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Wildfire damage cut the 100-mile long Rainbow Trail in two for the past six years and a trail reroute added four miles to the trail length, but reconnected this famous Central Colorado recreational trail. Repair work was begun in 2022. Courtesy photo..

Central Colorado Mountain Riders (CCMR) and Salida Mountain Trails (SMT), two nonprofits that steward motorized and non-motorized trails, respectively, announced an agreement this week adopting significant segments of the iconic Rainbow Trail.

Salida Mountain Trails Logo (Photo Courtesy of SMT’s Facebook Page)

CCMR has adopted all 57 miles of the trail within the Salida Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service, from Silver Creek to Oak Creek. SMT has co-adopted the eight-mile-long segment from Pot-o-Gold to Bear Creek, which runs along the top of and connects to SMT’s Methodist Mountain Trail System.

Both CCMR and SMT have previously worked on the Rainbow Trail, in partnership with the Salida Ranger District. This change updates volunteer service agreements between the nonprofits and the ranger district; formalizing the stewardship of these segments. The planned results: increased maintenance and better trail conditions for all users.

“The Salida Ranger District manages over 300 miles of multi-use trail across the San Isabel National Forest,” said Dani Cook, trail coordinator for the San Isabel National Forest. “The distinguished reputation of our trail system is, in large part, thanks to our partners and volunteers who work to conserve our natural resources and provide sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities.”

“We are excited to continue fostering positive working relationships with Salida Mountain Trails and Central Colorado Mountain Riders on their newly adopted sections of the Rainbow Trail,” Cook continued. “These groups are collectively leading the way in multi-use trail collaborations, effectively minimizing user conflict, all while ensuring our trails are maintained and sustained for generations to come.”

The first riders on the reconnected Rainbow Trail in 2022 from let to right: Cory Wiloughby, Anthony Ware – VP, Central Colorado Mountain Riders, Tyler Smith – Salida Ranger District OHV Crew. Courtesy photo.

CCMR had previously adopted two segments of the Rainbow Trail: Silver Creek to Mears Junction, and Hayden Creek to Oak Creek.

In 2022, CCMR completed a six-mile reroute of the Rainbow Trail that restored trail continuity from near Marshall Pass to Medano Pass. Three miles of the Hayden Creek to Oak Creek segment had been closed since 2017 due to the Hayden Pass fire and subsequent rain events. CCMR has now adopted 89 miles of motorized singletrack trails in the area.

Last year, for National Trails Day, CCMR and SMT led more than 50 volunteers in a joint maintenance project that put in over $10,000 worth of work into the Rainbow Trail near Salida. The groups plan a similar project this year for National Trails Day on June 3.

“The 8-mile-long segment we’ve co-adopted is a stellar route in its own right, and an important link to other trails on Methodist Mountain,” said Salida Mountain Trails Executive Director Jon Terbush. “SMT and CCMR have done terrific work together in the past, so it was a no-brainer to further our partnership with this agreement to make the Rainbow Trail even better.”

“Last year’s National Trails Day workday with the Salida Ranger District and SMT was a huge success,” said CCMR President Bob Daniel. “CCMR looks forward to the joint National Trails Day workday on the Rainbow Trail again this year. There is a lot of synergy between the two clubs with the common goal to make the Rainbow Trail a better experience for all users.”

Central Colorado Mountain Riders was founded in 2016 as an all-volunteer 509(c)(3) nonprofit motorcycle club that partners with local land managers to keep surrounding trails clear of downed and hazard trees, maintain existing trails, and advocate for new multiuse trails. It’s mission is to preserve, maintain, and create motorized trail opportunities in the Central Colorado area through cooperation, education, etiquette, and stewardship. It has formally adopted numerous singletrack trail segments in Chaffee, Fremont, and Saguache counties and promotes its trailhead kiosks; designed to educate and help prevent user conflict in order to create a positive recreation experience for all users.

Salida Mountain Trails was founded in 2003, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. It plans, builds, and maintains trails in and around the City of Salida. SMT believes trails improve the quality of life for residents while boosting the bottom line of local businesses. Today, the organization stewards 65 miles of trails.