Visiting the Breckenridge Troll is about to get a lot easier!

Isak Heartstone, by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, sits in the new site along Illinois Creek Monday June 24, 2019, in Breckenridge. The Trollstigen Trail in Breckenridge that leads to the sculpture is currently under construction in order to make the trail more accessible.
Hugh Carey/Summit Daily News archive

Trollstigen Trail, which leads to the legendary Breckenridge troll sculpture, has been under construction since Monday, June 10, in order to make the popular path more accessible to all of its users.

Isak Heartstone, the name of the sculpture created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, has seen a lot of change over the years. After watching over the Wellington Neighborhood until 2018, the town decided to move him to his current location near the Stephen C. West Ice Arena and Illinois Gulch trailhead. Isak was officially back on display via the Trollstigen Trail in June 2019.

“We are removing the stone armoring, sadly, because it looked so beautiful,” Breckenridge’s Open Space and Trails operations supervisor Tony Overlock said. “We are then replacing that with a 5-feet wide, crusher-fine trail.”

The crusher-fine trail will be made up of crushed stone that is very compatible and durable to the ever-changing conditions in the High Country.

“It will be a great natural-surface trail, but it allows for folks with any type of mobility challenge to also use it — walkers, strollers, wheelchairs,” Overlock said.

Beyond overhauling the current trail surface, construction crews will also be working to improve the current condition of the boardwalk section of the trail.

“They are putting up a handrail for safety needs and decreasing some of the spacing between some of the decking,” Overlock said. “That way, if someone did have a walker, it would not go through the deck spacing.”

Breckenridge Open Space and Trails/Courtesy photo
Some of the work that has been completed at Sawmill Reservoir in order to convert existing trails into “all-person” trails.
Breckenridge Open Space and Trails/Courtesy photo

Like the Trollstigen Trail, trails at Reiling Dredge and Sawmill Reservoir have also been retrofitted into “all-person trails” that don’t completely meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards but are easier to navigate for people with mobility challenges.

“It is kind of a new direction we are heading in with our new open space and master plan,” Overlock said. “We are really trying to figure out how we can make our open spaces fit into (diversity, equity and inclusion).”

One of the major avenues that the town of Breckenridge has already circled as a way to address diversity, equity and inclusion is through improving the trail’s accessibility and signage.

“Any user coming to that trail can read the sign and figure out for themselves if the trail is suitable to them,” Overlock said. “They will know the cross slope, the length, duration, trail surface, if there are any rest stops or obstacles.” 

Breckenridge Open Space and Trails plans to complete additional “all-person” trail projects throughout the next few months, including the completion of a trail to an overlook area at Cucumber Gulch. Throughout the construction process at Trollstigen Trail, sections of the loop trail will remain open to the public.

“Since it is a loop trail, we are able to close one of the trails,” Overlock said. “One trail will remain open at all times, but it will be an out and back. Visitors and users should be aware of that and practice good trail etiquette.”

Construction at Trollstigen Trail, located near the Illinois Gulch trailhead in Breckenridge, is expected to wrap up in around two weeks.

“We believe that the outdoors is for everyone, and we are trying to accommodate that,” Overlock said. “Not just for those that are in a wheelchair, but also for those who may have gotten hip surgery or have small kids and a stroller.”

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