Mountain Biking in Durango, Colorado
Durango is located in the southwest corner of Colorado surrounded by majestic high mountains and beautiful
deserts. These types of climates are much sought after by mountain bikers and it just so happens that we have the
best of both worlds in this area. Durango is singletrack heaven.
There are hundreds of miles of mountain trails that offer the rider scenic beauty with
easy to moderate terrain as well as scenic beauty with extremely challenging terrain. Not
the least of which is the flagship of the state, the Colorado Trail. Many mountain bikers feel
that the southern section is one of the best and most difficult portions of the over 500 mile
trek between Denver and Durango. The Colorado Trail trailhead is located next to Junction
Creek and is fairly easy for the first few miles until you get the first bridge crossing and
then becomes a bit steeper. Good steep climbs with switchbacks and descent elevation
gains await the rider from the bridge up to Gudy's Rest and you can either bomb back
down the way you came or venture further up to the Dry Fork trail. This makes a big loop
(The Lollipop Loop) back down to the Hoffheins Connection, and onto the Colorado trail
again. Another popular ride is a "shuttle" where you park at the top of Kennebec Pass and
ride down the Colorado Trail into Durango which is an absolutely amazing ride for
intermediate to advanced riders. Give yourself about four to six hours to complete this 24
mile trip and bring a good back country kit that includes essentials like, tube, patch kit,
water, food, tools and first aid.
Another very popular ride is the Hermosa Creek Trail that begins behind the Durango Mountain Ski Resort (about 5
miles west on forest service road 578). One of the best ways to tackle this one is by shuttle where you have somebody
drop you off at the top and you ride down the 22 mile main trail to the lower trailhead. One of the best times to hit the
Hermosa Creek trail is in the fall (September - October) when the aspen trees are turning. Guaranteed to be an
unforgettable ride. This trail is better suited for intermediate to advanced riders and a back country kit is advisable.
If you want to test your lungs (and the legs) the Engineer Mountain trail to pass creek is an absolute blastie. You can
start out by parking at the summit of Coal Bank Pass and following the signs up towards Engineer Mountain and take
the Pass Creek Trail to the South where it will drop you out at Cascade Canyon and back onto hwy 550. You can either
ride back up the road to the summit or if you do at as a shuttle, drive to the top.
If you like desert style rides there are three spots that come to mind and are just a short distance from Durango. Phil's
World about 42 miles west on hwy 160 near Cortez has some fantastic desert style single track. Another 12 miles past
Cortez on Colorado Highway G takes you to Sand Canyon (AKA Canyons of the Ancients) which not only has some
awesome desert style mountain biking but also has lots of Anasazi Ruins right along the trail. The Alien Run mountain
bike trail is about 31 miles south of Durango on hwy 550 (just north of Aztec New Mexico) and is a great spot to hit
during the early spring or late fall. Sometimes the Alien is free of snow in the winter and can be ridden all year round!
The other cool thing about the mountain bike scene in Durango
is that there are epic rides right in town! You can literally ride
from your home or motel and be ripping it up on some beautiful
singletrack in no time. Horse Gulch / Telegraph Trail, Twin
Buttes, Overend Mountain Park, Animas City Mountain, Dalla
Mountain Park and Falls Creek are some of the major local
rides that are all very fun and close by. You can also visit our
trail maps pages for further details on these trails as well as
others in the Durango area.
Mountain biking in Durango has been very popular for a long
time and the community has grown with the sport as it has
developed. Durango hosted the very first Mountain Bike World
Championship in 1990 in which locals Ned Overend, Greg
Herbold and John Tomac dominated the top slots! Today all
summer long there are race events and fun rides that take
place on most of the major trail systems and if you would like to
compete just check out our Calendar of Events Page and find
one to sign up for!
Durango has incredible places to ride for just about any ability level and if you are looking to buy or rent a mountain
bike there are plenty of expert shops to choose from. "We invite you come and share some of the best trails around
but be warned… once you get into it, you may never want to leave!" It's time to roll some DuranGO Outdoors
Get to know us with some mountain biker lingo. In no particular order.
Endo - To be pitched off your mountain bike over the handlebars and front wheel.
Baby Heads - Rounded rocks that stick up on the trail creating a nice technical challenge.
Boulder Garden - Big rocks and boulders in the trail that you must ride around. (See Dalla Mountain Park Trail)
Chain Suck - Where your chain comes off the chain ring and gets sucked into the frame area usually in a nice bunch.
Clydesdale - A very large or obese rider.
Clean - To finish an entire trail or difficult section without stopping or putting your foot down. (See Dab)
Dab - This is where a rider has to put their foot on the ground when balance or momentum is lost.
Roadie - What mountain bikers call people that like to ride on paved surfaces.
Pogo - The action of a full suspension bike while peddling hard where the suspension bounces up and down.
Taco -This is what your wheel can look like if you smash it hard enough.
Fred - (Derogatory) A person that spends a ton of money on bike gear but cannot ride well.
FS - Full Suspension.
HT - Hard Tail.
Niner - To have a bike with 29 inch wheels also known as a 29ner.
Cleanie - A person that likes to keep their bike clean and actively avoids mud or water crossings.
Squealing Pigs - This is where your disc brakes are glazed or worn and make tons of noise when applied.
Hammer - To ride hard and fast.
Hammer Head - A person that likes to ride hard and fast all the time.
Wang Chung - To hit ones crotch area on the top tube or headset, usually during a crash.
Winky - What mountain bikers call reflectors on a bike. (Nice winky "Fred".)
Butter - Also known as buttery. This is when the trail is soft and smooth.
Chainring Tattoo - The grease mark that looks like part of a chainring either on the shin or calf.
Shark Bite - A step up from the chainring tattoo where the teeth of the chainring have chomped through the skin
making wounds that look like a shark attacked.
Corn Dog - What a rider looks like after crashing in soft sand or dirt, especially if sunscreen is being worn.
Crack Spackle - The line of mud that the back tire throws up ones back and butt crack.
Train Track - A narrow and sometimes deep groove that has been worn into the trail that sucks your bike in and holds
you in that section unless you stop. Usually found on steep sections and can be caused by too many riders locking up
Goo - An energy paste or gel that comes in a convenient plastic pack that you can squirt into your mouth for a
refreshing yet disgusting energy boost. Sometimes called "Gooze" which is also the Persian word for "fart"… so if
someone offers you some gooze before you bonk, politely pass on the offer.
Bonk - To exhaust your energy levels while riding up a steep grinder or trying to keep up with your hammerhead
buddies causing you to stop on the trail.
Grinder - A long steep climb that you have to keep grinding your willpower in order to keep moving.
M.I. (Pronounced like "my") - Myocardial Infarction. Also known as a heart attack. What you feel like in the spring when
peddling up your first grinder of the season. Oh MI!
Durango’s Popular Mountain Biking Trails
Engineer Mountain Trail
Overend Mountain Park
Mountain Biking Lingo
Durango Mountain Biking Trail Maps
© DuranGO Outdoors