Trail closures extended in Avon, set to begin in Vail
Seasonal closure extended in West Avon Preserve due to muddy conditions
A seasonal trail closure will go into effect on Saturday for the North Trail in Vail, along with the Buffehr Creek and Son of Middle Creek trails that meet the North Trail north of Vail.
And while soft-surface trails are often the only trails to close in Vail during the spring season, this year the hard-surface Gore Valley Trail from Lionshead Place to the Simba Run underpass will also be closed starting Monday.
The soft-surface trail closures in Vail go into effect annually in an effort to protect wildlife, while the hard-surface trail closure is happening this year only due to a sewer main construction project underway in Vail. The full closure will likely remain in place until Jun. 6, and a shorter segment of the trail, from Forest Road to the Simba Run underpass connection spur, will be closed from June 7 to June 11, with additional closures possible after that.
The sewer main replacement is part of the Vail Wastewater Treatment Plant Master Plan Improvements Project, a $2 million project to upgrade aging infrastructure to meet mandated effluent regulations and improve water quality in the Eagle River, according to the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District.
“The duration of the Gore Valley Trail closure is contingent on the availability of asphalt pavement; typically asphalt plants do not open for production until May, dependent on weather,” the district said Thursday. “There may be an opportunity to open the trail with a temporary surface but that is also dependent on weather, material availability and construction progress. The detour route and signage will remain in place for trail users until the trail is reopened to the public.”
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Avon trails won’t open this weekend
In Avon, trails in the West Avon Preserve ordinarily see a seasonal closure lifted on April 15 for an April 16 opening, but that won’t happen this year, the town announced on Thursday.
Muddy conditions and an upcoming storm cycle prompted the extension of the closure, according to the town.
“Gates and signage will remain at the closure points until the trails are opened,” the town of Avon announced on Thursday.
Closed trails include the Avon Singletree Connector, BLT, Carroll’s Cutoff, Lees Way Down, Saddle Ridge, Wild West Ridge, and Wyse Way.
No date of opening was issued, but crews will continue to monitor trail conditions in the coming weeks.
Much of the West Avon Preserve is located at an elevation between 8,000 and 9,000 feet, and the National Weather Service, on Thursday, issued a hazardous weather outlook calling for showers below 9,000 feet, and snow above 9,000 feet.
“Light snow accumulation is expected in the mountains tonight, mostly above 9,000 feet,” according to the outlook issued Thursday. “Warm temperatures will continue to impact area streams with snowmelt runoff.”
In nearby EagleVail, a seasonal trail closure will go into effect on the Paulie’s Plunge trail starting May 15, continuing until June 20.
Some trails still open
While most of the 478-acre preserve is subject to seasonal closure, three trails near the top of the system — Our Backyard, Playground Way, and Beaver Creek Point — do not close for the winter. But if any trails in the system are muddy, trail users are also asked to avoid them, as hiking or biking on muddy trails causes damage to the trail which can be difficult to repair.
As of Thursday, Our Backyard, Playground Way, and Beaver Creek Point trails “also contain snow and mud conditions,” according to the town of Avon, “and trail users are encouraged to avoid trail use on upper trails when mud is present.”
The Eagle County area saw above-average snowpack this season, necessitating the extension of the seasonal closure in Avon. A similar extension occurred in 2019 following a strong storm cycle in the spring.