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  1. #1
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    Durango trail suggestions

    My wife and I will be in Durango next week for a few days. What are the 'don't miss' rides down there? We'll have 3 days

    BTW, I'm checking the other forum as well.
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    Lived there for 12 years. Hermosa Creek is overrated IMO, unless you do it out and back.

    Spend a day in Horse Gulch and ride everything you can. That will be a couple hours and you can get out early enough to avoid afternoon / eve thundershowers.

    Spend a day up high and do the Molas - Cascade shuttle. That's if your wife is up for the high country stuff.

    Day three you should be tired, so ride Dry Fork from town and do it all CCW.

    Breakfast at the Diner. Beers at Carvers. PM for more info.


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    Junction Creek / Colorado Trail (Kennebec Pass back to town on the CT if it is rideable)
    Any of the "in-town" trails, e.g. Animas, Telegraph, etc. (lots of Trails 2000 built stuff should all be in great condition)
    Hermosa Creek (if the creek crossings are doable yet)


    Lots of great stuff up high, but check with the local shops and see what is rideable.



    Quote Originally Posted by ameybrook View Post
    Lived there for 12 years. Hermosa Creek is overrated IMO, unless you do it out and back.

    ...
    Everyone has to do it at least once before they can officially consider it overrated
    Last edited by topmounter; 07-12-2011 at 02:00 PM.

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    Hermosa Creek is overrated, as in it's not one of the best rides in the country, but it's still a sweet ride that is enjoyable for a wide variety of abilities (sweet for experts, epic for beginners).

    Kennebec Pass to town is one of my top 5 rides period, but it's WAY WAY WAY better if you can pay for a shuttle (Hermosa Tours).

    Molas to Cascade is the best ride I have every done. Epic, amazing, beautiful. But it took my sorry ass 6 or 7 hours, which is a lot of time to be above treeline (as all but the end of this ride is). If you'd like a shorter one, Coal Bank Pass to Cascade will do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ameybrook View Post
    Lived there for 12 years. Hermosa Creek is overrated IMO, unless you do it out and back.

    Spend a day in Horse Gulch and ride everything you can. That will be a couple hours and you can get out early enough to avoid afternoon / eve thundershowers.

    Spend a day up high and do the Molas - Cascade shuttle. That's if your wife is up for the high country stuff.

    Day three you should be tired, so ride Dry Fork from town and do it all CCW.

    Breakfast at the Diner. Beers at Carvers. PM for more info.
    Very much agree Hermosa is overrated. However, Jones Creek, to Dutch Creek, to Hermosa is a great loop. Check with locals in regards to creek crossings. They still have tons of snow up high, maybe more than we have here? Expect wet feet for sure, but it's well worth it. If you like Dakota Ridge you'll like Raider's Ridge in the Horse Gulch area, but it get's smoking hot down there. If you like steep trails Hog back is fun but very short. There's plenty of other trails in that area for added miles but most of them were kind of boring IMO. You can see the Hog Back DH from town. The whole trail system is very user friendly with maps at most trail junctions just like Horse Gulch.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99 View Post
    However, Jones Creek, to Dutch Creek, to Hermosa is a great loop.
    I'm going to assume that since IE's wife is coming along that she's going along for the rides. In this case, I'm also going to assume that he wants to stay married after the trip.

    If so, Jones/Dutch is out. Too much hike a bike.


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    ive never ridden a trail in or near durango that doesnt put most of our local front range trails to shame...you cant go wrong. dry fork is a must do.

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    Hermosa may be overrated, but it is awesome.

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    haflin before the fire

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rontele View Post
    Hermosa may be overrated, but it is awesome.
    Exactly. Calling something overrated needs context, as in how is it generally rated? It is often touted as one of the best trails in Colorado, sometimes even the country, when it is not even the best trail in the Durango area. But it is still a freaking awesome trail, and there are not many places where you can bike for 20+ miles down a drainage and see virtually no signs of civilization (roads, power lines, etc) the entire way.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameybrook View Post
    I'm going to assume that since IE's wife is coming along that she's going along for the rides. In this case, I'm also going to assume that he wants to stay married after the trip.

    If so, Jones/Dutch is out. Too much hike a bike.
    Haha - I was going to post the exact same thing. And +1 to Carvers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagwhan View Post
    Exactly. Calling something overrated needs context, as in how is it generally rated? It is often touted as one of the best trails in Colorado, sometimes even the country, when it is not even the best trail in the Durango area. But it is still a freaking awesome trail, and there are not many places where you can bike for 20+ miles down a drainage and see virtually no signs of civilization (roads, power lines, etc) the entire way.

    I think a lot of the Hermosa backlash has to do with it being written up numerous times over the years (with no shortage of hyperbole) by numerous MTB and outdoor "lifestyles" rags as the or one of the best trails in Colorado or North America or The World (you know, the ones with the pictures of everyone screaming while holding their bikes over their heads).

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by topmounter View Post
    Junction Creek / Colorado Trail (Kennebec Pass back to town on the CT if it is rideable)
    Any of the "in-town" trails, e.g. Animas, Telegraph, etc. (lots of Trails 2000 built stuff should all be in great condition)
    Hermosa Creek (if the creek crossings are doable yet)
    Lots of great stuff up high, but check with the local shops and see what is rideable.
    Everyone has to do it at least once before they can officially consider it overrated
    The Dirt Divas were just there over the July 4th weekend. Kennebec Pass to town is totally rideable and beautiful! Hermosa is also very rideable -- creek crossings are not bad at all for either trail. Actually, getting your feet wet just keeps ya cooler! As for Telegraph,etc -- was a bit too hot for us when we did it so advise motivating & getting up on the trails lots earlier than 10 am for those rides! You guys will LOVE the riding up there IE!
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    Quote Originally Posted by topmounter View Post
    I think a lot of the Hermosa backlash has to do with it being written up numerous times over the years (with no shortage of hyperbole) by numerous MTB and outdoor "lifestyles" rags as the or one of the best trails in Colorado or North America or The World (you know, the ones with the pictures of everyone screaming while holding their bikes over their heads).
    Yup, it ticks all the ride velo-tourist boxes: Scenic, "mostly downhill," and buff Colorado singletrack. It is fun, but it involves most of the day with a lengthy shuttle, and skilled fit riders can go TH to TH in under two hours. Plus there's a real tough climb out that gets real nasty when it rains. Hit it for sure if you have a week, but pass if you only have three days.


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    Thanks everyone! Great suggestions, we'll avoid Hermosa, but we do welcome shuttles. I understand the epic vs. staying married, but we're in 13 years now, so she's stuck. Would it be worth taking a day and DHing at Telluride? We both DH as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by topmounter View Post
    (you know, the ones with the pictures of everyone screaming while holding their bikes over their heads).
    i think i just threw up in my mouth a little

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    I've been thinking of hitting Durango--trying to get out there soon.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarateChicken View Post
    haflin before the fire
    Over 20 trees down on Haflin, many more if you come from Missionary Ridge trail.
    If the Mrs. may not like Jones/Dutch, she will not like Haflin.
    Craig, Durango CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndecentExposure View Post
    Thanks everyone! Great suggestions, we'll avoid Hermosa, but we do welcome shuttles. I understand the epic vs. staying married, but we're in 13 years now, so she's stuck. Would it be worth taking a day and DHing at Telluride? We both DH as well.
    Can't comment on DH riding in Telluride, but there is at least one DH specific trail off of the Log Chutes trail. Cliff at Pedal The Peeks can give you details.

    I'm not a Carver's or Steamwork's fan, Durango Brewing Company and Ska have better beer and a more local atmosphere. Try the Double Blonde at Ska.

    PM me if interested and maybe we can hook up for a ride or beer or both. We have a great group of riding friends which includes all the wives, and as you know, the ladies like it better when other ladies are involved. You just have to promise to tell all your front range buddies that Durango sucks and they should not consider moving here
    Craig, Durango CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndecentExposure View Post
    Great suggestions, we'll avoid Hermosa, but we do welcome shuttles.
    I wouldn't avoid Hermosa, don't let the haters get to you. Especially if you and your wife have differing abilities and she's not super aggro. People hate on it because it gets so much publicity, but it is a great ride, especially for a group of different abilities. It actually hits a sweet spot for all but the best riders, long enough to feel like something epic, but short enough that you won't be walking out in the dark. If your wife rides but does so more recreationally than you (not that I even know how you ride) Hermosa might be perfect. Yes, it is overrated, but there IS a reason that it is so highly rated. It is a pretty special ride, and the shuttle isn't that bad, maybe an hour (and Hermosa Tours will shuttle you for a price!).

    What are your favorite front range-ish trails? What are your wife's? If the answer to both is Mountain Lion at GGC or the front side of Hall Ranch, well, maybe Hermosa Creek isn't the best choice. But if the answer is Buff Creek or the CT near Breck, maybe it is.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrossman View Post
    Over 20 trees down on Haflin, many more if you come from Missionary Ridge trail.
    If the Mrs. may not like Jones/Dutch, she will not like Haflin.
    Craig, I said "before the fire". It was a great trail and will hopefully be so again some day. I hope to get down to Derangedo to ride with you later this Summer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KarateChicken View Post
    Craig, I said "before the fire". It was a great trail and will hopefully be so again some day. I hope to get down to Derangedo to ride with you later this Summer.
    Even after the fire it is a great area to ride, and in fact last fall it was tree free. But heavy winds this spring have changed that
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    Okay, here's an update.
    Day 1. Did many of the horse gulch trails, hot, but fun!
    Day 2. Did the CT to hoffheins to dry fork, then on up the ct until it tops out. We ran the ct all the way back to town. Great loop (more of a clock-wise) as suggested by some locals since we like descending more than tech climbing. Only one tree down. Flowers are off the hook.

    She is sore today, and we're looking for something easier and perhaps more out of the saddle. Should we give the hermosa shuttle a shot tomorrow?

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    Kennebec
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrossman View Post
    Even after the fire it is a great area to ride, and in fact last fall it was tree free. But heavy winds this spring have changed that
    I need to get back down there to ride onea these days. The Fall is looking like a possibility right now. Haflin is one of my favorite close to town trails there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WKD-RDR View Post
    Kennebec
    People forget you've got a real tough climb out of the drainage to get to High Point. Add heat / biting flies.

    Yeah, Hermosa shuttle


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    Kennebec is amazing, and has some 7000' of descending and only 2000' or so of climbing, but a) it ends up being a lot tougher than it sounds, and b) he's already done a decent portion of it (from the high point back to town). Hermosa is a great trail, isn't that hard. But it is sneaky hard, don't assume that it is all downhill. There is one big climb at the end as you climb out of the drainage, and there are also tons of tiny climbs as the trail dips into a gully, crosses a stream, then climbs out.

    It will be easier, and I think it is a great choice, just don't underestimate it.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameybrook View Post
    People forget you've got a real tough climb out of the drainage to get to High Point. Add heat / biting flies.

    Yeah, Hermosa shuttle
    Its not that bad, and the payoff.... will make you forgetaboutit
    You still climb out of Hermosa a bit, dont you?
    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagwhan View Post
    ...Hermosa... long enough to feel like something epic, but short enough that you won't be walking out in the dark...
    ^^^
    This makes me giggle.


    IE: go get sum Telluride DH, there's some real nice stuff there for both you and the wife for sure.

    As for Hermosa, it's good like Monarch Crest is good: it's long, scenic, remote (ish), attainable by various levels of riders, etc. But IMHO the ride itself isn't quite as epic as everything else about doing the ride. There's no ridiculous climb, no stellar downhill, no real sections that I ever felt like were SUPER AMAZING as a trail. Kinda like the Crest.

    Compare that to Doctor's Park in CB or Kennebec down in DGO, which are both chock full of all the things Crest or Hermosa has, PLUS they're just wicked awesome rides, and you get the idea.
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    Full Trucker, that's basically what I was getting at, and I actually feel the same about the Crest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KarateChicken View Post
    haflin before the fire
    Spot on. Still my favorite all time trail as listed in my profile. Has anyone ever ridden it post fire and how does it compare? (Edit--> I see cbrossman's comments on Haflin now...good to hear it's as good as before the Missionary Ridge fire. I'll get back to it one day!)

    Agree with slimat99 as well, , Jones Creek-Dutch Creek-Hermosa is a great loop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagwhan View Post
    Full Trucker, that's basically what I was getting at, and I actually feel the same about the Crest.
    Totally. The part about your post that made me giggle was about "not walking out in the dark" on Hermosa Creek. There was an... uh... incident last summer. Not me, someone else.
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    Well, we ended up riding from town to the Durango mountain park. The Ned Overend trails. Really fun sections in a dense little area. Super fun, completely different, and some fun Bermy dh that is worth doing again.

    We'll leave hermosa for the next visit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Full Trucker View Post
    As for Hermosa, it's good like Monarch Crest is good: it's long, scenic, remote (ish), attainable by various levels of riders, etc. But IMHO the ride itself isn't quite as epic as everything else about doing the ride. There's no ridiculous climb, no stellar downhill, no real sections that I ever felt like were SUPER AMAZING as a trail. Kinda like the Crest.
    Man you guys are making me want to cross the crest off my list before I even ride it!
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by slcdawg View Post
    Man you guys are making me want to cross the crest off my list before I even ride it!
    Srsly - the Crest is a great ride *simply* for the setting. Make the right choice coming down off the Crest and you will satisfy the "great trail" needed on a ride. At least that has been my experience.

  36. #36
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    children of the crest

    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Srsly - the Crest is a great ride *simply* for the setting. Make the right choice coming down off the Crest and you will satisfy the "great trail" needed on a ride. At least that has been my experience.
    I think this is a very accurate assessment. The M. Crest is my backyard famous ride. It's kind of a novelty just because it's such a dramatic setting. You cruise along on the backbone of the continent, views off in every direction are awesome. But the singletrack itself, with a few exceptions, is not mind-blowing. I always get a big kick out of the last bit of singletrack between the top of Agate and the doubletrack down to Marshall. But much of the rest of it is really pretty ordinary.

    What I've always enjoyed are the trails I call the children of the crest. Silver Creek Trail, the Rainbow Trail. Agate. Etc.

    My favorite "ordinary" ride around here is a climb to Marshall Pass and take a route down. I always ride the Crest Trail at least once or twice per season. The GF likes to see it at least once. It's cool, and it would be totally lame to not ride it once in a while since I'm right here, but my bread and butter rides are the ones that have singletrack with more turns and dips and what-all.

    This past Sunday I rode it from town (climb to Old Monarch and then across). Unfortunately, I had tweaked my right knee on a long hike Saturday with the GF. The long day in the saddle Sunday got the danged thing feeling like there was a little fire in there. Now it's jacked up.

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    Well, chances are I will ride it eventually. Good to hear the 'children' trails are fun and swoopy!

    Take care of that knee, TomP!
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndecentExposure View Post
    Well, we ended up riding from town to the Durango mountain park. The Ned Overend trails. Really fun sections in a dense little area. Super fun, completely different, and some fun Bermy dh that is worth doing again.

    We'll leave hermosa for the next visit.

    I.e.
    Did you go up hog back? That was my favorite trail in that area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Unfortunately, I had tweaked my right knee on a long hike Saturday with the GF. The long day in the saddle Sunday got the danged thing feeling like there was a little fire in there. Now it's jacked up.
    yer gettin auld, Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Srsly - the Crest is a great ride *simply* for the setting. Make the right choice coming down off the Crest and you will satisfy the "great trail" needed on a ride. At least that has been my experience.
    I agree with this. It is a great trail, though not the "best trail in the country" and not even in the state, IMO. I have only done it a couple of times, and was a little underwhelmed by the "classic" route, is it silver creek to Rainbow? But the Starvation route down was pretty awesome. Have yet to try Foose's and Agate and others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrossman View Post
    I'm not a Carver's or Steamwork's fan, Durango Brewing Company and Ska have better beer and a more local atmosphere. Try the Double Blonde at Ska.
    I wouldnt take beer advice from this guy. Carver is brewing the best beer in town right now, and Steamworks has surpassed DBC, which seems to have an ongoing hop boycott. I agree that Double Blonde is pretty good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JChasse View Post
    I wouldnt take beer advice from this guy. Carver is brewing the best beer in town right now, and Steamworks has surpassed DBC, which seems to have an ongoing hop boycott. I agree that Double Blonde is pretty good.
    I've known Brossman for years and trust his beer opinions. Who are you?

  43. #43
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    I'm going to be in Durango this weekend, and will only have one day to ride. Have been leaning towards Kennebec Pass. Sounds like a great ride with great views, what's not to like.

    Couple of questions: How long time wise is the drive from Durango to the trailhead? I've seen the mileage, but it looks like some slow going on some of those 4x4 roads. Should I get dropped at the CT, or just ride up to it? Only having one day, would any of you suggest something else?

    Probably going solo for the day, unless I find a tag-a-long. So if anyone is planning to be out that way this Saturday, feel free to PM me.

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    The drive all the way to the top -- assuming you have a high clearance 4wd -- is maybe 1 1/2 hours from town? One intermediate option is to get dropped off where it becomes a 4wd road, that is maybe 2+ miles from the top, but maybe 20-30 minutes shorter drive?

  45. #45
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    I should have checked this thread early last week. Just got back from Durango tonight after a week down there. I stayed right off of Junction Creek so I found myself heading up CT every day doing out and backs. Mostly I was doing loops of various directions linking in Dry Fork and Hoffhein's. I didn't go all the way to Kennebec but went a good 12-13 miles up I believe. Lots of climbing but not too many brutal sections. It was a blast coming straight back down CT. I barely saw anyone up CT past Gudy's Rest and the hikers all seemed to stop at the bridge so I let it rip. Also did Hermosa on Friday. Glad I did it and I echo every sentiment above. Epic, but its not. Super fun, flowy single track in long sections and nothing very technical. No matter what level of rider you are you need to do it at least once. I would probably do it again and add in some of the connecting trails in the area for a longer day but if I lived in Durango year round I would probably only do it once a year as a shuttle.
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