By Charles Pekow — Part of the East Shore Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park will be adjusted to accommodate mountain bikers. The National Park Service (NPS) will rebuild a two-mile stretch of the trail in north central Colorado. Traditionally, hikers and equestrians have used the trail, which runs between Lake Granby on the south and Grand Lake on the north and is part of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. Currently, bicycles are only allowed to use the northernmost 0.7 miles in the Arapaho National Recreation Area but not the 5.5 miles in the park.
NPS plans to open to cyclists the segment from the northern park boundary to the Shadow Mountain Dam trailhead, since an environmental assessment showed cycling would not significantly impact the environment or conflict with other users. Campers and fishermen frequent the trail in summer. To accommodate cyclists while protecting the environment, NPS will reroute a quarter-mile segment of the trail.
Cyclists won’t be allowed on the single-track trail until NPS completes the rerouting, which it expects to accomplish by the fall or next year. NPS says that trail proponents, including the Headwaters Trails Alliance will do the work.
During the public comment period, several people complained about allowing cycling. NPS says that if too many conflicts arise between cyclists and other users, it reserves the right to ban cycling or limit it to every other day. NPS warns cyclists in its announcement of the new rule that “(m)ountain bike use on the East Shore Trail is a privilege and not a right.” But it noted that the trail gets a lot less use than other trails in the park and “(n)oise generated by bicycles and bicyclists would not be substantially greater than that produced by hikers, and would be less than existing noise from motorized vessels on the nearby lake.”