Open Space & Trails Department

The Summit County Open Space and Trails Department identifies, protects and manages open spaces, trails and trailheads to preserve and maintain Summit County's rural mountain character, unique natural areas and high quality of life for residents and visitors.

Summit County Open Space & Trails Master Plan

Summit County Open Space & Trails is creating a NEW master plan. Since the 1990s, our department has protected over 17,000 acres of land. We now also manage more than 100 trailheads and local trail portals, 38 miles of paved Recreational Pathways (i.e., the RecPath), approximately 100 miles of natural surface trails, and 50 miles of dirt roads. After decades of successful open space protection and trail construction, we now face new challenges with natural resource management and visitor use. With a new master plan guiding us 10 years into the future, we will be better able to proactively address challenges and adapt to change. But we can't do it alone!

Help us plan for the future of Summit County's open space and trails by visiting our project website here.



Recreation Opportunities


Open Space and Trails preserves the county's rich heritage of outdoor recreation and trail use. The county’s immense scenic beauty and mix of geography, public lands, and tourism combine to create world-class recreational amenities and opportunities. By and large, recreation remains the most important aspect to a vital Summit County economy.

Open Space and Trails works with multiple partners including the U.S. Forest Service and our local towns. Our properties are often gateways to the vast recreational resources that the U.S. Forest Service provides. We have numerous trail portals and parking areas throughout the county, providing a variety of recreational opportunities.
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Avalanche Awareness & Backcountry Safety

No matter what type of outdoor activities you choose to pursue in Summit County during the winter months, proper gear and knowledge to keep you safe in the mountains and avoid avalanche risk is essential. Learn more here and Know Before You Go

Mine Cleanup and Reclamation

Open Space and Trails preserves and enhances landscapes and recreational opportunities by reducing pollution at numerous abandoned mine sites

E-bikes

E-bikes are a growing trend in cycling. For more information about e-bike regulations and their use on natural surface trails or the Recpath, visit our special projects page.

Accomplishments


The State of the Open Space Report (pdf) summarizes the Summit County Open Space and Trail department’s accomplishments since its inception in 1995.

The report presents the current open space system and the many trails owned and managed by Open Space and Trails. It also provides clear metrics to measure the progress of the Open Space and Trails Department, including miles of trails, acreage of protected lands, and acquisition-related expenses.
  • The program has protected almost 17,500 acres of land as open space through over 347 acquisitions and dedications, working with over 200 landowners.
  • Each tax dollar spent to date to purchase open space has protected over $3 worth of property in Summit County, because our funds leverage contributions from property owners, Great Outdoors Colorado, and other organizations.
  • Together with its partners, Summit County manages more than 100 trailheads and local trail portals for convenient access to the county's bountiful, outdoor recreational opportunities. 
  • Summit County has constructed and maintains over 38 miles of Recpath, an off-street bicycle network. This is part of the 55 mile system throughout Summit County.
  • Summit County manages approximately 100 miles of singletrack, natural surface trails and 50 miles of dirt roads with partners at US Forest Service and towns of Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon, and Silverthorne.
  • 1,315 volunteer hours were contributed to county open space and trail projects in 2019 with an estimated monetary value of $32,875. 

Trail Camera

Watch elk, mule deer, coyotes, foxes, and mountain lions on Summit County Open Space. 

Preventing Moose Attacks

More people are attacked by moose than by any other wildlife species, but attacks are preventable. See Colorado Parks and Wildlife's strategies for preventing moose attacks.