Trail Construction Update: May 2020

Construction has begun on 5.5 miles of the Great Western Trail between Severance and Eaton. The $850,000 construction project is funded by grants from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), Colorado Parks & Wildlife “Colorado the Beautiful” grant, and matching contributions from the towns of Eaton, Severance, Windsor and Weld County.

The old Great Western Railway bed will be cleared, graded and a new 10’ wide crusher fines trail surface installed on top. A native grass mix will be seeded into all disturbed ground outside the trail surface. Construction will begin on the west end of the project with the modification of the historic Roulard train trestle for use as a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the lake.

Construction contractor L4 Environmental will work eastward from County Road 27, with a projected completion date of August 1, 2020. The final 1.5 miles of trail connecting into Severance is expected to be completed in 2021.

A rough schedule of construction activity is shown below.

Segment Earthwork Surface installation Seeding/Mulching
CR 27 – CR 29 May 21 – June 8 June 8 – June 17 June 22 – June 25
CR 29 – CR 31 June 3 – June 11 June 11 – June 17 June 22 – June 25
CR 31 – CR 33 June 15 – June 23 June 24 – June 30 July 2 – July 7
CR 33 – CR 35 June 29 – July 7 July 7 – July 13 July 14 – July 17
CR 35 – Cheyenne Av July 13 – July 21 July 21 – July 27 July 28 – July 31


kids-on-bikes-new-trailOld photograph of a Great Western Trail locomotive

The Great Western Trail is a wide unpaved trail located in rural Weld County in Northern Colorado. There is a 3 mile section of the trail that connects to the Windsor Trail system on the northeast edge of the Town of Windsor, traveling northeast across open countryside to the center of the Town of Severance. There is also a 2 mile stretch of unpaved trail beginning at Cheyenne Avenue in the Town of Eaton and proceeding west toward Severance to County Road 33. Construction of new trail between Eaton and Severance is now proceeding, with the goal of connecting the two existing sections of trail to complete the entire 10.5 mile Great Western Trail by the end of 2021.

The Great Western Trail is a mixed-use recreation trail that utilizes the abandoned rail bed of the Great Western Railroad. The trail helps to preserve this historic right-of-way through the “railbanking” provisions of the federal National Trails System Act.

The trail has a gentle grade, is quite wide, has very few street crossings and offers nice views of the adjacent farmland and the mountains on the western horizon. The Great Western Trail is part of Northern Colorado’s growing regional trail system.

Click here for a map of the trail.


The tracks for the Great Western Railroad were laid in the early 1900’s to service the booming sugar beet industry in the Northern Colorado area. These rail lines crossed through Weld County, Larimer County and Boulder County.

Read more about the history of the Great Western Railroad…


The Great Western Trail provides a recreational opportunity for the three communities as well as access for the local schools. The trail is maintained as a soft surface trail. It creates a corridor to connect the three communities and connects to the Town of Windsor Recreational Trail System to the west. The trail can be used to reach Windsor Lake and via on-street bike lanes to connect with the Poudre River Trail.

Find out more about the Great Western Trail Authority…

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Great Western Trail Foundation

Your tax-deductible contribution to the Great Western Trail Foundation helps fund construction of the trail by providing the local matching funds required by our grants.

Find out more about the Foundation…