Trail History

1973

Rocky Mountain Trail Idea Conceived

February 6, 1973

Bill Lucas, regional forester for the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service, and Merrill Hastings, publisher of Colorado magazine, conceive the idea of creating a “Rocky Mountain Trail” between Denver and Durango as a U.S. Bicentennial project, with a proposed completion date of 1976.

1973

Gudy Gaskill Joins Advisory Board

April 3, 1973

Gudy Gaskill, who later became known as “Mother of The Colorado Trail,” attends the first planning meeting and becomes part of the advisory board.

1974

Gaskill Asked to Help Organize the Effort

March 9, 1974

When Gudy Gaskill was chairing the Colorado Mountain Club’s Huts and Trails Committee, she was asked to help organize the Colorado Trail.

1976

Cooperative Agreement Signed

March 19, 1976

A cooperative agreement between the U.S. Forest Service and the recently formed Colorado Mountain Trails Foundation is signed, creating a “unique partnership” to go forward with construction of “The Colorado Trail.”

1976

Colorado Trail Vision Set

May 19, 1976
Colorado Trail Vision Set
1980

USFS Releases Route Directive

October 14, 1980

The U.S. Forest Service releases an Environmental Assessment and Route Directive for the Trail.

1984

Trail to Nowhere Article Published

December 9, 1984
Trail to Nowhere Article Published
1987

Gaskill Recognized by President Reagan

August 9, 1987

Gaskill’s work is recognized by President Ronald Reagan with a Take Pride in America Award.

1987

Colorado Trail Foundation Established

October 5, 1987

The nonprofit Colorado Trail Foundation, under the leadership of Gudy Gaskill, is established to steward the Trail, giving new impetus to trail builders.

1988

Master Agreement Signed

February 12, 1988

The Colorado Trail Foundation and U.S. Forest Service sign a Master Agreement creating a partnership tasked with maintaining the Trail.

1988

Gaskill Presented with Thousand Points of Light Award

July 19, 1988

President George H. Bush presents Gaskill with a One Thousand Points of Light Award for leading efforts to complete The Colorado Trail.

1988

Official Dedication

July 23, 1988
Official Dedication

Gaskill leads a group of dedicated volunteers on a “Trail-A-Bration,” the first supported trek of the Trail starting in Denver and arriving in Durango in time for the official dedication of the Trail at the Junction Creek terminus on July 23. A day later, another dedication ceremony is at the Trail’s northern terminus at Waterton Canyon.

1988

Adopt-a-Trail Program Established

October 1, 1988

An adopt-a-trail program is established to maintain the Trail.

1994

20th Anniversary Celebration Held

May 14, 1994

The 20th anniversary of The Colorado Trail is celebrated at the Colorado Governor’s Mansion.

1994

Colorado Magazine Article Published

June 25, 1994
Colorado Magazine Article Published

1994 Colorado Magazine

1998

Gaskill Retires

April 19, 1998

Gaskill retires as president of The Colorado Trail Foundation.  

1998

Partnership Renewed

July 12, 1998

The Foundation and U.S. Forest Service renew their partnership agreement with the signing of a Master Plan for The Colorado Trail.

1998

Gudy Gaskill Endowment Fund Established

October 28, 1998

The Foundation establishes the Gudy Gaskill Endowment Fund to ensure the Trail will be maintained in perpetuity.

1999

Gudy Gaskill Bridge Dedicated

June 12, 1999
Gudy Gaskill Bridge Dedicated

A bridge spanning the South Platte River at the junction of Segments 1 and 2 is dedicated to Gudy Gaskill. The new bridge was built using funds from Friends of The Colorado Trail, Great Outdoors Colorado, and the U.S. Forest Service.  

1999

CT 25th Anniversary

July 6, 1999

The 25th anniversary of The Colorado Trail is celebrated at Mount Vernon Country Club.

2002

Gaskill Inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame

September 20, 2002
Gaskill Inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame

Gudy Gaskill is inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.

2004

CT 30th Anniversary

August 22, 2004
CT 30th Anniversary

The 30th anniversary of the Trail is celebrated in Buena Vista and Colorado’s Governor declares statewide “Colorado Trail Day.” 2004 Governor’s Proclamation “Colorado Trail Day”

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2005

Memo of Understanding Reaffirmed

June 23, 2005
Memo of Understanding Reaffirmed

CTF President, Marilyn Eisele, and U.S. Forest Service Region 2 Forester, Rick Cables, reaffirm the longstanding partnership and continued cooperation in maintaining the Trail.

2006

Bill Manning Begins As First Executive Director

February 1, 2006
Bill Manning Begins As First Executive Director

Bill Manning is named the first executive director – and first full-time employee – of The Colorado Trail Foundation.

2008

First Map Book Published

August 5, 2008
First Map Book Published

The first shaded relief topo maps are released, greatly improving trail navigation as well as volunteer trail maintenance operations.

2010

CT Online Store Launched

May 24, 2010
CT Online Store Launched

Making the CT Guides and other Trail merchandise far more available, the online CT Store began catering to purchasers throughout the United States and even abroad.

2012

Collegiate West Opened

June 22, 2012
Collegiate West Opened

Eighty additional miles are added to the Trail on the west side of the Collegiate Peaks mountain range, forming a 160-mile loop when combined with the Collegiate East segments. It becomes known as Collegiate West and gives Trail users an alternate route north- and southbound.

2014

Phone App Released

May 21, 2014
Phone App Released

Partnering with Atlas Guides and their “Guthooks” trail apps, the CTF contributes trail data and photos. The CT phone app proves a game changer, helping users follow the Trail and replenish water.

2015

Field Operations Manager Joins Staff

February 12, 2015
Field Operations Manager Joins Staff

A full-time field operations manager, Brent Adams, is added to the Foundation staff (joining the executive director and office manager) to oversee future projects, including the building of 90-100 miles of new trail over the next 10-15 years.

2016

Field Operations Center Fundraising Begins

March 20, 2016
Field Operations Center Fundraising Begins

A fund-raising campaign to build a field operations center begins.

2016

Gudy Gaskill Passes

July 14, 2016

Gudy Gaskill, whose untiring efforts were chiefly responsible for the completion of The Colorado Trail, dies on July 14.

2017

Field Operations Center Construction Begins

May 25, 2017
Field Operations Center Construction Begins

Design of the field operations center is completed and construction begins.

2017

Field Ops Center Named for George Miller

November 12, 2017
Field Ops Center Named for George Miller

The Foundation announces at its annual holiday party in Golden that the new operations center will be named in honor of George Miller, longtime board member and former Foundation president who was volunteer operations manager for 20 years.

2018

George Miller Field Operations Center Dedicated

July 2, 2018
George Miller Field Operations Center Dedicated

The George Miller Field Operations Center in Poncha Springs is dedicated. The half-million-dollar project enables the CTF to consolidate all of its equipment in one place for the first time in the Trail’s history, providing a “base camp” for future trail building and maintenance operations.