I can’t remember how I first heard about Phil’s World. Chitter chatter in the mtb world, I guess. Word gets around. After hearing, “Dude, you gotta hit up Rib Cage if you’re ever near Durango”, it got stuck in my psyche. So, what is all the hype about? Think Moab meets Fruita meets an amusement park. Disneyland for dirt slayers. A 29-mile mountain biking only trail network that you’re only allowed to ride in one direction (clockwise). The “Space Mountain” if you will, is the “Rib Cage” trail. If Rib Cage was at Disneyland, there would be a huge line every day, and you’d be waiting hours with your fast pass for a few minutes of absolute bliss. It lived up to the hype. Narrow, tacky singletrack that darts up and down and around with amazing flow and speed that leaves you clamoring for more like a great dane licking crumbs under the dinner table. Then, it’s over. Way too quickly. You can turn around and climb Abajo again – and lap it as much as your heart desires. Luckily, you don’t have to pay $20 to park, dodge strollers, hop on a tram, and drop $100 to get into Phil’s. All they ask for is a $3 donation that goes to trail maintenance. Please drop the money in the box if you do ride there. It’s on the honor system, so don’t be a douche. I met a local in the parking lot and asked where the pay box was, and he told me that nobody every pays. That’s crap. It’s $3 measly bucks – karma comes in flat tires – be warned!!
Anyhoo, enough about Rib Cage. Yeah, it’s the crowned gem of the joint, but there’s much more. With 29 miles of trail, you can make a meal out of it, or just ride a few sections (or just lap Rib Cage) depending on your skill or fitness level. There are maps lining the trail system at all intersections, so you really can’t get lost. If you keep turning left at all the intersections, you’ll wind up riding everything. Since I don’t like to think much (especially about navigating a trail system I’m not familiar with) that’s what I did. I wound up taking a stellar 20+ mile ride, and bailed out a little early at the end because it was getting hot and I needed to get back to Durango to go river rafting with Lucy.
A few trail notes – Kokopelli and Coco Race are the first trails you hit – a great warmup fast flowy section that give you a taste of what’s to come. The head trail builders are singlespeeders, so lot’s of flow and momentum. The scenery/views aren’t amazing, but the trail/riding is. So just enjoy the trails and don’t expect much in terms of views.
Lemonhead takes you through the Maze on the way to Elbow. A few techy spots in Elbow will keep ya on your toes. Then climb Abajo out to Ledge’s Loop. You’ll have some rock gardens and slickrock sections, black dirt from old fires, and some fast flowy bits. There’s pretty much every type of riding encompassed in the park, and you never have to worry about oncoming traffic. Brilliant. Stinky Springs Loop is fun as well, with a segment called “Maxxit” that is just as fun as Rib Cage. You can pin it here, and man is it stellar!!
I gotta wrap this up, because I wanna ride before Izzy comes over to help put some windows in… but in a nutshell… do it. Ride Phil’s World.
It’s easy to access off the freeway. It’s about 45 minutes from Durango, and only 5 minutes from Cortez. P.S. – if you go through Cortez, stop at Kokopelli Bike and Board – super nice shop and very friendly peeps – support your local bike shops!! The link below to Durango Outdoors has directions to the trailhead.
- Strava Link to my ride
- Bicycle Magazine Article – good insight to the trail system
- A good blog on Singletracks.com about Phil’s World
- Trails 2000 – Phil’s World Page
- Durango Outdoors – Phil’s World Map and Directions to Trailhead
- MTB Project – Phil’s World Page
- Singletracks.com – Phil’s World Page