September 13, 2022 |

Bigfoot 99 hit the trail Saturday to “Bike the CDT.”

The Carbon County Visitors’ Council held the event, a first ever group bicycle ride on Rawlins leg of the Continental Divide Trail.

The majority of 3,000 miles of the CDT are harsh and mountainous. The town of Rawlins sits on a relatively flat portion of the trail, known as the Great Divide Basin.

Emily Haver, an Ambassador for the Continental Divide Trails Coalition, and a few riders braved the chilly weather to take in the beauty and history of the CDT.
The day was overcast and cold as the group gathered in the parking lot of the Carbon Building in Rawlins. Haver led the bikers North, out of town, along Third street. Everyone made good time on the smooth asphalt as they passed the Wyoming Department of Corrections Training Academy. Approaching the BLM Office, they left the pavement and joined the two-track path that makes up the majority of the Continental Divide Trail as it paralleled US 287 North.

The riders struggled through soft sand and rocky hills as the trail ran alongside the highway. They passed by mines that supplied material for the paint used on a famous American landmark.

From the 1870’s to the early 1900’s, this area was known for producing hematite, a red mineral that was used to make a shade of paint known as “Rawlins Red.” The coating was known for its anti-rust properties. The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City was originally painted with Rawlins Outlaw Red.

Two miles along the highway the CDT cuts West into the foothills of the Great Divide Basin. Here, the trail is marked by a sign showing that the next 19 miles of pathways are on private land. Passing under the nearby Rawlins Mountain, the riders turned North again and made their way several miles to the McMurry Gravel Pit. Cows wandered between the enormous piles of stone. The CDT detours around the pit and continues North. It wasn’t long after this landmark that the group stopped. They posed for a picture and made their way back the way they came.

Everyone arrived safe, but tired, back at the Carbon Building. Overall, the 12-mile trip took four hours.

Pictured above: CDT marker at 3rd and Maple Ave in Rawlins. Photo by Cali O’Hare/Bigfoot 99.

Emily Haver says that many people are unaware Rawlins sits on the National Scenic Trail. Her work with the Continental Divide Trails Coalition teaches the public about the history and importance of the CDT. Along with the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, the Continental Divide Trail is one of the three first federally recognized routes by the National Trails System and part of the Triple Crown of Hiking.

Ben Hinman, a Rawlins native, said that he heard about the event on Facebook and read a story on Bigfoot 99. He said that the Continental Divide Trail appeals to him because of its simplicity. An avid hiker himself, Hinman enjoys the lifestyle associated with the trail.

The youngest member of the group, eight-year-old Silas Copeland of Saratoga enjoyed the ride. He told Bigfoot99 what his favorite part was.

Follow the Carbon County CDT Facebook page for information about future trail related events.

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