A Physical and Social Study of Mountain Bike Use on Five Segments of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail in Colorado

Date of Award


Document Type

Capstone Project


Environmental Policy & Mgmt

Degree Name

Master of Applied Science


Environmental Policy & Mgmt


William Robinson


Continental Divide Trail; hiking; Leave No Trace; Limits of Acceptable Change; Mountain Bike; Mountain Biking; multiple use; social conflict; Trail


This capstone reviews uses of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. Policies governing use of the trail appear to be ambiguous, especially regarding mountain bicycles. Mountain biking has grown since the trail was created, but is not fully addressed in existing or proposed policy. 382 people on five segments of the trail in Colorado were interviewed for this capstone. Mountain bikes, hiking, and motorized recreation were observed uses. User conflict, overcrowding, degraded recreation experiences, or user displacement was not reported. User satisfaction was high and most would return. Interviewees requested increased public involvement and recognition of user needs in setting policy. Trail degradation occurs, but is unassociated with any particular use. Recommendations for trail improvement and maintenance are presented.

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