A paved parking area for Horse Gulch? What a concept.
After decades of trail users parking haphazardly, illegally and in the way of local businesses at the east end of Third Street, an honest-to-goodness paved parking lot with 18 spaces is about to become reality.
Construction on the parking area, which will access one of Durango’s most popular trail systems, is set to begin Monday.
Work likely will continue until the end of August, city of Durango officials said.
Landscaping, trailhead signs and storm drainage improvements also are part of the plan for the trailhead, located off Third Street a block east of East Eighth Avenue. The parking area is directly east of the Horse Gulch Health Campus, which sold the land to the city.
The parking lot and trailhead puts “a bit of curb appeal on the entrance” to Horse Gulch, said Kevin Hall, the city’s assistant community development director. “Cleaning it up is good for everybody.”
During construction, traffic signs and fencing will provide pedestrian and bicycle access to the Horse Gulch trails. Hall strongly suggested not trying to park near the trailhead during the work.
“If you don’t have to drive there, don’t,” he said. “Your best bet for parking will be on the west side of Eighth Avenue.”
Also, the trailhead will accommodate a planned extension to connect Horse Gulch with the Animas River Trail at the bridge over the river just east of Santa Rita Park, Hall said. Another connector is planned from Horse Gulch trailhead to Goeglein Gulch Road. Both connectors are in the long-range plan, he said.