Phase two of the San Juan National Forest’s Cutthroat Trail project recently wrapped up, representing the second year of a multi-year push to construct the trail designed for e-bikes. The innovative trail will also be accessible to hikers, houseback riders, and mountain bikers wanting to explore the Hermosa area.

Construction began in 2020 with a cast of partners, volunteers, and U.S. Forest Service staff, as detailed in this blog by Lorena “Lo” Williams with the San Juan National Forest.

Photo by Eric Berry.

In 2021, Southwest Conservation Corps (SCC) crews worked on site for 11 weeks to improve the trail corridor, including tread, drainage, and water crossings.

The San Juan National Forest’s Columbine Ranger District Trail crew:

  • tied the eastern end of the trail into the proposed parking area,
  • resurfaced and refined the work completed in 2020, and
  • worked in close coordination with the SCC crew to accelerate progress.

Durango Trails leveraged volunteer capacity to improve the corridor, including a fantastic volunteer event over National Public Lands Day.

Thanks to these efforts – and more – the Cutthroat Trail is one season closer to new recreation opportunities.

Photo by Eric Berry.

“The Cutthroat Trail, named after the endemic Colorado River Cutthroat Trout, will not only provide a wide variety of recreation opportunities, it also runs through an active grazing allotment—a prime example of the U.S. Forest Service’s mission to manage forests for multiple uses and to meet the diverse needs of people.”

-Lo Williams, San Juan National Forest

When complete, the Cutthroat trail will be roughly 5.5 miles. Situated above the East Fork of Hermosa Creek on the Columbine Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest, the trail will provide an important connection in the Hermosa area and will help keep trail users off a busy roadway. The Forest Service designated the trail in 2017 through the Hermosa Special Management Plan, following an extensive public planning process with broad community engagement.

“Thank you to the volunteers and partners who are helping to make this new trail project a success,” says James Siminio, Columbine District Ranger. “Once it is completed, the Cutthroat Trail will offer recreation opportunities to e-bike users, hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers wanting to explore the beautiful Hermosa area.”

Photo by Eric Berry.

Photo by Eric Berry.

The project is moving forward thanks to the San Juan Stewardship Fund, a partnership between the NFF, Purgatory Resort, and the San Juan National Forest. Partners in trail planning and initial construction include Southwest Conservation Corps, Durango Trails, and Cottonwood Consulting. Other partners in support of the Cutthroat Trail and the San Juan Stewardship Fund include Yeti Coolers and the Catena Foundation.

Click here to download a map of the trail construction. (PDF)

Thanks to Eric Berry and Christian Ridings from Purgatory Resort for capturing phenomenal photos of the trail and project site.

Photo by Lo Williams.

Cover photo by Eric Berry.


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