Salida Mountain Trails is pleased to announce the receipt of a $72,350 trails grant from the State of Colorado for construction of a new 3.6 mile section of the popular Cottonwood Trail. In addition, these funds will help build a new trailhead parking lot and informational kiosk. The Cottonwood Trail, beginning from the intersection of county roads 175 and 181 just northeast of Salida, will eventually join the existing Arkansas Hills Trail System. Once complete, this trail will provide a 17 mile loop beginning and ending near downtown Salida.
The initial 2.5 miles of singletrack was completed in October of 2014 with the help of 1500 volunteer hours and assistance from professional trail building crews. This trail contours around pinon and pine studded hills with expansive views of the Sawatch and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges before intersecting county road 173. The new section will pick up from there and head up to “Rattlesnake Ridge” before dropping into Cottonwood Gulch. This will bypass a section of an existing social trail that’s causing erosion issues and considered unsustainable.
Mike Smith, Project Manager with SMT, explains what this grant means. “This grant will enable us to complete this fantastic project by fall of this year and will allow for substantial portions of the project to be built by professional trail crews. Without this grant, completion of this trail would take several years. This also allows us to save some of our money we have raised to fund future projects that are now being planned.” Trail construction will begin this Spring and hopefully be completed by October of this year. Volunteers are needed and opportunities will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
Salida Mountain Trails (SMT) is an all-volunteer 501c3 organization dedicated to planning,designing, building, and maintaining non-motorized multi-use recreational trails near the City of Salida, Colorado. SMT was founded in 2004 to address the need for developing legal, environmentally responsible non-motorized trails to replace a network of user-created unsustainable trails. SMT has established cooperative management agreements with both the FS and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) along with strong working relationships with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC), the City of Salida, Chaffee County, and local professional trail builders.