Summit County’s recpath system grows following official opening of the Fremont Pass extension

The extension adds over three miles to the county’s recpath system

The Fremont Pass recpath is pictured on Wednesday, July 13, 2022. The 3.3-mile extension officially opened on July 13 to the public.
Jenna deJong/Summit Daily News

Summit County’s recreational pathway system just got longer thanks to the opening of the Fremont Pass extension on Wednesday, July 13. 

The project is 2.5 years in the making and adds 3.3 miles to the county’s system. According to a release from the county, the new path bypasses a narrow section of Colorado Highway 91 near Copper Mountain and follows the abandoned railbed of the historic Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad. 

It also features two new bridges. One of those “protects an important fen wetland using a specialized design to let light penetrate to underneath vegetation,” said the release. The other bridge “creates a 270-foot highway crossing that provides recpath users safe access across Highway 91.” 

The new path stretches from the existing Tenmile Canyon Recpath to the southern boundary of Climax Mine near Leadville. 

The project is a joint effort between Summit County, the White River National Forest, Federal Highways Association and Climax Mine. The extension was originally supposed to be completed in 2020, and Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said the delay was due to the “historic avalanche cycle” in 2019 as well as the pandemic. 

The segment is part of a broader vision to create a 21-mile paved pathway connecting Summit and Lake counties, said the release. The release said this extension completes Zone 3 of the project with Zones 1 and 2 planned for the future. 

This segment of the recpath was also identified as part of former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s “Colorado the Beautiful: Colorado’s 16” trails initiative. The release said this initiative “builds on existing efforts and partnerships to address critical trail gaps, missing segments, and unbuilt trails across the state.”

In total, the project cost nearly $6 million. The county received $4.475 million in grant funding from the Federal Lands Access Program as well as a $600,000 grant State Trails Program. It also received a donation from local cycling non-profit Summit Biking

The release says that the repcath will be closed seasonally to all recreational use from Nov. 23 to April 30 to protect lynx habitat.

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