Stagecoach Anyone driving through Stagecoach State Park must have seen them: crew members, working in the hot sun like a chain gang, to clear a mile of sagebrush by hand and smooth a truckload of gravel with a rake.
All the hard work ended recently and quietly. There was no dedication ceremony, only a completed mile-long trail snaking next to Stagecoach Reservoir for mountain bikes and pedestrians.
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps volunteers began constructing the trail in late May and worked as much as 40 hours a week on the project.
At the time, park manager Wayne Olsen announced the Lakeside Trail would be completed by the Fourth of July and ready for holiday visitors. But Olsen and others underestimated the amount of time and labor it takes to hand carve a lasting stretch of trail.
Beyond official state park staff, the trail was built with help from the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, student volunteers from the Lowell Whiteman School and a youth corps team sent over from the Steamboat Springs Park District, Olsen said.
The completed Lakeside Trail is one mile long and four feet wide.
Visitors can access the trail by following County Road 14 to the park's main gate, taking a right and pulling into a parking lot on the left.
The entire stretch is flat and easy for family mountain bike trips or a leisurely day hike. It is close enough to campsites that visitors can walk from their tents and campers.
Olsen said the park hopes to link the trail to a larger system that will loop around the entire reservoir.
Today, mountain bikers and hikers hoping to circumvent the entire lake have to cross two county roads.
"To make that happen, we need to apply for grants," Olsen said. "First, we are going to wait to see how much usage we get from this trail."
The Lakeside Trail is officially open for use and will be maintained through the winter as a cross country ski trail.
To use the trail, visitors must obtain a daily parks pass for $5 or an annual pass that costs $50.
Stagecoach State Park is a newer park founded in 1989.
The Lakeside Trail is the second trail to be built in the park. The Elk Run Trail is five miles long and is located on the south side of the reservoir.