A trail-signing project for the Mancos Spur of the Colorado Trail was completed this month.
The 23.5-mile route begins at Mancos State Park and joins with the Colorado Trail near Kennebec Pass. The spur incorporates the Chicken Creek, West Mancos and Sharkstooth trails.
The Mancos Trail Group partnered with the San Juan National Forest to improve the trails and install about 16 signs at intersections to guide hikers, mountain bikers and horse riders along the spur route. More than 50 volunteers have assisted in the project since the project started in 2018, said trail club member Robert Meyer.
On Aug. 13, trail volunteers installed the last sign at the junction with the Colorado Trail near Taylor Lake a mile west of Kennebec Pass.
The multiyear effort involved thousands of volunteer hours from the Mancos Trail Group, along with partner organizations including Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Southwest Open School.
“It is a great feeling of accomplishment for everyone involved. As these things go, it took longer than planned,” Meyer said. “Segments of the trail were improved as we went along.”
COVID pandemic restrictions on volunteer group size effort slowed the project in 2020.
The trail-signing project included sponsors and donations from local businesses including the Absolute Bakery, Mancos Brewery (which brewed a Mancos Spur ale for a fundraiser), Osprey Packs and the P&D Grocery.
The Mancos Spur was part of the Colorado Trail as it was originally conceived in the 1990s and is shown on original maps. But the spur was dropped and segments of the route fell into disrepair.
The Mancos Trail Group made it a goal to bring it back.
By replacing signs to three existing trails that create spur route, nonmotorized trail users can now see the way from Mancos to the Colorado Trail, Durango, or all the way to Denver.
“People are looking for longer endeavors these days in the backcountry,” Meyer said. “From Mancos to Durango is 50 miles, a great opportunity for backpackers, bikers and horse riders.”
The new signs will help to lead the way, he said, and hopefully attract additional recreation business to the Mancos area.
The official spur trailhead is at Mancos State Park, or users can pick up the route at Chicken Creek, West Mancos or Sharkstooth trailheads.
In order to continue with trail maintenance MTG created an Adopt-a-Trail Program. Volunteers were equipped with training and tools purchased by the trail group.
Trail adopters, typically small groups, or sometimes individuals, worked on segments of 1 to 1½ miles of the spur.
Visit the Mancos Trail Group website for more information on the spur project and other trail projects.