New bridge delights Inn owner, wedding parties and hikers

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Bridge to Red Lion Inn in Boulder County, Colo.

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — A county bridge, built to withstand a 100-year flood, is finally open in Boulder.

The bridge was a joint venture between neighboring land and restaurant owner, Chris Mueller. Mueller’s famous Red Lion Inn suffered over the past 2 ½ years following a heavy spring run-off in 2010, which washed out a makeshift bridge the county put in back in the early 1950s.

“The county put in the bridge and should have been responsible for replacing it,” said Mueller.

“But because it was before they bought the open space and Chapman Drive Trail recreation area, they didn’t want to pay the $400,000 to replace the bridge. We were glad to work out a deal that increased the size of the tiny bridge I put in a few years ago, from 10 feet to 25 feet.”

The county knew hikers, bikers and equestrians would be using the trail, so the decision was made to come up with a stronger, safer bridge for people to use.

When the bridge went out in 2010, Mueller bought an old flat-bed rail road car to use as a temporary way to cross the river, a bridge he paid for with his own money, to keep the Red Lion open.

The Inn is a wonderful spring and summer wedding spot, some years more than 75 weddings happen there along the creek.

Mueller says he already has more than 50 booked for this year and more calls are coming as a result of the new bridge being opened.

Hikers now have a way to get to the top of Flagstaff Mountain—behind the Flat Irons—to enjoy the sights and sounds just west of the city.

While most are pleased they can now park at the bottom of the Chapman Drive Trail to hike and bike up, only problem for bikers, there is no riding down, and you have to come down from Flagstaff Mountain. Horses and snow-shoes are welcome both up and down, but the mountain bikers can only walk down the trail, something many are nonplused about.

Still, the trail opens new open space for people who love to get out and about in the canyon.