Work on Two Elk bridge closes trail connecting Vail Pass rec path to Minturn |

Work on Two Elk bridge closes trail connecting Vail Pass rec path to Minturn

Two Elk Trail from the Vail Pass paved recreation path to Two Elk Pass closed through July 29

Air Force Academy cadets begin dismantling the current bridge at Two Elk Pass on Monday, July 12.
David Boyd/U.S. Forest Service

VAIL — The Air Force Academy cadets replacing a bridge on the Two Elk Trail between Vail Pass and Minturn are off to a fast start, said David Boyd with the U.S. Forest Service.

But after initially thinking a public closure might not be necessary in replacing the bridge, which is located between the Vail Pass Bike Path and the Two Elk Pass section of the trail, that decision has been rethought and, in the interest of the safety of the public as well the cadets, a call was made to close the trail on Monday.

The closure of the Two Elk Trail from the Vail Pass Bike Path to Two Elk Pass is scheduled to last through July 29, Boyd said.

The Two Elk Trail is one of the more eagerly anticipated openings in Eagle County each year, as the closure lasts a bit longer than the others in Vail — while the North Trail system lifts its wildlife closure on June 20, Two Elk does not open until July 1.

But the trail needs work and, through a partnership with the Air Force Academy, the White River National Forest was able to obtain the help of the cadets as part of their study in an academic program for civil engineering majors.

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The cadets began work on Sunday, and by Monday, the old bridge had been removed. Boyd said hikers and riders may still access most of the trail either coming from the west out of Minturn, the north out of Vail Mountain resort via Mill Creek Road, or the east out of Bowman’s Shortcut via Shrine Pass.

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