Preparing for the Future of Spring Gulch
The Board of the MSNC began to notice the pattern of historically low snow coverage on our lower trails about 8 years ago. We realized the changing climate had long-term implications for Spring Gulch’s future and demanded a vigorous planning process to ensure the continued success of our trails.
After 2 years of planning, trail explorations, meetings and approvals from landowners and stakeholders, in 2022 we broke ground on 6 km of new, higher elevation, sun protected trails to the north and west of the current Spring Gulch trails. This terrain has more reliable snow pack both in the early season and later into the spring.
In order to access these new trails, MSNC is working with Garfield County to obtain permits to build a parking lot along the Marion Gulch road. The plan is to have the parking lot in place for the 2023/2024 ski season.
Once the new parking lot is in place, seasonal permitted ski access will be available from the parking lot to existing (Little Dipper) and new trails. New trails are mostly rated “Blue” in difficulty with some “Black” hillier sections.
New Trails Open
Most of the new trails are open as of Dec 29th, 2022. Lariat trail remains CLOSED.
New trails have names and maps at junctions, but we currently do not have paper maps available with new trails listed.
Make a plan before you head out, there is a map below that shows the new trails.
We Need Your Help!
The Spring Gulch trail system lies entirely on private land. The generous landowners of the North Thompson Cattleman’s Association and Crystal River Ranch have granted the community cross-country skiing winter-only access to Spring Gulch trails. Going there outside of our operating season is illegal -TRESPASSING- as is bringing a dog, a bike, a sled, or even your running shoes onto the Spring Gulch trails any time of year.
To ensure the future of Spring Gulch we need your cooperation in not trespassing on the land other times of the year, or bringing a dog or trying to access the trails for any other purpose besides cross-country skiing. Your cooperation is the only thing that will ensure the future use of the area. Thank you!
Rising Costs & Expenses
Operational costs have risen, the price of fuel, equipment, and labor have all increased, and in the past year our costs have gone from $500 a day to $800 a day. Memberships are the bulk of our yearly funding, we are asking our community to be as generous as they are able to help cover yearly costs. Thank you to everyone who has joined, volunteered, or purchased a hat- you are keeping us going!
We will also be asking our community to help raise the funds to build the new parking lot and equipment shed expansion. Stay tuned for more information. If you want to make a gift now please get in touch with Anais Tomezsko, MSNC Administrator.
North Thompson Cattlemen's Association - The Spring Gulch Trail System exists entirely on private property. The North Thompson - Four Mile Mineral and Land Corporation (aka North Thompson Cattlemen’s Association) and the Crystal River Ranch generously permit winter use of their property for our community’s skiing enjoyment.
The Conservation Easement Holders - The portion of the Spring Gulch Trail system that is owned by the North Thompson - Four Mile Mineral and Land Corporation is protected by the 4,738-acre Jerome Park Conservation Easement. The conservation easement is co-held by Pitkin County Open Space & Trails and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust. It permanently protects the agricultural, wildlife, open space, scenic, natural, ecological, aesthetic, and recreational values of most of Spring Gulch and a vast area surrounding it.
Crystal River Ranch – Generous landowner that permits our winter skiing access.
Mike Uncapher (Western Vegetation Management) - constructing all of the new trails and improvements to existing trails
DHM Design - Assisting with design, planning, and permitting to help MSNC execute its vision
Crystal River Civil - Providing civil engineering support for the planning and permitting process
Michael Hassig - Providing architectural design support for equipment shed expansion.
Last, but certainly not least, our donors and sponsors have provided the needed financial stability to move these projects forward, thank you!
Map of Existing & New Trails
This map shows the existing Spring Gulch trails in green and blue in main section. The yellow trails are the newly constructed or under construction trails. New trail difficulty is mostly "Blue" with some "Black" sections.
The blue trails in the upper right hand corner are Marion Gulch access trails and not part of the Spring Gulch system.