Aspen Highlands Trail Aspen, Colorado

With 2,300 feet of multi-use path located within a challenging and constrained corridor between Maroon Creek Road and the cliff-like banks of Maroon Creek, the Aspen Highlands Trail connects the City of Aspen Recreation Center with the Aspen Highlands Ski Area. Steep drop-offs routinely found within feet of the trail offered unique opportunities for both structural solutions and scenic features.

A Low-Impact, Active Transportation Connection Designed Around Challenging Mountain Constraints

In the steepest areas, two bridges (85 foot and 150-foot spans) were used to fit the path between the roadway and Maroon Creek Canyon. Other bridges, retaining walls, guard rails and concrete barriers account for narrow corridors situated throughout the trail. A concrete barrier/retaining wall combination was used to lower the path grade and best fit the existing terrain wall,  providing a greater level of separation and protection for path users. A thickened concrete edge is included to fit the existing grade and provide a anchorage location for a side-mounted railing. These constraints also provided great opportunities to design a trail with beautiful views across Maroon Creek Canyon. The path was designed to provide overlook areas to make use of the exceptional views. Boulders uncovered during construction were used in the overlook features and natural stone aesthetic treatments were used to match other City of Aspen parks. While minimizing impact, site materials and the incorporation of existing vegetation provide a natural look and feel throughout. The project also included a raised pedestrian crossing at the entrance to Aspen Highlands ski area.

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“When I can see a constructed project in Google Earth, I can see that I have literally changed the world.”

Scott Belonger

Senior Project Manager

Structural Engineering
“The best part of my job is seeing needed infrastructure (especially bridges) get designed, permitted, and built.”

Doug Sarkkinen

Director of Bridges & Structures