One of Rocky Mountain National Park's wheelchair- and stroller-friendly trails has been updated to improve accessibility for visitors.
The Sprague Lake Boardwalk Replacement Project was officially completed on Oct. 20 and was funded mostly through recreation fee dollars, plus additional funds from the Rocky Mountain Conservancy.
The flat Sprague Lake Loop is about 0.7 miles and takes visitors around one of the most popular lakes in the park for hiking, fishing and seeing wildlife, all while under views of the Continental Divide. Its parking lot area has a picnic area and vault toilets, as well as an accessible backcountry campsite.
During the 2023 summer season, National Park Service staff and partners worked to replace a 230-foot section of the trail, which included a boardwalk built in 200 that brought visitors over riparian habitat along the southwest shore. That boardwalk had "outlived its lifespan," the NPS said, and the project to replace it would not only address its structural deficiencies, but would also widen the trail to better accommodate people in wheelchairs or using strollers.
A steel frame was installed as the support base to protect the wetland area and new wooden boards were laid down. Two scenic overlooks were also widened and improved.
Multiple agencies were involved in this project, including RMNP trail crew staff, members of the Rocky Mountain Conservancy-Conservation Corps, NPS staff from the Denver Service Center, Northern Colorado Helitack, volunteers with Teens Inc. and volunteers with Heli-Pile.