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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:34 am 
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Happy Friday!
I'm looking for suggestions for mountain biking in western Colorado for a week long trip starting in Cortez and ending in Fruita. I have allotted riding days in Cortez (Phils' World), 2 days in Fruita. I'm trying to fill in the rest with possibilities of Durango, Gunnison, Crested Butte and a day off to hike in Ouray. I read some great things about Crested Butte but there's a lot of backtracking and considerable driving if we add Gunnsion and Crested Butte. I want to make sure it's worth it. Any insight would be great.

I think we will arrive Cortez on a Sunday midday and then I have to leave Fruita early on the following Sunday to beeline back to San Diego via Las Vegas. Not looking forward to that drive!

Thanks for any suggestions, must do's, trail recommendations, pit stops along the way, etc.


Cheers! :cheers:


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:26 am 
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When are you going? Fruita is pretty much out of season due to heat until October. Cortez will be getting toasty now too. You could pull off Phil's as a late afternoon / evening ride which is really all the time you need.

Given the low snow year you can already hit the high country, which is really where the best riding is.

If it is too hot in Cortez you can go up the highway a little and ride Boggy Draw above Dolores. It is around 7,000ft elevation and will be cooler. That takes you a bit out of the way of Durango, but not a big deal if you spend a few days there.

Telluride has a few good days worth of riding. Between Dolores and Telluride there is great riding off of Hwy 145. Calico on the west side and the Colorado Trail on the east side, both with trails that drop down to the highway. On the Durango side there are even more options. Many of them are best done as point to point rides with a shuttle, but you can do some loops as well. Will you have a second vehicle?

If you are heading up to Fruita anyways Gunnison and CB aren't terribly far out of the way. Monarch Crest is only another hour further east, though you have to go all the way into Poncha Springs to catch the shuttle.

If you want a great hike check out Ice Lake or Columbine Lake near Silverton. You can ride them too but it is more of a Type 2 fun ride. I don't know much about Ouray. Just below Ouray is Ridgway - it has a cool trail system called RAT (Ridgway Area Trails).

There is also the CT/CDT east of Silverton. You have to drive a ways up a forest road to get to it, but the ride will be all above tree line. Tough riding with some hike a bike, but very scenic.

If you are thinking of going soon you'll have to research trail conditions a bit. Things are opening up very early this year due to low snow, but that is also bringing high fire danger. I've heard some parts are already under Stage 2 restrictions. I think Stage 3 is full closure of the forest to all public access. They are already dealing with that in Northern Arizona.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:32 am 
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We are leaving in 2 weeks. Thanks. This is great. Too hot already? Dang. May need to rethink.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:14 am 
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As always, evdog gave you great info above. ^^^^ (evdog- you should write a travel guide/no BS)
I just did a big loop last month myself. San Diego to St. George, to Hurricane, to Moab, to Gateway (I had a company rewards trip planned there is why) down to Sedona, to Prescott, and home.
Check your weather and fire restrictions. Flagstaff looks like it out for stage 2. Hot riding doesn't stop me most of the time but I'm not the smartest tool in the head either :lol: You can always start early and play the rest of the day. Who knows, you fine it perfect too. What I did fine is that the weather changed almost hourly so it's hit & miss there.

Sounds like a fun trip and I wish you a great time :cheers:

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:59 pm 
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You can probably still ride the lower elevation stuff like Fruita and Cortez, just plan it so you can ride early or late. The good thing is the trails shouldn't be too crowded.

For Colorado, Latitude40 has the best maps https://www.latitude40maps.com/. For the locations you mention I'd get the Durango, Silverton/Ouray and Crested Butte maps. You can easily fill a week right around Durango if you want to minimize driving.

On weeklong trips I always have a list of options for various ride lengths, elevations and locations so that I always have something to ride if conditions change.

If you do head back I-15 from Fruita you could drive partway home Saturday but detour down and ride Thunder Mtn. It's a ~3 hour loop that will leave plenty of time to finish the drive home. You can drive through Zion which is always worth it, but probably adds a couple hours with traffic and stops.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:52 pm 
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I love riding Thunder Mountain!! Super fun trail! We did it two years ago after a trip to Zion/Bryce.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:17 pm 
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I ride Phil’s World every year on my Durango trips. I’ve ridden in the Summer and just go early. I’m done by 11. I also ride Junction Creek/Dry Fork, Boggy Draw (fun, mellower stuff in the trees) and an area they call Star Wars almost every trip. Evdog’s not a fan but I also like Hermosa Creek. We shuttle it with Hermosa Tours. Obviously, Durango has the river to raft/kayak, the trail and Silverton to check out.

Crested Butte is stunning but it would be a stretch to also go ride that and Fruita as well. Hartman Rocks in Gunnison was cool but not as much fun as Sedona or Hurricane in my opinion.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 12:30 am 
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Depending how fast they get it under control this might limit Durango ride options ....http://kdvr.com/2018/06/02/416-fire-gro ... -colorado/

Looks like most current info is on twitter. Hwy 550 currently closed north of town.

https://twitter.com/SanJuanNF

And yeah, if you can't shuttle Hermosa - no great loss :wink:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:27 am 
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For a diversion, you might like Mesa Verde National Park near Phil’s World.
https://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 7:50 am 
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evdog wrote:
Depending how fast they get it under control this might limit Durango ride options ....http://kdvr.com/2018/06/02/416-fire-gro ... -colorado/

Looks like most current info is on twitter. Hwy 550 currently closed north of town.

https://twitter.com/SanJuanNF

And yeah, if you can't shuttle Hermosa - no great loss :wink:


Yeah, that fire makes Crested Butte look more enticing

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:14 am 
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Thanks for this info guys. We are watching the fire. I have a family member and another friend in the area giving us info.

What's the story with the Hermosa shuttle? I've heard very mixed opinions.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:24 am 
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tranceX wrote:
Thanks for this info guys. We are watching the fire. I have a family member and another friend in the area giving us info.

What's the story with the Hermosa shuttle? I've heard very mixed opinions.


I've used Hermosa Tours on all my shuttles to ride Hermosa Creek. They've always been on time and I've never had any issues. http://hermosatours.net/Durango-bike-shuttle.html

If you end up in Crested Butte, these guys were our guides hired by Chasing Epic when I did our trip last year. I assume they do day trips as well but in any case, they were very good at what they do and know the area like the back of their hand. https://www.coloradobc.com

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