Coal Basin Ranch in Crystal Valley opens private trails to public

A private landowner is welcoming mountain bikers with open arms in a unique experiment in the Crystal Valley.

Coal Basin Ranch opened a 5-mile trail network in mid-July that is open to the public at no cost. Riders, trail runners and hikers are welcome seven days a week.

“The whole model of private property being open to the public is unique in Colorado and the West,” said Trina Ortega, manager of the ranch and trail system.

The Waltons, who own the land, obtained approval from Pitkin County in October 2018 to build the compact trail network on their 221-acre ranch. An easement on the trails was granted to Pitkin County Open Space and Trails to ensure the system remains public.

The ranch is about 4 miles up Coal Basin Road from Highway 133. While only 5 miles, variety is the spice of the trail network.

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