The Estes Valley is fortunate to have hundreds of miles of trails that traverse Rocky Mountain National Park and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the western United States. However, the majority are managed by multiple local and federal agencies with differing guidelines and maintenance standards. The Master Trails Plan for the Estes Valley brings these disparate trails systems together in order to create a consistent, cohesive, and connected regional system of trails in the valley.
The planning process involved a series of partners meetings to bring the numerous stakeholders together. A partnership with National Park Service’s Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program also provided for an interactive project website, surveys, and workshops, which significantly enhanced the public engagement process.
The Estes Valley Master Trails Plan ensures that new trail development preserves and protects wildlife and natural habitat areas, serves youth and families, and is complementary to recreational use on adjacent public lands. The Master Trails Plan also demonstrates the significant economic, recreational, and environmental benefits of a thoughtful plan for a regionally-connected system of trails through the use of an economic impact analysis. Trail best practices were also considered, as were trail etiquette and safety, bike sharing opportunities, and the potential for a water trail in the Estes Valley.