The main Sand Canyon trailhead parking lot has reopened with significant improvements, but another temporary shutdown will come when construction resumes in spring.
The uneven sandstone has been ground down, and fill material was added.
The trail now has two large parking areas. In April, Montezuma County built a parking lot for the trailhead, within county right of way, to add 40 parking spots and room for horse trailers. The Bureau of Land Management and volunteers built a spur trail to the main Sand Canyon trail system.
“It has been a successful, collaborative effort with the county to more than double the available parking at Sand Canyon to better serve the public,” said Connie Clementson, field manager for BLM’s Tres Rios district.
Overflow vehicles at the Sand Canyon parking lot had been parking along narrow County Road G, causing traffic and safety problems.
The main trail system of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument has grown in popularity, with 30,000 visitors estimated in 2018. In spring, Sand Canyon and East Rock trails are often the first to biking and hiking trails to dry out, attracting hikers, bikers and equestrians to Montezuma County.
“The extra parking will keep people from parking on the shoulder and creating a traffic hazard,” said BLM law enforcement ranger Tyler Fouss.