Connects: Little Cloud Park, Little Cloud Trail, AJAX Trail, Koch Lumber Park
Aspen, CO – Easy – 0.30 Miles – Walk, Hike, Run, Mountain Bike – Gravel
Midland Trail is an easy trail you can walk, run, and bike that is dog friendly. This is a 0.30 mile gravel trail in Aspen, CO.
In July 1886, the City Council granted the Colorado Midland Railroad a valuable right-of-way into the center of town. The rail line ran through the Roaring Fork Valley and had to cross both Maroon and Castle Creeks to reach Aspen. In town, the rail passed along the base of Shadow Mountain, then continued along Dean Street, arriving at the Midland Depot between Hunter and Spring Streets, near the present location of the gondola.
This was an opportune route since the track tied directly to tramways carrying ore from Aspen Mountain. Over the course of fire years, the use of the railroads to service the mines doubled the quantity of ore transported to a staggering 4,000 tons a week in 1892.
This project has been financed in part with federal funds from the National Historic Preservation Act, administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior and from the Colorado Historical Society.“
On December 28, 1917, in the midst of World War I, the United States Railroad Administration took over control of the nation’s railroad companies. In an effort to rid the system of “wasteful competition,” the Colorado Midland was shut down and made its graveyard run from Grand Junction to Colorado Springs on August 4, 1918. Some of the rail cars later saw service in France under the auspices of the American Expeditionary Force and the rest were sold off to various interests.
Colorado Midland Engine No. 21
by William Walker, A Veteran Railroad Man
We have heard the throb of your square exhaust,
Loud and sharp on the mountain grades,
Soft and Low through the meadows green and wide
Or in flower decked upon glades.
You were faithful and true on the high divides
Or down by the streams in the canon’s rough bed,
Around the sharp curves thru rocky cuts
And along dizzy heights where the crooked track led.
On both the night and the daylights runs
We took our turn with the “varnished cars;”
We pulled our train in the shining sun
And under the light of the silent stars.
When we whistled in the junction point
The second division crew would say,
As they heard the sounds of your mellow chime,
“It’s the 21, and 5 is on time today.”
But the track is torn up and abandoned now
And you and I have both fallen from grace –
You are hauling logs in a low Texas swamp
And I am old and useless and out of the race.
Poem found in Koch Lumber Co.
Collection of the Aspen Historical Society.“
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