Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner

Durango route advice

1223 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  shoulderfu
The annual Colorado trip begins July 5th where I'll have the wife drop me off at Molas Pass/Little Molas Lake. We'll be camping around Sig Creek/Hermosa Park Rd. Looking for a good route suggestion ... 3-5 hours of saddle time for a mortal rider with decent tech skills. Big mountain views are my favorite (hard to get away from up there, I know ;) )

If there's a different/better drop spot, I'm open but I've wanted to explore those high mountain passes for several years. It is time.

For reference, I have the Lat 40 map.


1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Colo tr to engineer mt trail will fit the bill.She can pick you up at the parking lot there...or you can add in another hr by riding back to sig creek cg .Another great ride from your camp is bolam pass rd to colo tr (over blackhawk) down to hotel draw and back to camp.For a more scenic,albiet longer ride take cascade divide rd(fs 579) till it ends,and hop on the colo tr,continuing on towards blackhawk,etc...
Bolam pass rd is lacking in scenery and is a grunt at the top.Cascade divide rd has amazing views,and is rolling for miles.Of course,it too is a grunt at the top,but the views make up for the sufferage.You will need to dodge the throngs of Texans riding their wheelchairs(quads) all along any of the dirt rds up there!

If one day you are looking for a shorter ride/shuttle...check out Corral Draw. Start riding alnog the CO Tr as there are awesome alpine views of the Rico Mtns and Blackhawk Pass from the Colorado Trail. Also great views of the La Plata's from the jct with Corral Draw. BUT be sure to check flow levels on Hermosa Creek, you will have to ford the creek at the end of Corral Draw.

is a must do. There are two ways to loop it from town. The most popular is the 160>LaPlata Canyon>Kennebec Pass>CT>town. 55-60 miles with about 8k vert. I just tried it the other way by riding up Junction Creek road to Champion Road which intersects the CT just below Kennebec. From there you can climb the singletrack to Kennebec in 30min-hour, take in the view and then bomb the CT back to Durango. I don't have #'s for this route but it felt like less miles with more vert. Junction Creek Road gains and loses elevation where 160>LaPlata mostly just gains.

However, if you have a willing driver, either can be easily shuttled. LaPlata Canyon road gets quite technical near the top but you can drive a regular 2-wheel drive car up Junction Creek all the way to the CT/Champion Rd intersection, its a smooth dirt highway. When we did it last Wednesday they were just grading and mag-chloriding the road so it should be almost pavement-like by now. Even if you shuttle all the way to the Champion Rd CT intersection, if you out-in-back Kennebec then do the CT to town you will still have a 23 mile or so ride with about 3,000 vertical all on singletrack. It's not as sally-alley a shuttle route as some might think.

I can't emphasize enough just how good this descent is (Kennebec>town on the CT). You simply must experience it for yourself. It's one of those rides that you will compare all others to for the rest of your life. They have had a crazy wet spring and the lupine are unreal right now. Have fun.
See less See more
Map suggestion

Get the new Durango Lat40. It's way more detailed than the older Southwest Colorado Lat 40.
Indeed,kenne pass is amazing....the whole mt bike community in dgo does that ride on july 4th!
Top of Hotel Draw all the way to Durango. It's about 40 miles, with almost half of it above treeline. Start at dawn if you can. I ran out out of water when I did it. If you bring a filter, there are some small lakes to get water from at Kennebec.
Great suggestions

Thinking that Engineers Pass might be the ticket for this trip. Any guess, time wise or mileage?

As for these longer route suggestions, I plan to return for the Fall Aspen Blast with an XC carido freak, pal of mine. I'd like to take Molas Pass to Durango with a night at Hotel Draw. I believe that would include Kenne Pass? Two days of full riding with steak and beers mid-point ... are you kidding me? That's just too good :D

Both trips = Freakish Good. Can't wait. Only thing missing this summer is the Crested Butte segment. Oh well, can always make that next year. This year, the San Juans are the focus.

Oh yeah, will be driving the 4wd Toyota 4 Runner. So no limitations in the driving dept.

Love the suggestions. Gracious.
It's about 21 miles,the last 6 are all downhill! Allow yourself at least 4 hrs for the ride if you ride strong,and dont stop.I would enjoy the many views,and rest frequently to take it all figure 5 hrs to be safe.The miles are deceivingly long due to altitude.
You can the big ride to town starting at molas in 2 days,camping at hotel draw...they will be very long days,but a trip you will never forget!
As far as cb is concerned,ya save it for next year.cb rocks for sure,but has nuthin' on the sanjuans imo.
Oh,start early as the storms can be fierce up there,and usually get percolating around noon (or sooner)
You will be blown away by the scenery on that ride. :)
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.