With the completion of the Crosscut Trail last month, the trail system at Aqueduct is now complete! The flow is amazing and it's impossible to ride these local trails without a huge smile. Also both North and South parking lots have been improved and a new trail kiosk sign installed at the North parking lot. The BLM is currently working on finishing up signs to be placed at trail junctions (similar to those currently at Phil's World). A huge thanks to Shawn Gregory of Big Loop Trails for his work on the mini-excavator, the BLM Tres Rios Field Office, our generous sponsors and all the volunteers who helped create these incredible local trails!
Important: RPI Consulting is tasked with conducting this survey and has asked MTG to reach out to its mailing list to seek volunteers to help collect survey data. Please contact Gabe Preston directly (contact information below) to sign-up or with any questions (NOT MTG).
Montezuma County is conducting an Outdoor Recreation Use and Economic Impact Study to quantify the amount of outdoor recreation use in the county and to chart the economic impacts of outdoor recreation in the county. The project team is looking for volunteers to help conduct intercept surveys of recreationists at trailheads and other recreation sites. Volunteers will be able to survey outdoor recreation users when convenient for their schedules, keeping in mind that busier days of the week and times of day will yield more surveys. We plan to conduct intercept surveys near Mancos, Cortez and Dolores so volunteers may choose convenient locations (see below). We will make arrangements to deliver blank surveys and give some pointers about intercept surveys to those who are interested in helping with this important project. The survey questionnaire is brief/fast, we have field tested it and people have been friendly and willing to answer the questions.
LOCATION OPTIONS - Here are the locations for the surveys, you can select where you’d like to help administer the surveys: Aqueduct, Chicken Creek, Transfer Campground and TH area, Boggy Draw, Phil's World, Sand Canyon, McPhee Reservoir boat ramp, CANM Visitors center, Dolores River takeout beach
DATES - We hope to take surveys intensively beginning July 14 and will be continuing for several weeks. You can collect intercept surveys anytime that works for you, but the busier, higher use times are better because you will get more responses.
If you are interested in assisting with the intercept surveys, please contact:
970 382 9886
This past week, thanks to funding from the BLM Tres Rios District, the Aqueduct trail heads had heavy equipment making improvements and enlarging the parking areas! We are so excited to now have parking lots that will accommodate trail users with ease! Also, there will be soon be trail kiosk signs! Permanent trail junction signs are in the works, as are other improvements! So grab your bike, lace up your hiking boots and saddle your horse to enjoy all the beautiful wildflowers and vistas that Mancos' newest trails have on offer!
Work began in early May on the new Crosscut Trail at Aqueduct, which starts at the top of RipRap and connects to Ridges near the bottom of Mountain View. In some sections the flagged trail corridor was thick with Gamble Oak and large dead trees, requiring the use of Sawzalls to open up the trail. Shawn Gregory of Big Loop Trails was contracted to use the mini-excavator to cut and sculpt the trail. After all the heavy lifting with the machine, volunteers came through with hand tools to cut loose roots, buff out the the trail and improve drainage. Final step...pack in the trails with use from hikers and bikers!
Originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of Spoke+Blossom.
This spring, Mancos Trails Group (MTG) will open 11.4 miles of the smooth and flowy Aqueduct Trail System on BLM land. “The trails have been the talk of town,” says Don Hoffheins, chair of MTG.
Photo courtesy of Mancos Trails Group
Everyone — from the elderly population to youth development biking organizations — have been in support. High Desert DEVO, one of the youth organizations, jumped from 35 members to 152 within this past year.
MTG’s largest grant came from Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, which directs its efforts towards community livability. They were also awarded Mancos Valley Resources’ Sponsored Project of the Year because of their service to the town. Volunteers accumulated 3,750-plus total hours in 2022, which equates to over $112,300 of contributed labor. Hoffheins gives a special shout out to Mancos Brewery’s support.
The Aqueduct Trails are multi-use, nonmotorized (except for class 1 e-bikes) beginner and intermediate trails on Mancos shale through pinyon, juniper and sage, with big views of Mesa Verde, the Sleeping Ute and the La Plata mountains.
“It’s a huge amount of work, but it’s almost magical how you can take rough terrain and provide a full experience of rideability, scenery and sustainability for users,” explains Hoffheins.
It’s been proposed to the BLM to add a trail segment so that someone could ride over 13 miles, overlapping the same piece of ground for only 0.2 miles. The proposed trail connects the intersection where Riprap meets Ridges to the intersection where Evenflow meets Mountain View.
Additional changes to come in the spring are a five- to six-car parking lot at the south end trailhead. MTG also received a grant from LOR foundation for over $19,000 to construct a trailhead shade structure.
The trails are closed from Dec. 1 to April 30 for wildlife.
Originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of Spoke+Blossom.
Share stories of ski turns on Hesperus, x-country skiing at Chicken Creek, fat biking at Boggy Draw and other winter adventures! Meet fellow trail users! Hear what MTG has in store for the summer! Sign up to help us out!
It's also a great time to gather with familiar and new friends to dream of summer adventures, like the eventual wildflower bloom! Look for more details on social media as the temperature gets warmer and the date gets closer.
Special Beer Release!
We did it! The Aqueduct trails are almost complete. Thank you to our volunteers who helped make this happen.
Remember, there's only a little more than a week left to enjoy these new trails before the winter wildlife closure on Dec. 1. Have fun!
Check out the Journal article here
Join us, Saturday, September 10th, for another fun workday as we put the finishing touches on the Lost Chicken trail. Stick around after for a cookout and social.
Southwest intersection of Lost Chicken Trail and the Millwood Road, aka Forest Service Road 559, aka County Road 39.9
9:00 - sign in, safety & tool use talk, crew assignments
9:00-2:30 - construct drainage features on the Lost Chicken trail
2:30-4:30 - cookout and social!
Please wear long pants and closed toe shoes. Bring work gloves, eye protection, sun protection, rain gear, water, food and snacks for 5 hours.
We will be constructing drainage structures along 2 miles of Lost Chicken mostly north of the road crossing. Primarily rolling grade dips and grade reversals.
Tools and training are provided. Please bring a long handle, round point dirt shovel if you have one.
From Mancos go north on Hwy 184 to County Road 40. Right on Rd. 40, go north to Rd P, Go left (west) on Rd. P to County Road 39.9 (Red Sign), go right on 39.9 about 4 miles. Look for MTG banners at the trail crossing.
Google Maps: https://maps.app.goo.gl/T8B9TG6AvsaP5vPHA?g_st=ic
Join MTG for a fun day in the high La Platas!
On Saturday, August 13th we will install the final sign for the Mancos Spur Trail at the intersection with the Colorado Trail at Taylor Lake. We will then hold a dedication of the trail and break into groups to hike or bike parts of the Spur. If anyone wants to through-hike or bike a section (to Sharkstooth Pass, Transfer Campground or even all the way to Mancos State Park), please arrange for carpools/shuttles yourself.
This work day will be small on the work and big on the fun. We’ll have to carry in some tools and the new sign, and at the end we’ll carry out the old sign. As always, many hands make for light labor and in this case, very light labor! We hope you can join us for this fun day.
Work Day Itinerary and Information
When: It’s best to leave Mancos by 7:30 AM to arrive at Kennebec Pass by about 9:00 AM. Hike or bike 1 mile on the Colorado Trail to the junction with the Mancos Spur Trail by 10:00 AM. After the sign has been installed, the trail dedication will take place at 11:00 AM.
Where: Meet at the Junction of the Colorado Trail and the Mancos Spur, one mile hike from the Kennebec Pass CT trailhead.
What: Trail sign installation. Trail dedication. Social hike or bike ride an additional 2 miles (or more if you like) on the Spur to the 12,000’ pass above Bear Creek Basin for amazing views! Thru hikers/bikers can continue to Sharkstooth TH and beyond.
If you are interested in thru-hiking or biking the Spur, or a part of it, you will need to arrange your own shuttle.