It’s no longer ‘End of Trail’ on Old Tenderfoot Trail in Dillon thanks to new connector
Old Tenderfoot Trail
Distance: 2.5 miles (formerly 1.8 miles)
Rating: Moderate to more difficult
Elevation: 9,247 to about 9,950 feet (703 vertical feet)
Season: Mid-May to October
Open to: Hiking, mountain biking, horses, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing
Connectors: Oro Grande Trail, Tenderfoot Mountain Trail
Hikers, bikers, dog walkers and gear heads: It’s no longer “end of trail” on one of the most popular trails in the heart of Summit County.
Thanks to help from the Friends of Dillon Ranger District, Summit County Off-Road Riders and staff from the Dillon Ranger District, the sign marking the end of maintained trail on Old Tenderfoot Trail is now a loop.
The sign, which has been in place for nearly 15 years, was removed and replaced with a sign inviting the public to try the results of a two-month trail project completed earlier this month. Hikers and mountain bikers can now complete a 2.5-mile loop from the Oro Grande trailhead, located off of Straight Creek Road (County Road 51), to the Old Tenderfoot trail and back to Straight Creek Road via the newly constructed Tenderfoot Mountain trail segment. The route is popular from summer to winter thanks to great views and mellow grades.
“There are still some final touches to be done on the trail, but so far we have heard nothing but positive feedback about the new connection and the new loop opportunity,” said Ken Waugh, recreation staff officer with the Dillon Ranger District.
Birth of a connector
The work occurred over the course of two volunteer projects in June and July, during which dozens of volunteers constructed about 0.5 miles of new trail just north of the water tanks in Dillon.
Using a mini-excavator, Dillon Ranger District staff blazed the new piece of trail, created a bench, and also removed trees and stumps in the process. After the trail was created with the excavator, volunteers completed the handwork, which involved raking material off the trail’s edge, and then topping the trail tread with mineral soil.
“It has been a pleasure working with both the motorized and non-motorized communities to complete this multi-year project,” said Doozie Martin, program manager with Friends of the Dillon Ranger District. “With the hard work of hundreds of volunteers, we were able to aid the Dillon Ranger District staff in completing what we believe to be a beautiful new trail open to forest users with varying interests.”
More work to do
Throughout the rest of the summer, crews and volunteers will continue to work on another addition to the Tenderfoot Mountain trail: a piece of trail that will connect the new loop to the previous Tenderfoot Mountain trail, as well as the Wide Open trail accessible from Frey Gulch Road.
“At the completion of this project, we will have 15 miles of new trails creating a connected system for a diverse group of users, from hikers to bikers and motorized users,” said Waugh.
Right now, the new piece of Tenderfoot Mountain trail, which creates the loop with Oro Grande and Straight Creek Road, is only open to hikers and bikers. The Tenderfoot Mountain trail will eventually be open to off-highway motorcycles, but not until the segments connecting the other motorized trails are complete. Motorcycles will not be permitted on the Old Tenderfoot Trail, including the new connector.
The Tenderfoot Mountain Trail will be open to motorcycles and all non-motorized uses. It will eventually connect to the top of Tenderfoot Mountain, as well as Frey Gulch Road.
District officials hope to open the entire Tenderfoot Mountain Trail by the end of the summer, but the trail tread will not be entirely complete, so the public is cautioned to be aware of uneven trail tread, according to a release from rangers.
This project is part of the third construction phase of the Tenderfoot Mountain Motorcycle Trail System, funded primarily by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife OHV grant program. A four-person OHV trail construction crew, led by seasonal U.S. Forest Service employee Cal Bryan and a 10-person Rocky Mountain Youth Corps crew, have been working with the Colorado Motorcycle Trail Riders Association, whose employees are operating a trail dozer to construct the upper section of the Tenderfoot Mountain Trail.
Other new trails in the Frey Gulch area were completed between 2014 and 2016. Riders of off-highway motorcycles and mountain bikes, as well as hikers, have been using these trails.
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