The Town of Estes Park has officially purchased 65 acres on the south side of Prospect Mountain for the Town’s newest publicly accessible open space, known as the Thumb Open Space. The name refers to the large rock outcrop on the southeastern side of the property.
For decades this property has been a popular -- but privately owned -- hiking and climbing destination. First climbed by the legendary Tom Hornbein in the late 1940s, the Thumb Open Space features were later used by Tommy Caldwell as a training ground. The property now offers nearly 50 routes from 5.0 all the way up to 5.13, as well as high-quality bouldering. The area is also known for its great hiking, trail running and dog walking—with Longs Peak, Mount Meeker, and Twin Sisters in view from nearly the entire trail.
The purchase ensures the property will remain undeveloped and open for wildlife and future public access after completion of a scientifically developed and community-driven management plan. The Town of Estes Park and its partners are committed to balancing the use of the open space for recreational purposes, ecological considerations, and the quality of life for residents of the neighborhood and community.
The existing trail remains open for hiking and is accessible from Peak View Drive. The remainder of the property is closed to all other uses, including climbing, until the Management Plan is complete. Users are reminded to please respect private property and refrain from leaving the marked public trail.
The Management Plan effort is expected to be completed within the next 12 months by a team of interested stakeholders and surrounding HOA members who will offer public input opportunities prior to presenting the draft Management Plan to the Town Board for approval. The Town is currently seeking a consultant for the management planning process.
The purchase was made possible through the dedication of partners including the previous owner of the open space, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO), Access Fund, Estes Valley Land Trust, Rocky Mountain Conservancy and the Town of Estes Park. For additional information, please visit www.estes.org/thumb or call Parks Supervisor Brian Berg at 970-577-3783.