Little Muddy Creek and Horseshoe bridges closed for safety

Release Date: Aug 6, 2020

GRANBY, Colo. (Aug. 6, 2020) – Two bridges on the Arapaho National Forest in Grand County are slated for temporary closures starting this month.

Little Muddy Creek

Forest managers have closed an unsafe bridge on Little Muddy Creek Road following a failed inspection. The bridge closure temporarily prevents through-travel on Forest Service Road (FSR) 134.1 from Fraser to County Road 3.

Little Muddy Creek Road, which is extremely rough and appropriate only for high-clearance and all-terrain vehicles, remains open in both directions on either side of the bridge. The closed bridge is located approximately 5 miles from County Road 3.

“The wooden bridge has long surpassed its intended lifespan,” said Sulphur District Ranger Shoshana Cooper. “The inspection revealed deterioration in the stringers and beams, and a hole has developed in the decking.”

The Forest Service is bringing in a structural engineer next month to assess the bridge and determine whether repairs can be made to render it safe for use, or whether it needs to be replaced.

While the Little Muddy area remains open for hunting, horseback riding, backcountry camping, and four wheeling, attempting to drive across the creek from either side of the bridge is strictly prohibited due to the potential for streambank erosion. Damage to the streambank could impede the Forest’s efforts to repair the bridge.

Horseshoe Campground

Forest managers are closing a small section of Keyser Creek Road (FSR 139) from County Road 3 to the Horseshoe Campground for the replacement of the Horseshoe Bridge. This closure begins Aug. 10 and remains in place through Oct. 16.  Keyser Creek Road remains open for camping, hunting, four-wheeling and other recreational activities from the Horseshoe Bridge to Fraser.

“We are hopeful the bridge replacement will be complete in a matter of a few weeks but, as with any construction project, we have to anticipate unforeseen complications and delays,” Cooper said. “Our intent is to reopen the road as soon as the bridge work is complete.”

Where to Go

Recreationists looking to access the extensive road and trail system in the Muddy Creek and Keyser Creek areas from the west or Williams Fork area will need to travel to Parshall and use Beaver Creek Road (FSR 133). All the roads in this network are best suited for high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicles.

“I understand it might be an inconvenience for people to have to turn around when they get to the closed bridge, and so we are working hard to get the word out in advance,” Cooper said. “Because conditions are always changing, I recommend people take time to do a little research and planning before they head out to the National Forest no matter where they are going, even to a place they have visited for many times.”

Forest visitors should obtain a Motor Vehicle Use Map for the Sulphur Ranger District before leaving home. These maps are available for free by downloading the Avenza app and will provide a GPS location even without cell service if downloaded in advance.

The best source for updates and information about the Arapaho National Forest is the Forest’s website. Information is also available by following @usfsarp on Facebook and Twitter or by calling visitor information at 970-887-4100. The location of the closed bridges can be found on this map.