Down Valley Connector Trail Feasibility Draft Summary Report

I am pleased to release the Down Valley Connector Trail Feasibility draft Summary Report as prepared by Otak, Inc. As announced on the County website in late 2022, the County was awarded a CDOT Multimodal Options Fund (MMOF) grant to pursue a feasibility study for a potential Down Valley Connector Trail and hired Otak, Inc. to handle this project.

The purpose of this 3-mile trail would be to connect the outlying Down Valley satellite communities with each other along with providing safe trail access to the Down Valley Park in addition to providing a link to the Town of Telluride via the County’s M59 River Trail. 

As mentioned, the goal for this potential multi-modal trail would be to accommodate pedestrian and cyclist user groups. Due to the varying terrain and multiple communities impacted, the 3-mile corridor was divided into 5 segments of which segments 1, 2 and 4 are occupied and contain private homes and property. Public meetings were held with the residents who reside within the 5 segments and feedback and comments were garnered and taken into consideration with the feasibility study.

Since this is a CDOT MMOF grant, the County was required to pursue potential ADA accessible trail options. However, CDOT is aware of the topographical and physical challenges and limitations faced within the proposed trail corridor. Depending on the proposed trail alignment, ADA compliance may or may not be an achievable option.

This project is intended to provide safe opportunities for recreational use and/or non-motorized transportation. The scope of the feasibility study included: Select the preferred trail alignment location; Determine right-of-way (ROW) acquisition needed to construct the project; Identify potential site impacts including grading and vegetation removal; Inform the public of the project and solicit their thoughts and concerns; Identify potential environmental permitting requirements and concerns; Estimate the potential cost to develop and construct the potential trail.

Design Standards Considerations

The project has two considerations for accommodation: pedestrians and cyclists seeking both recreation opportunities and safe transportation routes and pedestrians only for recreational use.

The width and grade requirements associated with transportation standards can be costly and impactful within the narrow and constrained CO 145 corridor.

As an alternative, the project could be developed as a trail rather than a shared-use path.   Trails are designed for the recreational experience and are intended to provide little to no transportation value.

The next steps in this project process include a meeting with the Project Study Committee, another round of public meetings and a presentation/recommendations made to the BOCC.  

If you have any questions, please email

Thanks, Janet Kask, Parks & Open Space Director