If you listen closely while hiking the Maxwell Falls trail in Evergreen, you’ll hear the wind whistling through the pine boughs, and the water tumbling over rocks in Maxwell Creek. You’ll also hear the pitter patter of hikers climbing to the falls.

A lot of hikers. No matter what day of the week it is.

“The population growth here in Colorado is impacting the use of trails,” Steve West says, while taking a little break during his own hike up the path.

If there’s anyone that can recognize trail damage it’s Steve.

“I started trail work with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado in 1991," he says.

Steve continuously calls out flaws in the trail as he hikes. He notices where trails split and widen due to increased traffic. He also notices the graffiti people have left behind, but he asked us not to show that.

“I just don’t want to encourage folks coming up and tagging our forests," he says.

Steve has seen these trails change a lot in Colorado since he moved here in 1961, but he thinks the influx of trail use can lead to positive results.

“Gosh, all it takes to maintain a trail is a size 48 T-shirt and a size two hat,” chuckles Steve.

There are many reputable trail organizations to donate your time or money to. Steve says there are more benefits to working on a trail than just maintaining it.

“You come off the trail and say, ‘Ya know what, I had fun today,’ and you’re smiling, and you know what, that’s what it’s all about.”

These are the organizations Steve recommends, if you'd like to get involved:

Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado


Boulder Open Space

Boulder Parks and Recreation Volunteer

Friends of Staunton State Park

Friends of Mount Evans & Lost Creek Wilderness

Trails 2000

Colorado Fourteeners Initiative