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The Adopt-A-Trail program is crucial to the maintenance of The Colorado Trail.

There are currently 84 Adopt-A-Trail (AAT) sections on The Colorado Trail. They range in distance from about 1.5 miles to 17 miles, and their basic upkeep is the responsibility of the Adopter(s). The CTF maintains several tool lockers along the trail that Adopters can access as they perform their work. Adopters regularly perform basic duties such as removing downed logs, clearing drainage features, improving tread, and other tasks as they see fit. They also report back to the Field Operations Manager on conditions and the need for additional work, possibly to be performed by a full trail crew. Once a section is adopted, the CTF is relatively hands off and relies on the Adopter to perform their duties, and report back to us after each outing on what was accomplished. Our Office Manager keeps detailed track of AAT hours so that we can compile year end data that you see here. If you are or have been an Adopter, thank you so much! If you are interested, we have a few open sections so let us know if you’d like to be involved. You can adopt as a family, a group of friends, an individual, or a business.

In 2023, the AAT program accounted for the following accomplishments:

  • 434 volunteers including Adopters, helpers, and training attendees
  • 6,044 volunteer hours (that’s almost 756 8-hour days)
  • Three successful Adopter trainings with 36 participants

To inquire, and for more information, email the CTF Field Operations Manager, Darin Radatz, Keep reading below, and check out the 2023 Impact Report, for many more details on this successful year.

Here are a few highlights from the many Adopter reports we receive each season. You can see that their eyes on the trail are essential to inform future maintenance efforts.

Bob Mathes | Collegiate West 01A | Collegiate East CT Trail Junction to Trail Number 1471a (to Willis Gulch Trailhead) Junction:

  • 20 drains maintained
  • 6 downed trees removed
  • 2,500 feet of tread maintained
  • Work summary: Worked on west side this summer, about 1/2 mile in with brushing, several leaning trees and downed trees removed, one large one remains but on a spur west of Interlaken. The bridge over dry creek was inspected, brush cleared, and brush removed from creek bed. In May, I will have of 4-5 locals all with experience that will go with me in May and September week after Labor Day to complete and catch the trail up on maintenance. Brushing east and mid, branch cutting up to horseback level in problem areas, drainage survey we did shows some redirecting and widening in mid section, rebenching along cliff section and evaluating how close it is to cliff area from when we moved it 3 feet away from cliff 6 years ago. Staining, re-screwing braces on dry creek bridge, clearing channels on the upside of all three bridges.

Jeff Erion | Collegiate West 04A | Tincup Pass Road (FS Rd 267) Crossing to Hancock Trailhead:

  • 21 drains maintained
  • 1 downed trees removed
  • 300 feet of tread maintained
  • Work Summary: Much of the trail was wet from early snow runoff. Good opportunity to see low wet spots where edging could improve water movement. Snow cover was steering hikers and bikers to bypass the new switchback above the tunnel. Fixed granite barriers to help keep people on the trail. Some fallen debris near Tincup Rd. I would still like to cut in new switchback below the one crew built last year. Water crossing north of tunnel is much improved but could still use more brush clearing to narrow water crossing. The log bridge crossing near Tincup Rd is broken and lying in stream. Not a difficult crossing to bypass. Replacing would require several hands. The span is 15 to 18 feet wide.

Lauren ‘Yardsale’ Jones and Matthew ‘BBE’ Austin | Section 9.2 | Wurts Ditch Road (FS Rd 100) Crossing to Porcupine Creek Bridge: 

  • Work Summary: Bridges are swept and cleared of decaying debris. One fallen tree, .7 miles in from Porcupine Creek, landed immediately off the trail yet it’s branches flowed into the trail so we trimmed the branches off trail and trimmed the top of the fallen tree so it was further off trail. It’ll make for a great sitting log in the future. Signage is appropriate. We love our adopted section and did quite a bit of trail angeling this summer with hikers (day and thru).

Dawn Zalone | Section 5.1 | Junction to Long Gulch Trailhead to Rock Creek Trailhead:

  • 35 drains maintained
  • 3 downed trees removed
  • 60 feet of tread maintained
  • Work Summary: Worked on the 0.25 mile Spur from the Long Gulch parking lot up to the Colorado Trail, including. I trimmed back the willows from the trail where it crosses the creek right by the parking lot, about 40 feet. Also dug out and worked on 6 water bars to divert water off the trail and worked on the turnpike over the boggy area (dug a trench across the turnpike, put a wooden culvert in the trench to carry water under trail, dug out ditches on each side of the turnpike to carry water away from trail, brought in dirt to cover the culvert and raise the level of the trail and dug out additional trenches to carry water away from the boggy area). Fall is our favorite time on the trail and the Aspens did not disappoint! The weather was perfect, and the Aspens were peaking. It was a long day with the extra work on the Spur at the beginning of the hike. By the time we finished and headed back home, the Kenosha Pass leaf peepers were mostly cleared out.

Connie Wian | Section 24.2 | Elk Creek Trail Junction to Animas River Bridge:

  • 2 downed trees removed
  • 60 feet of tread maintained
  • Work Summary: We worked on the walkway in Elk Creek. Added large boulders on the creek side of walkway. Added smaller rocks to the tread section to raise the height of tread. Removed knots from the large tree that remains on cliff side so hikers can walk across it easier when water is high and it also makes a nice bench. Moved boulders to be more in align with direction of walkway. Did what we could to stabilize and anchor boulders in hopes that the runoff will not wash it all away. To be determined.