The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority manages the greatest portion of the Rio Grande Trail which runs from Glenwood Springs to Aspen, Colorado. The Rio Grande has 42 miles of continuous multi-use trail and is completely protected from vehicular traffic except at intersections. The Rio Grande Trail is a rails to trails project which is built in the Aspen Branch of the historic Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. Train operations in the corridor ceased in phases, between the 1960s and the mid 1990s.
In 1997 the right of way corridor was purchased with a combination of funding by local governments, Great Outdoors Colorado, Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, and the Colorado Department of Transportation. This presented an opportnity to explore both transporation and recreation solutions to Highway 82 congestion and trail connectivity challenges in the Roaring Fork Valley. In 2001, RFTA was formed and thus a dedicated funding source for transit and trails was created. RFTA now manages and maintains the trail corridor, in conjunction with Pitkin County Open Space and the City of Aspen, in their respective jurisdictions.