Reassessing a CT Distance-Trip given Coronavirus

Posted March 24, 2020 –

Segment 27 on The Colorado Trail between Silverton and Durango

Segment 27 on The Colorado Trail between Silverton and Durango

Here at The Colorado Trail Foundation we’re wanting to share a bit more on thru- or distance-travel planning relative to the Coronavirus situation. Given that the season for The Colorado Trail is primarily July–September and many weeks away considering we’re still in March, we’re finding it hard to know what the realities might be by then. Beyond the lower-risk activities of hiking, bicycling and horseback riding along the CT, we’re mindful of the interrelated, higher-risk aspects of distance-trips involving towns and transportation. Currently, there are restrictions in the CT resupply towns and limitations involving transportation.

Reassess as Time Goes On.

It is a bit dizzying how fast virus-related things have been changing. Here at the CTF we’re thinking there are many more changes to come. It will probably get worse and more restrictive before it gets better and restrictions begin to ease. (Wish we knew how many months all this might take but we don’t.) We suggest that you CT trip planners consider the situation today and plan to Reassess the Situation and Your Trip Plans Multiple Times During the Coming Weeks. There are many resources including this CTF Blog Page at It would be useful to bookmark as a ‘favorite’ and revisit this page!

Restrictions already in place are worth knowing and they are food-for-thought as to additional restrictions that might soon be put in place. A recent CTF blog post entitled “Coronavirus and Summer 2020 on The Colorado Trail” briefed that all Colorado restaurants are currently closed to dine-in service.

Another subject we’ve recently blogged about is that the Waterton Canyon part of the CT is currently closed.

Additional restrictions that would affect many CT distance-trip planners have been put in place in recent days. One of these is a prohibition on backcountry recreation in San Juan County via the county seat of Silverton. Given county boundaries, this prohibition affects hike, bike and horse travel along CT Segments 23, 24 and 25. But there is no telling right now whether it will still be in place come July and beyond. Here is San Juan County’s official COVID-19 link that they keep up to date.

We think the popular approach to thru-hiking the CT, resupplying in towns and getting there via shuttle or hitching, might be extra challenging this summer. But we are mulling a different style of distance trip that might prove easier and less risky. This trip style is not as common but one that many CT travelers have used in past years and it might be worth consideration in the lead-up to this Summer. If you could enlist considerable help from a family member, maybe they could drive and meet you at multiple trailheads and bring you the resupply that you would otherwise get in town…while you stay on the Trail.

Coronavirus considerations loom large for anyone planning a trip on The Colorado Trail. You should monitor these things and, at minimum, we recommend you reassess this rapidly developing situation over and over in the coming weeks.

Additional LINKS in case they’re helpful:

Pacific Crest Trail (start dates beginning mid-March) COVID Plea to Postpone or Cancel

Arizona Trail (springtime season March/April) COVID Requests for Thru-Travelers