Durango was the place
we liked most of all we visited in Colorado. The possibilities for
biking in the area are immense. The mountain
biking around Durango is fantastic. There are
no less than five areas with
trails. Even though one of the largest, Missionary Ridge, was closed
to the devastating forest fires 2002, we felt there was more to ride in
Durango than in any other place. The trails are highly varied. In the
Horse Gulch area they are desert like. North of town are high alpine
trails climbing as high as 3000 metres.
||The town of Durango is larger than it appears. One
realizes in the rush hours when there is a lot of traffic. We stayed in
United Camping a few kilometres north on the road to Silverton. It was
a nice camp site. The museum rail way between Durango and Silverton
went straight through the camping, contributing to the entertainment.
We soon made friends with Bob and Anne who lived in a mobile home.
Party at Bob's and
Durango has often
been said to be the cycling capital of the US. There
is something to it. The trails are incredibly varied, there are a
couple of good bike shops, the season is long, and most importantly a
lot of the locals are into mountainbiking. When we were in Durango the
NORBA-finals were held in the Durango Resort. It was a kind of
mountainbike festival. Lots of riders and supporters. All the important
companies had service tents. Many of our neighbours on United Camping
Luke our neighbour
Gave us a
We liked to watch
is known as the Horse Gulch. All the trails in the area are
non-motorized: i.e., totally free from motorbikes and ATVs. Horse Gulch
is just next to town. It is dry and arid. Trails are narrow hardpack,
with occasional rocky pitches. A map produced by Trails 2000 is
available free of charge. All of the trails are great fun.
The Raider Ridge
trail is a technical trail along the crest of a ridge with the same
name. Challenging and fun! Rocky road connects the Raider
Ridge with the Horse Gulch valley below. The Telegraph Trail
ridge in switchbacks ending with a really steep and technical climb.
Sidewinder is a fast twisting trail. South Rim follows the rim of a
top mountain, winding in and out of gullies, on roughly the same
altitude. Great fun! Big Canyon is a fast undulating trail that goes
down the dry
bed of a stream, going up and down the sides of it. Crites Connect is a rocky and exposed trail that connects Telegraph
and Sidewinder. All trails are great fun. There is every reason to
envy the citizens of Durango that they have such a splendid
area in the middle of the city.
The Colorado Trail
that goes all the way from Denver on a circuitous route through the
mountains ends in Durango. We rode the last leg from close to the
Kennebeck Pass. It was long beautiful ascent, up the Junction Creek
Road, a climb to Animas Overlook, then fairly level riding along the
crest of a 3000 meters high ridge, on FS 171, to a mountain called
Little Olga. There we left the road and picked up the Colorado Trail
heading down Fassbinder Gulch.
The trail was consistent singletrack winding and twisting downwards.
There were switchbacks, the path clinged on narrow ledges, passed
waterfalls, and gorges hemmed in by precipitous cliffs. Most of
the way down to Walls Gulch we were losing altitude and
were pretty close to the valley floor. It was followed by a steep
technically demanding ascent and high traverses on the slopes far above
Junction Creek until we reached a spot marked as Top of Climb (2910
Then, it was all downhill again all the way to Junction Creek, with
really interesting switchbacks approaching the creek.
It was a splendid outing, an epic ride in the true sense of the word.
Hermosa Trail is a famous epic ride. It is usually ridden down hill
from north to south. One goes up to Durango Mountain Resort, a ski area
some 30 kilometres north, along the San Juan Skyway. From the resort
one continues on a dirt road across a 2977 meters pass into the Hermosa
Basin and down to an area called Hermosa Park, a grassy plain. One
crosses the Hermosa Creek and then the singletrack begins. The first 10
kilometres it is fairly wide. Further down the gorge it becomes more
narrow. Some sections are rather exposed, following a contour line far
above the creek on ledges carved out for the trail. Approximately
halfway down the trail begins to climb seriously leaving the creek way
below. The last sections down to the road are on a broad fast trail.
From Hermosa Park to the road head is approximately 30 kilometres of
singletrack. It was a beautiful ride: one of the best we had in
Colorado. We liked it so much that we did it twice.
Jones Creek trails begins just where the Hermosa trail reaches the
roadhead. It climbs on steep switchbacks up to a 3000 meters high
ridge: a splendid climb and a great descent. On the crest of the ridge
follow the Pinkerton Flagstaff trail.
Flagstaff follows a ridge on high
altitude. There are several places where one can join the trail.
great to ride the ridge with the mountain falling on the sides and
We reached it
from the Jones Creek Trail, rode the ridge south till we reached a dirt
road (barely jeepable), then we returned and rode the Jones Creek down.
Riding on the ridge