June 2 Update: Boulder County is following Colorado’s Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors order and every person older than 12 years old is required to wear a face covering when in public anywhere in Boulder County where social distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained through June 30. See BMA’s face covering recommendations. The FOURTH AMENDED PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER 20-28 SAFER AT HOME May 26, 2020 removes earlier restrictions of not traveling more than about 10 miles to recreate.
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors is not something to be taken lightly. Getting exercise and getting outside is extremely important for our well-being and mental health, but we must keep open spaces safe and uncrowded. Here’s what BMA is doing, and our recommendations for safe trail use during this time.
SOME BMA EVENTS ARE CANCELED
All BMA group rides, parties and other social events are canceled or postponed until such time as group activities are deemed safe again.
SAFE RIDING OPTIONS
STAY AT HOME
The safest option is to stay at home. Hop on your trainer, there have been zero cases of COVID-19 in Watopia. There are also many online workout programs and BMA business partner Revo PT & Sports Performance is offering Zoom no-equipment-needed classes as well as free workouts on YouTube.
RIDE FROM HOME TO GRAVEL ROADS AND PATHS
Our trails have been very busy since COVID-19 was first detected, now is a great time to explore Boulder County’s extensive network of gravel roads. No special bike required, just turn off your suspension and have a sense of adventure.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
If people are not using our open spaces safely, it is entirely possible that the local governments will close access. The Manitou Incline and Waterton Canyon remain closed due to COVID-19 health concerns. At an April 7 Boulder City Council meeting, Boulder officials discussed a city open space system closure as a potential step to ensure compliance with social distancing requirements, but less stringent measures are going to be tried first. The City of Boulder Open Space & Mountain Parks partnered with Boulder County Parks & Open Space, Jeffco Open Space and Denver Parks and Recreation on a joint news release to remind open space visitors to practice responsible recreation. But more importantly, the health and lives of our community is at stake. If you choose to ride trails during this time, please follow these guidelines.
KEEP OPEN SPACE UNCROWDED
- Pick off-peak times to ride, or less used trail areas. If there is no available parking at a trailhead, it is too crowded!
- Consider night rides where allowed (see BMA’s Where to Ride page for night ride suggestions).
- Ride fewer times a week.
- Don’t carpool, unless with household members.
- Don’t do shuttle rides.
- Consider riding solo. If you do ride with others, keep group size to 10 or less members and maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance at all times.
- For passing on singletrack, “If the trail isn’t wide enough for proper spacing, step gingerly off the trail at a 90 degree angle, being careful not to tread on plants if at all possible. Once you’re six feet off, wait for the approaching party to clear the area before delicately retracing your footsteps. If you’re a mountain biker, lay your bike down by the side of the trail first. Whether you’re on foot or on wheels, don’t cut a new trail parallel to the existing track—that’s called braiding, and it’s a long-term problem because your sucker tracks attract other users.” – The New Rules of Social Distancing for Trail Users
- Check out the City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks interactive map, now updated to show historic data of high and low use and which trails are wider than 6 feet.
- Don’t ride if you are sick.
- Avoid touching other’s bikes, racks or other equipment like pumps and tools.
- Don’t share drinks, food, or anything else that goes in your mouth and can be inhaled.
- Be mindful of your snot rockets and loogies.
- Use the bathroom before you leave the house. Some trailhead restrooms are open but aren’t being maintained, others are closed.
KEEP RIDES SHORT AND CONSERVATIVE
- Ride within your limits and don’t take risks. Now is not the time to send it, our healthcare system has enough to do without setting your broken collar bone. Backcountry rescue groups and first responders can’t attend to an emergency while maintaining social distancing, putting everyone at risk.
- Yielding to other users on the trail is always required and now clear communication about how to safely pass with at least 6 feet distance is paramount.
- Your immune system is temporarily suppressed while you recover from a hard bike ride. Back off the intensity and duration of your ride to stay healthy. Read more guidelines on exercising during the COVID-19 outbreak.
- When going out for any outdoor activity, let a friend or family member know exactly where you are going and when you plan to return. If something happens and you don’t return on time, this saves first responders from wasting time checking different trailheads for your vehicle.
- Check the weather forecast and be prepared for your ride with appropriate clothing, layers, water and food.
- The FOURTH AMENDED PUBLIC HEALTH ORDER 20-28 SAFER AT HOME states, “”Individuals may participate in local and personal recreation in outside public spaces, as an authorized Necessary Activity, in groups no larger than 10 and practicing social distancing maintaining 6 feet between participants. Travel should occur within an individual’s local community or as necessary to access outdoor recreation areas. If travelling outside their community, Coloradans are urged to honor all restrictions in place at their destination and avoid travel to counties or municipalities that issue travel restrictions.”
RESPECT TRAIL CLOSURES
See all closures and conditions on BMA’s Trail Conditions page
BRING A FACE COVERING
Beginning May 9, every person older than 12 years old will be required to wear a face covering when in public anywhere in Boulder County where social distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained. City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks and Boulder County Parks & Open Space are requiring users to bring face coverings when on Open Space trails. While the masks are most effective in indoor spaces like grocery stores and pharmacies where social distancing is hard to maintain, when worn outside they send a social cue that we are all doing our part. Bring a mask, neck gaiter or other face covering with you and wear it in the parking lot, at the trailhead and pull it up over your nose and mouth when you see people on the trail (even if those people are further than 6′ away!).
GO WITH THE FLOW
Several trails in Boulder County are temporarily suggested directional for all users to reduce encounters. Please ride the suggested direction!
- Overland at Heil
- Nelson at Hall
- Eagle Wind at Rabbit Mountain
- Bald Mountain loop
- Springbrook, Prairie Vista & Flatirons Vista at Marshall Mesa
BE SAFE AND BE SMART
We want to ride with you when this is over, please take this pandemic seriously!
- Boulder County Public Health Order
- Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors
- Boulder County Parks & Open Space COVID-19 Guidelines
- City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks COVID-19 Guidelines
- Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment COVID-19
- Colorado Parks & Wildlife’s COVID-19 trail safety etiquette
- Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland to Close Developed Recreation Sites
- The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland is temporarily discouraging recreational use of the Forests and Grassland due to COVID-19
- Explainer: Should I wear a mask while riding?