Mountain Biking Durango Colorado – Durango is one of the OG mountain bike destinations, so why is it so underrated? Maybe we don’t know.
For some reason, the city of Durango, Colorado, manages to stay well off the mountain tourism radar. Of course, there are plenty of good reasons for that: There’s nothing else to write home about in southwestern Colorado except big mountains, thousands of miles of trails, and world-class ski resorts, including the national park. It’s hours from the main road and flights from the small airport are limited.
Mountain Biking Durango Colorado
But mountain bikers are known to sniff out the best places to ride, no matter how hard it is to get there. So why is Durango hiding?
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Hidden. “Durango didn’t just launch the bike map, the bike map was built around Durango,” says Ed Zink of Durango’s Mountain Bike Specialists at Singletracks.com. Juli Furtado and Todd Wells call Durango home. Cities like Fruita, Crested Butte and Steamboat Springs have more mountain bike tourists than Durango.
My personal opinion? Mountain bikers and mountain bike media can keep looking for the latest and greatest and forget the best of some of the old stuff. At the time of this writing (2020), Bentonville, Arkansas is the nation’s newest mountain travel destination. And while Bentonville is building a one-way trail on a conceptual level, it’s not the “Mountain Bike Capital of the World” as they say.
While Bentonville was the “in” place to ride, I’ve met mountain bikers who haven’t been to Moab since the mid-90s because they “checked that box.” Never mind the fact that Moab has built hundreds of miles of new singletrack since the 90’s, and many of the original trails still offer the best riding experience in the world.
I think it’s the same in Durango. While places like Bentonville worked (and traded) to make a name for themselves, Durango residents went about their business slowly. In addition to the hundreds of miles of world-famous singletrack found in the San Juan National Forest, trail building company Trails 2000 has built over 300 miles of singletrack near the city, according to Marty Grabijas at Singletracks.com.
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How many miles of mountain bike trails can you ride in the Durango area? It is impossible to record an exact number, as the city of Durango is the starting point for southern Colorado. Even longtime locals call the vast singletrack network “unbounded”.
Wrapping your head around a large, complex site is impossible, so in this guide I’ve boiled that big singletrack site down to a short list of hits. Below, you’ll find 8 of the top mountain bike trails in the Durango area that are loved and ridden by tourists and locals alike.
For high-tech city biking, head to Raider’s Ridge, Hogsback and Animas Mountain. If you want to drive out of town but want a one-way flow, try the Grandview Ridge Loop.
Engineer Mountain combines some of the best alpine sections of the COT with a great descent off the connecting route. Last but not least, the Hermosa Creek is a classic bike that has served as a popular bike since the days of the sport.
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As you make your way through the massive song list, you’ll quickly start discovering all the musical combinations you can input into this massive music system. When you start looking at the trail map near Engineer Mountain or Raider’s Ridge, you’ll be surprised at the mix of cars you’ll find. So, start with these tips and after checking them all, start creating your own fun way. The sky is the limit!
Kennebec Pass in Durango is an enduro-style challenge that starts high above the tree line and descends to a single trail through town. While the hub of adrenaline rushes, Durango, Colorado is at the center of everything Southwest Colorado has to offer. It is located between the slopes of the beautiful San Juan Mountains and in the four corners.
Its mountains, rivers, plateaus and outdoor possibilities are as limitless as the experience. The entire network is hundreds of miles of single track, creating a beautiful canvas for mountain bikers to play on the dirt.
Like many western cities, Durango has strong roots. And while Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge still run north each day on the Animas River, these days the mining town has largely focused on the iron horse, making room for the wheel of progress. Home to Ned Overend, Myles Rockwell, Todd Wells, Howard Grotts and Payson McElveen, Durango is now synonymous with motorcycling.
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COVID has put many of our travel plans on the back burner, but we’re all looking to make the most of summer in our backyard. With over 400 miles of trails, beautiful scenery and Purgatory Bike Park, riding Durango means never sitting down. A mountain paradise. And there’s no better time to ride in the highlands than autumn.
Grab your bikes, get their attention, and race some of Colorado’s best trails. Here is the land in three different sections, with perfect routes for a summer cycling…
The landscape around Durango ranges from high desert, covered in rock, dirt and gravel, to tree-dotted mountain grasslands, to rugged mountain trails, grown into tall forests. And they are all related. What you can do is limited by your legs and your speed.
Once in the city, your body can tolerate it (Durango sits at an altitude of 6,500′!). Consider making your mountain lunges on one of the local trails.
Tim Bateman Mountain Biking On The Hermosa Creek Trail Near Durango, Colorado Stock Photo
The Hogsback is a short but challenging hike up and out of town for views of the Animas Valley and downtown Durango. The best cycling route is on the Perins Gulch trail on Leyden Road. Follow the road for 0.6 miles until you see the Hogsback sign. The Hogsback Trail climbs another 0.7 miles, requiring you to hike the last few feet to the summit.
When you reach the top, measure your way. Follows the line of the nasal duct, descending to a
Birth, 1.8 miles from black diamond hole. The Hogsback is one of Colorado’s longest trails, testing your nerves, traction and braking skills.
Horse Gulch is on the south side of town and is popular with bike shops. It features around 30 miles of long, narrow trails that are perfect for the competitive rider.
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While you’re there, you can check out Raiders Ridge. Just north of Horse Valley and east of town, the unpaved technical road runs straight down the southwest spine. The local people explained the story to the invaders, saying that they were easy on the Moabites!
Colorado Road from Junction Creek. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, consider heading south on the Colorado Trail. Spanning nearly 500 miles through the Colorado High Country, the Colorado Trail connects hikers and cyclists from Denver to Durango. And one of the best (and highest!) trails is in Durango.
Section 28 is the last section on the south side, connecting the Kennebec Trail and the Junction Creek Trail. Fans will be on their way, following Fire Route 204 north of the city to the official start of the Champion Venture Road section. But the rest of us appreciate closing the Champion Venture trail and returning to the city.
Of course, you can follow the Colorado Trail out of Durango as a round trip, taking Junction Creek Road to Forest Road 204. The trailhead is 3.5 miles off Highway 550 (Main Avenue). Most riders starting in the city take the 10 mile route to High Point. The climb is 2,500 inches, but the descent is well worth it.
Durango Purgatory, Co
However you decide to take this section of the Colorado Trail, it’s full of plateaus, pine forests and views of the La Plata Mountains as you follow the creek back to town.
North of town on the west side of Highway 550 is the Purgatory Inn. It is ranked as one of the best ski resorts in the winter, starting in the summer, it elevates skiers to over 1,600 acres of single-track land, rivers and backcountry trails. The Purgatory music team has been busy, adding new, faster tracks every year. The result is a familiar road configuration.
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