Ride Report: Telegraph and Horse Gulch Trails – Durango, CO

You know you're in a bike friendly town when every parking meter is also a bike rack.

You know you’re in a bike friendly town when every parking meter is also a bike rack.

I first went to Durango for the Iron Horse Classic in 2013. It’s such a lovely city – great people, great food, great beer… the river, the outdoorsy lifestyle…  The fam really wanted to go back.  So we built it in to our road trip home from New Mexico after Longmire S3 wrapped. On this trip, I made it out to Cortez to ride Phil’s World, and had enough time to do one solid ride in Durango (the rest of my time was booked with other stuff, like river rafting and beer guzzling). I’ve always heard about the Horse Gulch and Telegraph Trails, and saw that it was an IMBA Epic ride area, so that’ sold me on it.

Trail Map on the main Horse Gulch Trail kiosk.

Trail Map on the main Horse Gulch Trail kiosk.

Horse Gulch is pretty much a fire road that gains you access the “real” trails in the  Northern Telegraph Trails network. The great thing about it is the trailhead is right in town, so you don’t have to drive at all.  Sweet!  After the initial climb, which is a great warmup, I did a nice loop through this area including the fun and flowy Meadows Loop, Stacy’s to Mike’s to Cuchillo back to Meadows. Maybe it’s because I rode Phil’s World the day before, but to me these trails didn’t live up to the hype. Don’t get me wrong, they were “really good” – and some sections were “great”… but nothing mind-blowing like I’d heard.  Kind of like when your peeps hype a movie up too much.  Nice views, good flow, overall very fun and I’d recommend it. But definitely not IMBA “Epic” worthy in my book.  I’ve ridden other IMBA epics like Monarch Crest and Mid-Mountain Trail… now those are truly EPIC.

People having fun on the Meadows Loop

People having fun on the Meadows Loop

Mike's is one of the steeper climbs in the Horse Gulch network, and has some great views

Mike’s is one of the steeper climbs in the Horse Gulch network, and has some great views

Nice view from the Telegraph Trail

Nice view from the Telegraph Trail

Anyhoo, after tooling around on the Horse Gulch side for a while, it was time to cross over to the south side. I jumped on the Telegraph Trail, which connects the north and south trail systems.  The history of this trail is quite interesting – if you’re into that kind of stuff, read this information-packed blog.  The “modern” trail that we ride now has lots of bike friendly switchbacks that aren’t too steep, and the views make the climbing enjoyable. Once on the other side, I hooked up with Sidewinder to Orbit which was fast and super fun, and continued descending Big Canyon down to the trailhead. From there, I jumped on the Animas River Trail for a nice relaxing spin back into town to complete the loop. Maybe next time, I’ll climb from the Sale Barn Trail Head and spend more time on the south side and then do the Anasazi descent to drop in to the north side… Hmmm… I also hear the Colorado Trail in the Durango area is stellar… yeah… always more to do… next time 🙂
PS – the steak sandwich at Carver’s is the jizzle!!

There is a sweet bmx track right off the Animas River Trail that I had to spin a few laps on.  Yeah, buddy!

There is a sweet bmx track right off the Animas River Trail that I had to spin a few laps on. Yeah, buddy!

Here are some good links if you’re considering riding the area:

 

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2 Responses to Ride Report: Telegraph and Horse Gulch Trails – Durango, CO

  1. Pingback: Ride Report: ColoRADo Trail – Dry Fork Loop: Durango, CO | Dirty Teeth – Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

  2. Pingback: Sticky Singletrack Along the Rio Grande Gorge: Horsethief Mesa – Taos, New Mexico | Dirty Teeth – Alan's Mountain Biking Adventures

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