Fremont Pass Recreational Pathway Project
The Fremont Pass Recreation Pathway project is a collaborative effort of Summit and Lake counties, USDA Forest Service, and the Climax Molybdenum Company to create a regional recreational pathway connecting the pathway systems of the two Counties, passing through National Forest and Climax-owned properties over Fremont Pass and along the State Highway 91 National Scenic Byway (Top of the Rockies National Scenic Byway).The conceptual alignment roughly parallels State Highway 91 for just over 21 miles, connecting the Mineral Belt Trail in Lake County with the Tenmile Canyon Recreational Pathway at Copper Mountain. The Summit County Segment through Tenmile Canyon near Copper Mountain is scheduled for construction in 2020.
NEED for the Fremont Pass Recreational Pathway?
- Address the existing hazard for cyclists and motorists sharing State Highway 91 over Fremont Pass by creating a grade separated regional recreational pathway for multimodal passive uses
- Grade separated pathway would contribute substantially toward enhancing quality of life, safety, economic development, and community partnering opportunities
GOALS for the Fremont Pass Recreational Pathway?
- Enhance bicycle and pedestrian safety between the Counties
- Meet current and future recreational needs of residents and visitors to the high mountain region of Colorado
- Improve statewide and regional economies by creating a passive recreation route between the Counties
- Limit environmental impacts by utilizing existing infrastructure wherever possible
- Achieve established Local and State-wide goals for Bicycle and Pedestrian infrastructure
- Meet nationally recognized pathway design standards
Summit County Segment
The Summit County segment of the Fremont Pass Recreational Pathway Project comprises a 3.3 mile long paved multi-modal grade separated Recpath alignment bypassing a dangerous, narrow section of State Highway 91 near Copper Mountain in unincorporated Summit County. Construction of this critical segment addresses immediate safety issues on State Highway 91, and initiates the Governor’s “Colorado the Beautiful: Colorado’s 16” vision of connecting the communities in Summit and Lake Counties through the White River National Forest.
The Project is located in Tenmile Canyon on the White River National Forest entirely within Summit County. The approximate end points of the segment are the terminus of the existing Summit County Recreational Pathway system at Copper Mountain and the intersection of the northern property limit of Climax Mine and State Highway 91. The proposed alignment essentially parallels State Highway 91 along an abandoned rail grade to the east of Tenmile Creek until crossing the highway at its southern limit via an elevated bridge structure where users can utilize the existing wide shoulders of State Highway 91.
Project coordination is being led by the Summit County Open Space and Trails Department on behalf of Summit County. Summit County is in receipt of a Federal Lands Access Program (FLAP) grant, which carries with it significant funding, administration, engineering/design, permitting, and construction management support from the Federal Highway Administration. The vast majority of the project administration is being overseen by FHWA Central Federal Lands Highway Division. Work is also being coordinated in collaboration with the WRNF, through which the Recpath alignment traverses, and Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) who manage State Highway 91 to which the Recpath connects.
Construction of the Summit County segment commenced during in spring 2020 and is scheduled to be substantially complete by fall 2020. Final remaining work and Project opening is anticipated to occur in Spring 2022.
Planning for the other sections of the envisioned Fremont Pass Recreational Pathway is ongoing.
Through a Federal Lands Access Program grant awarded to Summit County in 2017, the Federal Highway Administration - Central Federal Lands Highway Division is overseeing Fremont Recpath Summit County segment construction. Project construction is occurring in collaboration with the White River National Forest and Colorado Department of Transportation. The Open Space and Trails Department is leading the project on behalf of the Summit County. Additional funding partners included Colorado State Trails, Climax Mine, and Summit Biking. Additional project supporters include the Town of Frisco, Copper Mountain Resort, Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, Lake County, and the Town of Leadville.
Highway 91 Crossing
Installation of a new 270-foot-long crossing of State Highway 91 near Copper Mountain and Climax Mine on October 30, 2020. This crossing will allow pathway users to safely access the widened highway shoulders between between Tenmile Canyon and Leadville.
The Summit County Segment has undergone an extensive environmental review, permitting, and public outreach process. Additional information about permits and process, including offsite wetlands mitigation at the South Forty Open Space in Silverthorne, is available in the documents below.