Menu

Destination: Durango, Colorado

  • By Eszter Horanyi
  • Published May. 11, 2012
  • Updated Oct. 11, 2012 at 4:42 PM EDT
Scrub oak is the primary vegetation in Horse Gulch making staying on trail an important objective. Photo: MillerPerspectives | MillerPerspectives.Squarespace.com

Trail Systems

Horse Gulch

Located just east of town, adjacent to the Fort Lewis College campus, the Horse Gulch Trail System is the prime location for before or after work rides, lunch rides, all day rides, or spring, summer, and fall rides. Accessed from multiple points including the college campus, Mercy Hospital, and various trailheads in between, the series of loops provide enough variety for any length or type of ride.

Conceived and initially built by Trails 2000, the local trail advocacy group, the system started out with the Telegraph Trail that climbed from the trailhead up to a ridge following an old set of telephone lines and quickly grew from there with the Anasazi Descent being quickly put in as an alternate descent off the ridge. Since then, the trail system has expanded on both sides of the ridge with the Meadow Loop, Mike’s Trail, and Stacey’s Loop making up some of the front side.

With only a few significant climbs and nothing excessively technical, these trails are ideal for many levels of riders. On the backside, Sidewinder, Salebarn, and South Rim add more miles of fast singletrack interspersed with enough rocks and features to keep things interesting.

Ned Overend Bike Park

Starting in 1994, Trails 2000 began acquiring the land west of town through a series of purchases and dedications. The area became known as Test Tracks for its ability to serve up plenty of challenges on its steep hillsides, exposed traverses, and tight corners.

The area was renamed the Overend Bike Park in honor of former mountain bike world champion and Durango local, Ned Overend. Overend also sold 51 acres to the project in the 1990′s. For many years, the area lacked signage and riding in the area was better with local knowledge but a recent push to sign the trails has led the area to be accessible for locals and visitors alike. Still, a little local knowledge goes a long way towards knowing to avoid the Hogback and to climb up Hidden Valley in order to enjoy a screaming fast descent down Starwars.

Colorado Trail

The beauty of the riding in the Durango area comes from the variety available directly from town. While Horse Gulch and the Overend Bike Park serve up plenty of loops close to town, there are hundreds of miles of trails accessible from town that traverse the high mountains surrounding the area.

The final sections of the Colorado Trail link up the top of Molas Pass to downtown Durango with 74 miles of high singletrack that go over Rolling Pass, Blackhawk Pass, and Kennebeck Pass. From Kennebeck Pass, it’s 26 miles of downhill, with a small 6-mile section of trail that climbs 1,000 feet out of Junction Creek before descending down to the Junction Creek trail and the southern terminus of the trail. The Colorado Trail also provides access points to other trails that drop down from both sides of the ridge, opening endless ride options.

« Previous Next »

FILED UNDER: Destinations / MTB / Rocky Mountains TAGS: / / /

Stay Up to Date on Everything Cycling

Subscribe to the FREE VeloNews newsletter