New Codell Trail adds to Red Rock Canyon’s interpretive offerings
After a construction workday with 32 volunteers Sept. 18, the new Codell Trail is open to users at Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
The roughly 1,600-foot trail - most of it atop a hogback - parallels the Hogback Valley Trail near the eastern boundary of the 790-acre open space.
According to the “Project Goals and Objectives” handed out to Codell crew leaders Sept. 18, the trail offers “unique interpretive opportunities.” These include views of the city and, down the slope below it (off present-day 31st Street), the remains of the Colorado-Philadelphia gold mill that closed in 1911. Hikers can also get close-up looks at Codell sandstone formations and paleontological finds alongside the trail, the “Project Goals” document states.
The trail's construction was recommended in the city's 2004 Red Rock Canyon Master Plan.
Project organizers were the Friends of Red Rock Canyon, the City Parks Department and the Trails, Open Space and Parks (TOPS) program it administers.
With a smaller volunteer turnout than expected Sept. 18 - there were about 70 pre-registered no-shows - the workday was limited to the challenging chores necessary to get the trail open at the north access to the Hogback Valley Trail, according to project leader Bob Johnson. In addition to using hand tools to carve new trail tread into the side of the hill, the work included construction of two switchbacks, two single-rock-high (“mono”) walls and a 14-level set of boxed steps.
“It went real well with the shortage of people,” Johnson said. “The basic structures are in. We've got some trimming-up to do, and we'll go back and fix it up, but all in all it was a great success.”
Chris Lieber, the project's technical advisor and crew leader of the steps section, echoed Johnson's comments. “There were a lot of tired folks and smiles all around,” he said.
Part of the work that still needs completion, Johnson pointed out, is rerouting a 200-foot-long “social trail” with drainage issues that currently serves as the Codell Trail's south access to the Hogback Valley Trail.
However, he said, that access is at least usable now, and “people are encouraged to walk the trail.”
Signage for the trail will be added at a later date, but for now people can at least recognize the Codell's north access by the recent dig marks.
The Codell Trail is less than a mile from the 31st Street trailhead south of Highway 24, via the Lower Hogback Trail to Hogback Valley Trail.
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