A 24-mile trail expansion project at Phil’s World recreation area east of Cortez has been completed.
Trail construction began in spring 2018, and the last few miles were completed this fall.
There are now about 51 miles of nonmotorized trails to explore in the section of Bureau of Land Management and Colorado Trust Land.
The new single-track trails were built in cooperation with the BLM Tres Rios District, Southwest Colorado Cycling Association and Southwest Conservation Corps. They are open to mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding.
The new Cash Canyon and Simon Draw trailheads are accessed from parking lots on County Road L and County Road M, respectively. The new routes are also connected to the original trail system reached from the main trailhead parking lot off U.S. Highway 160.
“The new trails have provided natural extensions of the existing system with flow-style trails, but they also include sections with increased levels of technicality,” BLM Field Manager Connie Clementson said in an email.
Two of the more challenging mountain biking trails are Poquito Burrito and Seldom Seen.
The Simon Draw routes have become popular for hikers and horses.
“The scenery and trail design are making these trails particularly appealing to nonmechanized users,” Clementson said.
The intent of the “stacked loop” trail design allows users to choose trail lengths in 1-mile increments.
The added trails continue the theme of directional travel for cyclists at Phil’s World. Two small sections, the NNout and $2 Crossing, are bidirectional in order to minimize resource impacts.
Expanding the trail system, and adding the two parking areas, has helped to relieve pressure at the main Highway 160 trailhead parking lot and on older trails, officials said.
Newly installed trail counters showed there were 3,500 visitors this year at the Cash Canyon trailhead, and 5,000 visitors at the Simon Draw Trailhead.
The new trails include: Seldom Seen, 2.5 miles; Doc Sarvis, 3.5 miles; Talon, 2.1 miles; Canal, 2.4 miles; Poquito Burrito, 2.4 miles; Highline, 2.5 miles; Cash Money, 1 mile; Abbzu, 1.3 miles; and Inner Loop, 6.4 miles.