Crested Butte to Crested Butte South multimodal trail planning

Click Here for the CB to CB South Trail Survey

Welcome to the Crested Butte to Crested Butte South Multimodal Trail Connection Project!

Gunnison County is beginning the planning and community outreach for a new multimodal trail connection between Crested Butte and Crested Butte South (CB – CB South) in the Highway 135 corridor. This trail connection has been identified as an important project by the County for over a decade, and in 2022 it was included in the County’s Capital Improvement Plan and Strategic Plan. A key goal of this multimodal trail is to create a safe bike and pedestrian connection to services and communities between CB and CB South, while also supporting community goals around reduced vehicular trips and greenhouse gas emissions. 

In the spring of 2023, Gunnison County hired Design Workshop to support community engagement and trail design. Design Workshop is being supported by Collins Engineering, Colorado Wildlife Sciences, and True North Surveying. The Design Workshop team will complete the project in phases, each with a focus on technical data and community feedback.

Community engagement lies at the heart of this project. We firmly believe that the input and involvement of local residents, businesses, and stakeholders are invaluable for shaping a multimodal trail that meets the needs and aspirations of our community. Through a series of focus groups and public meetings we will actively seek your ideas, concerns, and suggestions. See our schedule below for more information on when and how to get involved. 

A Community Survey is available through October 1 and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete: "Click here to complete the survey"

Project Timeline:

The project is divided into four different phases, with three Engagement Windows for the community to provide input on the multimodal trail alignment and design. The plan process will result in a vision for the corridor between the communities of Crested Butte and Crested Butte South that reflects the shared values and goals established during engagement sessions with community members and local officials. It will identify strategies for implementation and phasing, as well as provide materials to be used in pursuit of funding opportunities. Residents of Gunnison County will be invited to share their input throughout the plan’s development. 

Phase 1: Project Visioning + Alignment focuses on creating a clear baseline understanding of the area. The team will complete focus group meetings with key stakeholders, including the STOR Committee, local landowners, and the CB South POA. In addition, existing conditions data related to the land will be compiled into a series of base maps to illustrate key land characteristics, such as topography and land uses.

Phase 2: Conceptual Trail Alignment is when the initial concepts for the trail alignment will be completed. A Community Open House was held on September 12 to gather community input about the potential alignment options. A community survey is open September 12 – 26 to enable broader participation from the community. The consultant team will provide a summary of feedback completed in this phase of work.

Phase 2: Conceptual Trail Alignment is when the initial concepts for the trial alignment will be completed. A Community Open House will be held in the early fall to gather community input about the potential alignment options.

Phase 3: Action Plan for Project Implementation focuses on creating a roadmap for Gunnison County through multimodal trail completion. This will identify potential funding sources as well as next steps in design and technical coordination that is needed to construct the multimodal trail.

Phase 4: Document Preparation is the final phase. A final schematic design document will detail the work completed, and the preferred design alternative. The team will share the plan with the community, as well as elected and appointed officials, for final comments before adoption.  

CB to CBS Trail Project - 5-19-23

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the Highway 135 corridor like today?

Crested Butte and Crested Butte South are connected by a 7.5 mile stretch of Highway 135, which carries an average of 7,000 vehicles each day. It is the only paved year-round access to Crested Butte. Along this stretch of Highway 135 are multi-generational ranch lands, industrial land uses, housing developments, wildlife and the Slate and East Rivers. At full build-out, CB South is anticipated to have 2,600 residents, not including anticipated future development in subdivisions like Whetstone and North Village.

What is the purpose of this trail? How will the trail be used?

The trail is intended to support commuting between Crested Butte and Crested Butte South, enhancing transportation options for residents and reducing traffic along Highway 135. While the alignment may provide connection to recreation trails in the area, its main focus is to increase safety for all users in the corridor and reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled by providing a dedicated bicycle connection, increase access to bus stop and transit hubs, and curb greenhouse gas emissions.

How will organizations like CDOT and CPW be involved?

In order to successfully bring this project to fruition, close coordination with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is imperative. The County and Design Workshop team will work with these organizations to ensure compliance with relevant regulations and guidelines. 

Highway 135 is a CDOT road, so any design that impacts or changes the Highway will require review and coordination with CDOT. By working with CDOT, we can integrate the trail into the existing transportation infrastructure, enhancing connectivity and accessibility for all users. Depending on the proposed alignment, specific technical requirements from CDOT may need to be incorporated, such as how trail crossings align with the right-of-way.

There is a rich mix of flora and fauna align the corridor, and special attention to minimize disturbance to critical natural lands is important. Collaboration with CPW will guarantee that the trail is designed and implemented in a manner that minimizes any potential impact on wildlife habitats and preserves the ecological integrity of the region. 

How will a final proposed alignment be determined?

The consultant team will review existing conditions information, such as the topography of the land, agricultural operations, drainage patterns, river locations, wildlife, and existing access points to private property. It is important the multimodal trail design takes these factors into consideration, but equally important is hearing from the community what the trail should look and feel like. Based on the technical data and initial understanding from community engagement efforts, the design team will create trail alignment options for community feedback. A final proposed alignment and schematic design will be completed based on the community input and technical input from stakeholders like CDOT. The Board of County Commissioners will be asked to adopt the final document that identifies the preferred alignment.

What are the proposed alignments?

The consultant team prepared three potential alignments along Highway 135 based on extensive survey information. This information included grading and general utility data, allowing us to assess the feasibility and impact of each alignment. Importantly, these alignments were designed to respect existing ranching lands and maintain all existing access points along the corridor to ensure minimal inconvenience to property owners and businesses. The goal is to create a trail that is both functional and respectful of the community and its existing land uses. The three alignments that were studied and shared as part of the Fall engagement process included:

Alignment A: 

This alignment uses Cement Creek Road and then follows the east side of Highway 135 from Hidden River Ranch Subdivision to the Brush Creek Intersection. 

The alignment is primarily in the CDOT right-of-way but uses an existing recreation easement within the Hidden River Ranch Subdivision. 

21,007 Linear Feet

1 River Crossing

4 Road Crossings

7 Driveway Crossings

Alignment B:

This alignment uses Cement Creek Road and then follows the east side of Highway 135 out of Hidden River Ranch Subdivision and crosses the highway south of the Whetstone Industrial Park. 

The alignment crosses Highway 135 at three (3) points. 

The alignment is primarily in the CDOT right-of-way but uses an existing recreation easement within the Hidden River Ranch Subdivision. 

23,791 Linear Feet

1 River Crossing

3 Road Crossings

5 Driveway Crossings

Alignment C:

This alignment uses Cement Creek Road and then follows the east side of Highway 135 out of Hidden River Ranch Subdivision and crosses the highway south of the Whetstone Industrial Park. 

It remains along the west side of Highway 135 until the Brush Creek Road intersection. 

The alignment is primarily in the CDOT right-of-way but uses an existing recreation easement within the Hidden River Ranch Subdivision. 

23,547 Linear Feet

1 River Crossing

3 Road Crossings

7 Driveway Crossings

Why is the trail alignment along Highway 135 necessary, and how is it designed to address private property issues?

The alignment along Highway 135 is necessary because the county does not have permission to utilize private property for this trail in many sections. While some property owners have expressed a willingness to cooperate with the County, this include the majority of the route. Therefore, the alignment along the highway is a practical solution that allows us to create a continuous trail without relying on private landowners' consent. We will work closely with property owners who are willing to collaborate and ensure that the trail respects their property rights and concerns. Additionally, including a highway alignment at this time does not preclude additional trail connections and alignments in the future.

Done Editing

Will the trail require crossing private property?

The multimodal trail alignment is not known at this time. The team’s analysis will consider what space exists in the existing Highway 135 right-of-way and how that could be used to provide a safe pedestrian and bike trail. The team will also meet with property owners along the corridor to understand their goals, ideas and concerns about the specific alignment as it relates to their property. 

Can a trail along a busy state highway provide a good trail experience, and are there any examples from other areas?

Yes, a trail along a state highway can provide an excellent trail experience if designed thoughtfully. Many communities in the mountain west have successfully developed trails along state highways that offer safe and enjoyable experiences for users. Examples like the Rio Grande Trail from Glenwood to Aspen, the paved bike path along the entrance / valley floor into Telluride from Highway 145, and the pathway system in Jackson, WY demonstrate that it's possible to create scenic and enjoyable trails alongside roadways. In Aspen, there is a trail connection from the Aspen Airport Business Center following Highway 82 from the airport into town. In Telluride, a number of bike paths cross Highway 145 to provide access to Telluride, Lawson Hill, and Mountain Village, and a 5- mile path follows the highway into Telluride. In Jackson, paved trails are located along each major state highway into and out of town, providing a connection to Wilson, Teton Village, and the national parks. 

These trails often incorporate features like landscaping, noise barriers, and scenic viewpoints to enhance the user experience and mitigate any potential drawbacks of proximity to a highway. The lessons learned from these successful projects will inform the design of our trail to ensure it offers a safe and enjoyable experience for all users.


Multimodal path in Telluride along Highway 145


Multimodal path in Jackson, WY along state highway


Multimodal path in Aspen along Hwy 82.

How might this project be implemented? 

Once this project is completed, the County will need to move forward with detailed design documentation and construction documentation. The County will also explore state and federal grant opportunities to support construction of the multimodal trail. Additional environmental analysis may be required prior to construction.

Is there a timeframe that the trail is expected to be constructed in? 

Following the Community Open House a preferred alignment will be chosen to move forward into detailed design. Design Workshop and Collins Engineers will complete a phasing plan and opinion of probable cost exercise that will determine when the trail will be able to be constructed and for how much.

Where can I view the final plan?

The final plan will be publicly available on the Gunnison County website.

How can I learn more?

You can get in touch with the project team by emailing Cathie Pagano ( or Martin Schmidt (