Rio Grande Trail

RioGrandeTrailThe 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.

Trail Etiquette

  • Cyclists must use an audible signal when overtaking other trail users
  • Carry In Carry Out: please pack out all your trash
  • No motorized vehicles or equipment of any kind permitted on the trail, regardless of power source
  • Pet wastes must be disposed of properly
  • Respect private property – stay on the trail at all times
  • All dogs must be on leash at all times
  • Bicyclists and pedestrians yield to equestrians
  • Camping, fires and hunting are prohibited
  • The making of excessive or obnoxious noises in prohibited
Miles of Continuous Use Trail


Trail Closures

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.

Trail Rules & Regulations

RFTA has restrictions to all trails built and maintained on the 34 mile rail corridor running between Glenwood Springs and Woody Creek.

Special Events Application

Download our Special Events Application for proposed events on the Rio Grande Trail. For more information call 970-384-4975.

Trail Rules for Other Power Driven Mobility Devices

RFTA has a document listing the Rio Grande Corridor Rules on the
Use of Other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMD).

Project Date: September 01 – October 01, 2016

RFTA has contracted with Goat Green, LLC to browse 200 goats through the lower 20 miles of the railroad corridor.  Lani Malmberg with Goat Green, LLC has been professionally browsing goats for 20 years.  Goat Green will manage the goats using electric fencing and Border collies.  RFTA is trying to shift the paradigm away from spraying toxic and harmful herbicides and instead utilize goats to browse and build soil health.  The Rio Grande Trail will remain open during the project, but delays and detours can be expected.

UPDATE 9/26/2016:

The goats are now located along Catherine Store Road, County Road 100. The remaining herd will work along the trail heading up-valley and into the “wildlife section” passed Catherine Bridge.  The goats will work this week and into next week and will be done sometime in early October. The goats have made a mess on the trail in some areas and we will clean it up once they have moved along. Please be patient and dismount your cycle if necessary.

Please remember to keep dogs on leash at all times, while on the Rio Grande Trail.

  • Do not touch the electric fencing as you will get shocked
  • Please do not try to pet the goats, the goats are working animals and not pets
  • Keep dogs on leash at all times while on the trail
  • Please, remember good trail etiquette and slow down in the work zone

If you would like to stop and watch the goats, please stand off the trail/shoulder to allow other users to pass safely.We apologize for any inconvenience during the project, but please be patient as the herder’s work.

Click here for a Cost Comparison for Weed Control – Goats vs Chemicals by Drew Toher of Beyond Pesticides

For more information, please call Brett and periodically check RFTA’s website and social media outlets. RFTA staff will provide updates as the project moves forward.
Contact Information: Brett Meredith, RFTA Trails and Corridor Manager, 970.384.4975,