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Home > Who We Are > Trail History

History of The Colorado Trail

1973 Bill Lucas, Regional Forester, Rocky Mountain Region, and Merrill Hastings of Colorado Magazine conceived the idea of a "Rocky Mountain Trail" between Denver and Durango. The Project was conceived as a Bi-Centennial project to be completed in 1976.
photo of Bill Lucas
Bill Lucas
1973 Gudy Gaskill attended the first planning meeting and asked to be on the advisory board.
1974 When Gudy Gaskill was chairing the Colorado Mountain Club's Huts and Trails Committee, she was asked to help organize the Colorado Trail.

Colorado Magazine1974 Article about efforts to bring the Trail to fruition.

1976 Cooperative Agreement signed with the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado Mountain Trails Foundation, a "unique partnership" for building The Colorado Trail.

Colorado Magazine 1976 Article about the vision for THe Colorado Trail "when completed."

photo of Gudy Gaskill
Gudy Gaskill
1980 U.S. Forest Service released "Environmental Assessment and Route Directive regarding the "Colorado Trail" Concept.
1984 Gudy Gaskill received "Great Outdoor Colorado" service award.
1984 "Trail to Nowhere" written by Ed Quillen appeared in the Denver Post's Empire Magazine. Click here to read the entire article and view photos of early trail crews.
1987 The Colorado Trail Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is established to complete The Colorado Trail.
1987 September 4 the "Golden Spike" ceremonies were held at Molas Pass, Camp Hale and Mt. Princeton to commemorate the linking of The Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango.
1987 President Ronald Reagan presented Gudy Gaskill with "Take Pride in America" award.
1988 Adopt-A-Trail program established to maintain The Colorado Trail.
1988 The Colorado Trail Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service signed a Master Agreement recognizing their partnership in maintaining The Colorado Trail.
photo of 1986 Trail Crew workers
1988 Trail-A-Bration — a dedicated group of crew members joining Gudy Gaskill on the first supported trek along the new Colorado Trail — ended at the Durango dedication.
1988 The Colorado Trail officially dedicated on July 23rd at Junction Creek near Durango and July 24th at Waterton Canyon near Denver.
1989 The Educational Program for The Colorado Tail Foundation was established.
1990 President George H. Bush presented Gudy Gaskill with "One Thousand Points of Light" award.
1994 Co-founder and publisher of the COLORADO Magazine, Merrill Hastings, Jr., encapsulates the importance of the CT in the article "The Colorado Trail." Click here to read the entire article.
1994 20th Anniversary of The Colorado Trail celebrated at the Governor's Mansion.
1996 A cabin above Lake City was purchased for use as an outdoor education facility.
Gudy Gaskill talking with a hiker outside tent
1998 Gudy Gaskill retired as the first President of The Colorado Trail Foundation.
1998 The Colorado Trail Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service renewed their partnership agreement with the signing of the Master Plan for The Colorado Trail.
1998 The Colorado Trail Foundation established the Gudy Gaskill Endowment Fund to assure The Colorado Trail will be maintained in perpetuity.
1999 South Platte River bridge dedicated as Gudy Gaskill Bridge. This was built with the help of contributions from Friends of The Colorado Trail, Great Outdoors Colorado, and the U.S. Forest Service.
1999 25th Anniversary of The Colorado Trail celebrated at the Mt. Vernon Country Club.
2002 Gudy Gaskill inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame.
2004 30th Anniversary of The Colorado Trail celebrated in Buena Vista.
CTF Board President and USFS representative
2005 The Colorado Trail Foundation Board of Directors re-affirms its commitment to maintaining The Colorado Trail in perpetuity.
2005 The Colorado Trail Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service sign a Memorandum of Understanding as basis for continued cooperation in maintaining The Colorado Trail.
2006 William H. (Bill) Manning becomes the first Managing Director of The Colorado Trail Foundation.
photo of Bill Manning
Bill Manning
2012 Collegiate West was added to the CT as an alternate route to Collegiate East, forming a spectacular 160 mile loop.
2014 40th Anniversary of The Colorado Trail celebrated.