The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approached RAMBO with the suggestion of a trail network near the Rifle Arch area as an alternative to user conflict in the Hubbard Mesa area. Much of the proposed area had been cleared for wildlife habitat improvement, but the lack of water prevented it from becoming a viable habitat. With no motorized access, and the hiking trail to Rifle Arch the only trail in the 2200 acre area, it was a rare opportunity to establish a trail system from a blank slate.
Grand Hogback Trails
Phase one consists of trail segments that provide preferred directional looped outings for mountain bikers and offer hikers a longer range and assortment of options. The very beginning of the New Rifle Arch trail will be rerouted east of the Green Valley Gulley, and it’s recommended to be machine built to facilitate drainage, increase sustainability, and maximize the hiker’s experience. This phase prompts the construction of an official new trailhead just east of the current “pullout” along Highway 13. The expanded parking area will be safer for passing motorists and trail users alike. Trail construction budget should also include a new trailhead parking lot, the decommissioning of short segments of the Rifle Arch Trail, and signage and fence/gate adjustments.
A last-minute availability by the local junior high RMYC kick-started the first quarter-mile of trail in late July, and the first RAMBO Crew Leader training the following weekend brought us to approximately half a mile of trail completed by the end of the month. Creating minimal impact trail in the delicate desert environment can be a challenging balance of doing just the right amount of work – enough to be sustainable, but not so much as to disrupt the slow equilibrium of Nature. The crew of local RMYC kids, and RAMBO volunteers deserve props for achieving this balance; leaving behind trail that looks like an especially fortuitous game trail winding along the edge of the mesa, with sweeping views of the Upper Colorado River Valley.