Cyclists and other users are able to return to the Summit County recpath system early this year, Open Space and Trails department officials announced Friday.
With the exceptions of portions of the Swan Mountain Road path, which is under wildlife habitat restrictions and Ten Mile Canyon due to avalanche hazards, the recpath system is plowed and open.
"Recent unprecedented warm weather has helped us open the recpath almost two months ahead of schedule," Summit County open space and trails resource specialist Brad Eckert stated in a recent release from the county. "However there are still wet and icy spots in shady locations and some sandy sites."
The recpath is an early alternative to the still muddy or snowpacked backcountry trails for non-motorized users wanting to take advantage of the fair weather, Eckert said.
"We hope the early opening of the recpath will provide an alternative to avoid damaging trails during this time period when they are most fragile," he stated.
Users might still encounter maintenance vehicles on the recpath, as the county is set to reconstruct several sections of the path this summer, including stretches near Bill's Ranch and Copper Mountain.
Users are asked to heed warning signs and the directions of personnel and to slow down as they approach maintenance operations, according to the county statement.
The recpath is expected to be crowded, especially on weekends.
County officials urged users to be prepared to slow down, to pull of to the side of the pathway when stopping and to travel on the right side of the path at a reasonable rate of speed, using the left side for passing.
The recpath speed limit is 25 mph and all dogs must be leashed.