Durango Colorado USA: FALL COLORS TOUR
The Hermosa Tours van will pick the group up at Hassle Free Sports at 7:00AM sharp. Today’s ride starts in the Hermosa Creek drainage area behind Durango Mountain resort. From the top of Hotel Draw we’ll begin a pleasant traverse on the Colorado Trail. Stunning views of Blackhawk Pass to the north are seen early in the ride as are long views of the Needles Mountains and Weminuche Wilderness to the east. The trail tilts upward, climbing to the junction of Corral Draw, a lightly-trafficked trail featuring a 5 mile descent on a ribbon of singletrack into the Hermosa Creek drainage. After a quick ford of Hermosa Creek our guides will lead you south down the Hermosa Creek Trail. We’ll finish off the day with this true Durango classic. Like every day, we’ll be at the end of the trail waiting with refreshments and snacks. Once we’re all ready to roll, we’ll shuttle up to Cascade Village where you will find your luggage waiting for you in your condo, which will be your base trip for the week. Ride length is about 23 miles.
Today’s ride is physically challenging, but simply amazing and well worth your effort. We’ll start by climbing up Jones Creek Trail through thousands of turning aspens. Soon we will top out near the Hermosa Cliffs and stop for a breather and take in the epic views of the Weminuche Wilderness. As we turn onto the Pinkerton Flagstaff Trail, the yellow canopy will remain, but the climbing gets a bit more challenging. It’s quite common to do a little pushing in this section. Views both east and west will keep your mind off the climb! Soon we’ll swing onto the Dutch Creek Trail. The first few miles of the Dutch Creek Trail are a mix of double track and forest service road, but it quickly turns to singletrack. The vistas from this first leg of singletrack are legendary. The Weminuche comes back into view on our left and the La Plata Mountains reveal themselves to our right. It’s a great place to stop for photos and to “soak it all in.” Hold on to your knickers – the “soak” is over and we’re headed downhill on one of the best descents in all Durango. The trail now hugs Dutch Creek itself, which we will cross many times as we weave through aspen groves, through open meadows and over technical root and rock. A final little climb spills us out onto the tail end of Hermosa Creek Trail and a smooth cruise back to the shuttle van. Ride length is about 20 miles.
Today we hit a local’s favorite: the Dry Fork Loop. This ride is perfect for a mid-week recovery. The singletrack climb starts in the high desert scrub oak and ascends to a thick forest of aspen, spruce and Ponderosa pine. The climb is generally very gradual and mild. Eventually we connect to the Colorado Trail and finish on a fast flowy descent back the waiting van. Ride length is about 12 miles.
Kennebec Pass to Durango….a 5000 foot descent….a true Durango classic. Weather permitting, this ride starts at tree line and immediately sends you on a thrill ride down narrow singletrack hugging the mountain side. After regrouping at the Champion Venture Road crossing (our alternate start if snow is an issue), the downhill bonanza continues through thick, forested singletrack, past a gorgeous waterfall and finally onto the rocky singletrack cutting through the lush vegetation alongside Junction Creek. Wide-eyed and grinning, we’ll regroup again at the Wall’s Gulch Bridge and start a hefty climb away from Junction Creek….sorry, it can’t ALL be downhill!! The top of the climb makes for a great snack location. Refueled, we’ll take our time traversing up and down on narrow singletrack through a variety of aspen and pine forest. The beauty of the singletrack in this area is the stuff of which magazine photo spreads are made. Finally we’ll reach what the locals call “High Point”, named for its status as a turn around for riders climbing up from Durango. They climb, we descend. The downhill buzz continues for another 2500 feet of great Colorado Trail singletrack to the Junction Creek Trailhead, the southern terminus of the Colorado Trail. Ride length is about 20-25 miles.
The Townie Ride. Sure, Durango is famous for its many backcountry trails, but locals know that a spider web of excellent routes is right in and around town. We’ve found that this is a great way to leave a lasting impression on our guests – live a day in the life of a Durango mountain biker. We’ll start with a breakfast at the area cycling hive, Bread, where there’s a good chance of spotting one of Durango’s many local pros. This bakery serves up a delicious variety of croissants, bagels, cookies, breads, muffins and many more aromatic treats. Once we’ve had our fill and crammed our packs with extra goodies for the ride we’ll climb up the tight singletrack of two new connector trails recently constructed by the local advocacy group, Trails 2000 (we are a proud member and contributor). The top of this climb rewards us with a panoramic view of Durango, the Animas River Valley and the San Juan Mountains. The terrain here is high desert, which you will certainly notice as you snake through junipers and pinon pines. Soon we’ll turn south into the Telegraph Trail System, called Horse Gulch by the locals; a trail system IMBA designated an “IMBA Epic.” The Telegraph Trail System includes over 30 miles of singletrack for us to choose from, but rather than outline our route in advance we like to gauge the mood of the group and pick a few loops to please everyone. We’ll end our ride by way of the Animas River Trail, a paved pathway, or maybe we’ll swing back onto the Rim Trail and loop around Fort Lewis College and down Chapman Hill, the site of many legendary mountain bike races. Again, let’s just relax and see what we’re up for that day.
Read more about Durango Colorado
Read more about the San Juan Mountains
MOUNTAIN BIKING TRIPS
- available as custom trip for 5 or more – click here to email
- level: upper-intermediate, advanced
- ages: all (call for under 18)
- group size: varies
"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