Rio Grande / RFTA



The 42 mile Rio Grande trail connects Glenwood Springs to Aspen along a historic railroad grade. A community project involving the Roaring Fork Transit Authority, SGM Engineering, Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association, and Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers aimed at revitalizing the old railroad corridor in downtown Carbondale into a more diverse and engaging experience. This was also the first phase of RFTA Trails providing alternate trail lines in the same corridor.


The aim of the additional trails in the corridor was to:  

  1. Provide alternate routes and experiences in the same corridor to alleviate congestion on the paved trail
  2. Serve as a beginner-friendly “intro to mountain biking” trail


Fitting three different alignments within a relatively narrow corridor called for creativity in trail routing. Utilizing the excavated topography alongside the railroad bed lent the singletrack trail dynamic interest, while remaining accessible to beginner-level riders. The gravel walking path was laid out to have a curvilinear effect, differentiating it from the paved path, and serving as a transition to the singletrack.


Phase 1

The initial phase was a community project with RFTA trails, RFOV, RFMBA, Carbondale Arts Council, and SGM. The existing railroad corridor retained a harsh, industrial vibe in the midst of a town that prides itself on an appreciation of beauty, and prioritizes outdoor recreation. These various entities came together to remake this connection from downtown Carbondale to nearby Red Hill more attractive, and engaging. SGM contacted Gumption Trail Works to design both the soft surface walking trail, and singletrack. GTW also performed machine construction of the singletrack, and assisted in leading volunteer crews from RFMBA, and RFOV in finishing work.

The trail has become a community favorite; used by commuters, recreationalists, and families.

Phase 2

As part of the reclamation phase of installing underground utilities along the Rio Grande corridor, Holy Cross Energy reached out Gumption Trail Works to construct a trail on top of the disturbed area. Using excess fill material, GTW transformed the flat, 2 dimensional utility right of way into a dynamic and engaging trail corridor.