Road Biking – Best Rides
Cycling in general is booming in the region. For more than 30 years, hundreds have come out to race the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad from Durango to Silverton in the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. Durango also played host to the 1990 Mountain Biking World Championships, and in 2001 was one of only 16 cities in the world selected to host a leg of the prestigious UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.
This 30-mile loop begins on North Main Avenue at City Market. Turn right on 32nd Street and ride until it ends at County Road 250, then turn left. County Road 250 will take you all the way to Baker’s Bridge, winding through the lush Animas Valley. Travel south over the bridge and straight to the intersection at Highway 550. Turn left on 550 and ride it past Honeyville to Hermosa where you get on County Road 203. The turn onto CR 203 is on the right, just past the railroad tracks and it will bring you back into Durango. This ride is also referred to as “The Long Valley” by area bikers.
This is a shortened version of Baker’s Bridge, also referred to as “The Short Valley”. The total distance is about 15 miles. Begin at County Road 250, riding until you reach County Road 252. Turn left, riding past Dalton Ranch and across Highway 550. Turn left on County Road 203, which will take you back to Durango.
Elmore’s Loop starts on Historical 3rd Avenue. Head north on 3rd Avenue, which will become Florida Road (County Road 240.) Once on Florida Road, there will be a steady 6-mile climb that ends at Edgemont Ranch. About a mile after Edgemont Ranch, at the bottom of the descent, take a right on County Road 234, at the fire station. CR 234 connects with Highway 160 after about 12 miles. Head west on Highway 160 back to Durango. This loop is approximately 26 miles.
This ride is about 45 miles long with a few steep climbs. The ride starts out the same as Elmore’s Loop on Florida Road (CR 240.) Stay on CR 240 past the turn-off for Elmore’s Loop. When you reach the bridge, turn right, crossing the Florida River. When you reach the intersection of CR 501, turn right. Follow CR 501 to Highway 160. Head west on Highway 160 back to Durango.
Durango to Silverton
This ride one-way totals 50 miles and includes two mountain passes and scenic views; Coal Bank Pass, at 10,660 feet and Molas Pass, at 10,900 feet. There is about 6,000 feet of climbing on the way to Silverton. The trip begins on Main Avenue (Highway 550) in Durango. Highway 550 winds through the mountains to Silverton passing Purgatory and the Hermosa Cliffs along the way. The ride is easier travelling from Silverton to Durango, but be sure to warm up before you start because it begins on a mountain pass. You can make arrangements to ride the train to Silverton and ride your bike to Durango.
Wildcat Canyon Loop
Wildcat Canyon Loop begins on Highway 160 W, with a long 10-mile climb then a short descent to Hesperus Store. Turn left at the store on Hwy 140. The road has a gradual decline for a few miles. Take your first paved left onto County Road 141, which is Wildcat Canyon Road and is on a climb up from a bridge. County Road 141 has gently rolling hills that will take you back to Hwy 160 just west of Durango. The loop is about 35 miles long and can be taken in either direction.
Durango to Pagosa Springs
This ride is 60 miles, one-way. Take Highway 160 east from Durango all the way to Pagosa Springs. There are a few steep climbs, but primarily rolling hills. You can soak in the hot springs to relax your tired muscles once you arrive in Pagosa Springs.