durango mountain bike trails

Stretching almost 500miles from Waterton Canyon in southwest Denver to Durango in Colorado, this trail is extremely popular amongst nature-enthusiasts looking for adventure travel. Passing through the spectacular Colorado Rocky Mountains, the trail covers many peaks with heights of more than 13,000 feet, along with diverse sceneries that include charming meadows, gushing creeks, and resplendent lakes. Built and completed in 1987, the trail, which is mostly on elevated grounds, also dips below the alpine timberland to provide refuge from the exposed and stormy areas above. It is currently maintained by the non-profit organization Colorado Trail Foundation and the US Forest Service.

As the Colorado Trail meanders its way through 8 major mountains ranges, 7 national forests and 6 wilderness areas, it offers non-motorized pathways for biking and hiking. The trail gains and looses height dramatically, passing through an area that is astonishingly abundant in wildlife, forests and flowers, and relatively untouched by civilization. It moves through historic mining towns and modern ski resorts, along ancient Indian trails and places which are the same as they were hundreds of years ago, and eventually, as it rises above the timberline sometimes, it allows for breathtaking views that are worth the tough climb.

The weather along this trail is generally quite unpredictable, which is why most people who take bike tours or hike along the trail, often combine it with on-site triping. Summers are mostly warm, with pleasant evenings, but there is threat of snow and cold showers at any time during the year. Violent thunderstorms and lightning may interrupt the afternoon sky, which may then give way to bright sunshine and cloudless skies. Although the trail is never really closed to hikers and bikers, large parts of it are inaccessible due to heavy snow during winters. Consequently, the best time to visit the trail is between June and early October.

The Trail is divided into 28 segments with their independent access points, and with varying difficulty and elevation. Thus the trail accommodates all types of hiking preferences, and skill levels. Many people drive a second car to their destination point in order to lengthen their hike, which also prevents from having to retrace one’s steps. The CT is biker’s paradise, with a great level of variety in terms of what is offered. There is a no-slope gentle biking trail from Waterton Canyon along a calm and soothing creek that is popular with families, while the upper echelon mountain bikers find their thrill along tough segments like the 75 miles from Molas Pass to Durango. The most popular sections are those closest to Denver and Durango. However, bikers must use detours around the six wilderness areas, as they are not allowed to pass through these regions. Some travelers also use horses to make their travel a little more convenient and fun.

Essentially, the Colorado Trail is a dream come true for travelers looking for both a slice of pure, crisp mountain air as well as an adventurous time. Whether your preferred mode of travel is on foot, on bike, or on horse, this is one of those untouched beautiful places that one must visit, no matter what!


adventure cycling, bike adventure, bike trails, mountain bike

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"After 9 years of guided mountain bike trips in North America, your Durango trip had the best trails!!!!"

David Sawyer, 2008

"'trip Ned' in Durango was stupendous. Lodging, food, choice of trails and individual guidance on bike set-up, techniques and gear were all excellent. Nate inspired me through some killer climbs. Matt's no slouch on the trails, and also performed some dutch oven wizardry in the kitchen. Big Mike’s tour of Hermosa Creek drainage was epic. Thanks guys- I'm getting a gang together and picking a place to join up again in '09!"

Tom Kammerer, 2008

"I thoroughly enjoyed my Hermosa Creek Guided tour! My guide, Matt, was professional and personable: offering great cycling conversation, guidance, and food for thought. He took care of everything so all I had to do was just show up and ride! His experience and knowledge of the CO trails made me feel confident and the ride was truly a treasured experience. Most of all, I had the absolute best time and I loved every nanosecond of it! Thank you !"

Julie Urlaub, 2008

"The guys on my trip inspired confidence amongst our group every step of the way. Be it on the trail, shuttling to the trailhead, or arranging logistics in advance they kept things running smoothly and seemingly effortlessly. They accommodated us every step of the way and kept it fun and flexible. Of course, the best part was their ability to provide the epic mountain bike experience. We left Durango pleasantly worked over, dusty, and smiling ear-to-ear. Now if they’d only get on the right brand of bike…"

Travis Ott, Gary Fisher Bikes, 2008

"Super job you guys do, better than any other tour/group ride I have been on, either in the US or Europe. I especially appreciate the little things that make the stay more pleasant without the client having to ask for them. (the trail map and the gorp selection for instance, nice touches)."

Sam Joseph, 2008