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.

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.

Mines to Open Space

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

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


The State of the Open Space Report summarizes Summit County's open space program’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.
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  • We have protected over 16,100 acres of land as open space.
  • 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, the Colorado Lottery and other organizations.
  • More than 300 purchases and dedications have provided access or recreational use.
  • Open Space and Trails have constructed and maintained over 38 miles of recpath, an off-street bicycle network. This is part of the 55 mile system throughout Summit County.
  • Summit County contains close to 300 miles of natural surface/double track trails. Approximately 40 miles are within our jurisdiction. The remaining are maintained through the U.S. Forest Service or Town jurisdictions.
  • We have conducted forest management and reforestation efforts every year since 2001.
  • 1,090 volunteer hours were contributed to county open space and trail projects in 2017.
    • The value of volunteer time in 2017 totaled $25,146 according to the 2015 economic hourly value of a volunteer: $23.07.

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, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife shares strategies.