a safe distance of 6ft while on the trail.
RESPECT CLOSURES AND WILDLIFE
- Springtime is critical for wildlife, maintain your distance, and respect trail closures.
- Practice social distancing with other trail users by keeping 6ft of space.
- Everyone yields to horses.
- Stop, step off the trail and talk to the rider. They will tell you when it is safe to pass.
- Ride at a safe speed, single file. Do not exceed 20 mph.
- When passing, go slowly and announce yourself.
- Ring your bell and say, “on your left," so people aren't startled by you whizzing by.
- Be alert. Keep headphones turned down so you can hear others.
- All pets must be on a leash.
- Keep your pet under control, carry a bag, and put waste in a proper receptacle.
- Keep to the right except to pass. If you stop, step off the trail.
- Do not block the trail.
- Slower moving trail users stay to the right. Travel on the right, pass on the left.
When you reach the end of the Rio Grande Trail, there’s more to explore.
The Roaring Fork Valley recently earned a gold-medal designation from the International Mountain Bicycling Association.
The entire area was recognized as being friendly to beginner bikers, so ride on!