With the Bureau of Land Management’s acquisition of the Sutey Ranch parcel, there’s another way to get to the Red Hill area without parking at the often-congested lot at the intersection of Highway 82 and County Road 107.
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is cracking down on cars parked illegally at the Red Hill hike lot, and has set up barriers that further restrict parking.
Photos taken in April show how cramped the parking lot can become, which could lead to accidents, or vehicles getting ticketed and towed, the sheriff’s office said.
The parking will get even more restrictive when work begins on straightening CR 107 and renovating the parking lots.
Built in 2017, the smaller lot is on County Road 112 between Cattle Creek Road to the north and Crystal Springs Road to the south. It’s a longer hike to Mushroom Rock than from the Red Hill trailhead, but it could help ease congestion.
The Sutey Ranch will be closed between Dec. 1 and April 15 to provide space for wildlife, and the BLM will provide forage to wintering big game by maintaining irrigated fields on the parcel.
From April 16 to Nov. 30 each year, the trails will be open for hiking and equestrian use, and mountain biking will be restricted to between June 1 and Sept. 30.
The Colorado Department of Transportation is in the process of reviewing the permits and plans for the CR107 road straightening and parking lot improvements.
“The road improvements and parking lot work are budgeted for 2019, but timing depends upon the CDOT approval process,” Carbondale Town Manager Jay Harrington said.
Garfield County “encourages you to be pro-active and consider changing your normal routine a bit, while still enjoying this remarkable area,” the sheriff’s office said.
Horseback riders had hoped the Sutey parcel would be reserved for equestrian use, hiking and wildlife, instead of mixed with mountain bike trails.
In the end, BLM chose to mix the use but limit mountain biking from June through September on the Sutey Ranch parcel. That restriction does not apply to the rest of the Red Hill Special Recreation Management Area.