Red Hill recreation area officially reopened

Partnership fuels renovation and improvements at popular hiking/biking site

October 13, 2020

The new parking and trails area at Red Hill Special Recreation Area near Carbondale has officially opened to the public following a closure this summer while construction work took place. A wide-reaching partnership between Garfield County, the Town of Carbondale, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV), Aspen Valley Land Trust (AVLT) and other partners helped see the trail, parking and safety improvements to fruition.

Through an intergovernmental agreement (IGA), new parking and hiking and multi-use trails were constructed, and County Road 107 was realigned into a more streamlined configuration, making the area safer for visitors. The county provided $428,000 toward the CR 107 realignment and new parking construction, all of which was completed by Garfield County Road and Bridge.

The Town of Carbondale, which purchased the property at the base, will maintain the site. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Oct. 13, celebrating the massive effort that transformed the popular recreation area.

Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson summed up the project’s collaborative spirit by evoking some 1980s nostalgia from the popular television show the “A-Team.”
“You remember what George Peppard used to say? ‘I love it when a plan comes together,’” he said. “I think that is a perfect way to sum this up. This is a perfect example of a lot of entities coming together and I love it when the cities and towns work with the county. What a blessing; this is beautiful here and it is going to get a lot better once the shrubs and other vegetation grow in. Thank you for caring and being civic-minded and wanting better things for the community.”

Carbondale Mayor Dan Richardson added that many visitors have already lauded the new improvements, a sentiment that was highlighted by the dozens of hikers present on the trails above as he spoke.

“This is the kind of project that gives me goosebumps,” he said. “It was such a team effort … the cooperation involved solidified that this project was meant to be. Garfield County really stepped up with this. I was amazed and impressed by the work the road and bridge crews did here. I want to thank Town of Carbondale staff and especially the efforts of Town Manager Jay Harrington and Public Works Director Kevin Schorzman. Kudos to everybody.”

Garfield County Commissioner John Martin said the idea for these improvements dated back to the late 1990s, and was kept alive by the efforts of Davis Farrar, president of the Red Hill Council.

“Davis, proud as heck of you. You were always there, and we got it done,” he said. “I wanted to call it the Farrar Trail, but I didn’t get my way and though it’s still called the Red Hill Trail, I want everyone to know how proud you are of this and how much work you put in to see it through.”

“The difference between then and now is unbelievable,” Farrar said. “There’s no one person that did this. It is a partnership. This is probably the most popular recreation spot in the Roaring Fork Valley. It’s a partnership that has really been to the public’s benefit.”

1) A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the Red Hill Special Recreation Area near Carbondale. A local collaborative effort improved the parking area, realigned County Road 107 and increased safety for visitors at the popular hiking and biking area.
2) Davis Farrar, president of the Red Hill Council, holds up a piece of the ribbon at Red Hill on Tuesday afternoon.
3) Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson speaks to a small crowd gathered at the Red Hill Recreation Area near Carbondale on Tuesday.
4) Partners in the Red Hill Recreation Area improvement project applaud the official reopening of the popular hiking and biking site near Carbondale.
5) Red Hill Recreation Area has officially reopened to public use.
6) Carbondale Mayor Dan Richardson speaks to a small crowd gathered at the Red Hill Recreation Area near Carbondale on Tuesday.