The popular U.S. Forest Service trail to Columbine Lake, which is accessed from the Junco Lake Trailhead in the Arapaho National Recreation Area, will be closed to all use Aug. 13-16 while a group of more than 30 volunteers from Grand County Wilderness Group, Headwaters Trails Alliance and Rocky Mountain Youth Corps work with U.S. Forest Service crews to reroute the trail onto a more sustainable path.
Portions of the 1.3-mile trail cross wet meadows and climb eroding slopes, causing extensive resource damage as hikers attempt to avoid soggy and muddy areas. Sections of the trail will be improved from the trail’s junction with the Caribou Pass Trail all the way to Columbine Lake. The entire trail is in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area.
This project is part of the Grand County Wilderness Group and Sulphur Ranger District celebration of the 50th anniversary of wilderness. The National Forest Foundation’s Ski Conservation Fund, which is paid for by an optional lodging tax at Winter Park Resort, helped fund this project. Through that program, Headwaters Trails Alliance secured a $13,000 grant to bring the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps to the area for two weeks this summer to help complete several trails projects, including this one.
If the reroute work is not complete by Aug. 16, the trail may close again temporarily for a portion of the following week. Visitors who have questions about this project or need suggestions about where else to hike, contact Sulphur Ranger District visitor information at 970-887-4100.