Blazing Trails in Buena Vista, Colorado

The following post comes courtesy of Global Site Plans' The Grid. CNU and Global Site Plans recently teamed up to syndicate Grid content, as its contingent of writers presents a view on the opportunities and issues of urbanization all across the world. CNU will carry select posts from the Grid direct on the CNU Salons.


 As discussed in a previous post, Revamping the Riverfront, residents of Colorado like to stay active. Whether it is public or private open space, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, kayaking, or another outdoor activity, Colorado doesn’t lack opportunity.Recently, the town of Buena Vista has taken steps to strengthen its local trails system.

First, one must realize what is considered a trail. The broad definition of a “trail“ would encompass sidewalk, bike pathways, walking or hiking trails, and even automobile paths. Buena Vista focuses on pedestrian and bike pathways as trails, although some (asterisked below) are along automobile routes.

An Example of a Bike Trail Along a BV Road

Currently, there are eight strong trails in Buena Vista:


  • Barbara Whipple Trail
  • Cottonwood Creek Trail
  • Whitewater Trail
  • Buena Vista Wildlife Trail
  • Arkansas River Trail (2)
  • Arizona Trail*
  • McPhelemy Park Trail
  • Railroad Trail*

While those are the trails I consider most used by Buena Vista residents and visitors, there are a few more local trails which are in the process of becoming more user-friendly: Gregg Drive, Rodeo Drive, Peak’s View, and Ransour, to name a few. The map hyperlinked, taken from the Buena Vista Community Trails website, shows the current and proposed trails in town, along with their respective connections to county trails as well.

Buena Vista Riverpark Trail Maps

Compared to the design and implementation of trail systems in the Midwest, trail design in Buena Vista is taken seriously. First and foremost, there is a Trail Advisory Board under the Buena Vista Board of Trustees that is responsible for the local trails system. The advisory board is responsible for the design, implementation, and maintenance of the town trails; this includes mapping the local trails and compiling a short and long-range plan for the future trails system. The Buena Vista Trails Advisory Board follows design guidelines established in the community trails plan for all local trails; guidelines include, but are not limited to, minimum width, a range of ground typologies, environmental impact, safe crosswalks, etc. Finally, the focus is not only on local trails, but their connections to trails throughout the county and beyond.

How do you and your city define a “trail?” What design techniques are used in your city?

To read the original post, written by Katie Poppel, visit Global Site Plans.


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