The Trails We Love – Arrowhead

First and foremost, join us in saying thanks to Arrowhead residents, their HOA, and even more specifically their trails/hiking committee who have been instrumental in the trail improvements on Arrowhead over the past 4 years.  We are fortunate that Arrowhead residents value their trail system and continue to pay for and maintain the trail improvements we as a community have been able to enjoy since the Ute trail opened in 2019.

Arrowhead trails and our access is a bit of an anomaly in our valley.  These trails are located on private property owned by Vail Resorts/Arrowhead HOA.  We are super fortunate to have public access to them.  This is why it is very important that trail etiquette and trail rules are respected and followed.  To clear a couple things up on this front:

So where are these trails coming from you may ask?  In 2018, the Arrowhead HOA planned and paid for the Ute Trail and Apache Trail construction.  These trails, built by local Travis Fahrney’s company, the notorious DIG, were constructed to be multi-use trails, including trails to be used for winter snowshoeing.  If you recall, the Ute Trail was originally bidirectional to mountain bikes but changed to uphill only in 2021 due to user conflict and safety issues.

Quickly after the opening of the Ute Trail it became apparent that it needed regular maintenance to ensure its sustainability due to the high use of the trail by hikers and mountain bikers.  The VVMTA connected with the Arrowhead Hiking Committee to form the Arrowhead Homeowners Adopt A Trail (AAT) team.  Since 2020, 64 volunteers on this team have put in over 235 hours of maintenance in the Arrowhead Trail System!

While we were out on the trails with the Arrowhead AAT team, it became clear that there was a desire and need to continue to improve the trail system.  But there wasn’t a plan in place on how and where to do this to ensure a connected, sustainable trail system was created.  In the summer of 2021, the VVMTA sat down with homeowners to listen to and understand the trail experiences that were needed to begin formulating a master trails plan.  We hiked (aka bushwacked) in the woods scouting potential trail alignments and connections and had a handful of meetings to discuss concepts.  

The VVMTA gathered, evaluated, and digested all of this information in partnership with the Arrowhead Homeowners and created the Arrowhead Master Trails Plan.  We have to add that we did this for free, please donate : )  

*Time for the disclaimer.  We need to stress that the lines on the map in this plan are all conceptual and not approved.  They all have to be ground truthed in the field, undergo environmental studies, and be evaluated by the landowner/manager to ensure any impacts that may exist are mitigated.  Some of the conceptual ideas in the plan extend beyond Vail Resorts/Arrowhead HOA property into Forest Service, Homestead HOA, etc.  These are to show the potential opportunities to connect to surrounding trail systems.  These are all very conceptual in nature and all require further discussions with those landowners/managers.

The plan was presented to the Arrowhead HOA board and approved in 2021.  Since then, they have used this plan to prioritize projects, allocate funds, and build the trails we have seen come to life including the Apache extension in 2022 and the Dakota Trail in 2023.  We are hopeful that we will see another new trail(s) in 2024 and beyond based on this plan as well.  We are also constantly advocating for sustainable trail connections to surrounding communities and existing trails in Avon, Beaver Creek, and Homestead

This trail story is still playing out but it’s super exciting to see how the stewardship and maintenance provided by volunteers on the trails in their backyard has led to a blossoming trail system for our community.  To ensure we continue to have access to these trails and can help the system grow, please join us in respecting the trail system rules and by giving Arrowhead a huge high five and thank you!

Photo Credit: Tony Campono Photo
Photo Credit: Meristemica

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