About the Rio Grande Trail
The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority manages the greatest portion of the Rio Grande Trail which runs from Glenwood Springs to Aspen, Colorado. The Rio Grande has 42 miles of continuous multi-use trail and is completely protected from vehicular traffic except at intersections. The Rio Grande Trail is a rails to trails project which is built in the Aspen Branch of the historic Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. Train operations in the corridor ceased in phases, between the 1960s and the mid 1990s. In 1997 the right of way corridor was purchased with a combination of funding by local governments, Great Outdoors Colorado, Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, and the Colorado Department of Transportation. This presented an opportunity to explore both transportation and recreation solutions to Highway 82 congestion and trail connectivity challenges in the Roaring Fork Valley. In 2001, RFTA was formed and thus a dedicated funding source for transit and trails was created. RFTA now manages and maintains the trail corridor, in conjunction with Pitkin County Open Space and the City of Aspen, in their respective jurisdictions.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The Rio Grande Trail treadway is asphalt surfaced with some sections of concrete and compacted gravel. The pavement is 8 to 10 feet wide with soft surface shoulders of 2 to 6 feet. The trail is open to those on foot, those on horseback, and those using human-powered equipment such as bicycles, in-line skates and skateboards. Wheelchairs, both motorized and non-motorized, are permitted. Other Power-Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMDs) are permitted with restrictions.
Picnic tables and benches are provided at various locations, as are trash cans, recycle bins and dog waste stations. There is only one potable water source on the trail at the Basalt trailhead next to the Basalt Highschool, plan to bring your own water as there is no other water source along the length of the trail. Vault toilets are installed at the vicinity of Cattle Creek and Catherine Store Bridge. During the winter months, the trail is plowed when snowfall exceeds 3” between Glenwood Springs and Main Street, Carbondale. Other sections may be groomed for cross-country skiing or remain unmaintained.
TRAIL INFORMATION, RULES & POLICIES
Class I and Class II E-Bikes are allowed on the Rio Grande Trail between Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs and the Pitkin County line at Emma Road in Basalt. Only Class 1 E-Bikes are allowed from Emma Road to Aspen.
Keeps dogs leash at all times along the Rio Grande Trail. Dogs are never allowed on the wildlife section between Rock Bottom Ranch and Catherine Bridge.
The Rio Grande Trail, between Rock Bottom Ranch and Catherine Bridge, closes seasonally from 5pm on November 30th until 5pm April 30th. A signed detour route will be in place between Hooks Lane Trailhead parking lot and the Catherine Bridge Trailhead parking lot during the period of the closure. The closure applies to all users of the trail and corridor, including anglers and hunters.
RFTA has restrictions to all trails built and maintained on the 34 mile rail corridor running between Glenwood Springs and Woody Creek.
Download our Special Events Application for proposed events on the Rio Grande Trail. For more information call 970-384-4975.
RFTA has a document listing the Rio Grande Corridor Rules on the
Use of Other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMD).
Please note: Class I and Class II E-Bikes are allowed on the Rio Grande Trail between Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs and Emma Road in Basalt.
Local Area Maps
- Rio Grande Trail Map
- Glenwood Springs Trail Guide
- Aspen/Pitkin Trail Map
- Snowmass Village Summer Trails Map
- Aspen Snowmass Nordic Council
- City of Aspen Trail Map
Land and Trail Management Agencies
RFTA Recreational Trails Plan
2005 Recreational Trails Plan (RTP)
Upper Rio Grande Management Plan – Pitkin County Open Space Trails
RFTA Rio Grande Railroad Corridor/Rio Grande Trail History
Rio Grande Trail Map (revised 2023)
GRAzING GOATS ON THE RIO GRANDE TRAIL CORRIDOR
RFTA is trying to shift the paradigm away from spraying toxic and harmful herbicides and instead utilize goats to graze and build soil health through the lower 20 miles of the Rio Grande Trail railroad corridor. The goats come back as a part of RFTA’s Integrated Weed Management Plan every year during the months of August and September.
RESPECT CLOSURES AND WILDLIFE – Springtime is critical for wildlife, maintain your distance and respect trail closures.
RESPECT TRAILS CREW – Slow down around trail maintenance vehicles and crew. Please announce your approach.
- HORSES. Everyone yields to horses. Stop, step off the trail and talk to the rider. They will tell you when it is safe to pass.
- CYCLISTS. Ride at a safe speed, single file. Do not exceed 20 mph. Slow and announce yourself before passing.
Ring your bell and inform pedestrians, “on your left.”
- PEDESTRIANS. Be alert. Keep headphones turned down so you can hear others.
- DOG WALKERS. Leash your pet and maintain control. You must carry a waste bag and put poop in a proper receptacle.
- EVERYONE. Keep to the right of the trail except to pass. If you must stop, step off the trail. Do not block the trail.
SHARE AND BE AWARE. SAFETY IS FOR EVERYONE.