photo courtesy San Juan Hut Adventures.

On Friday I’ll be setting out on a week-long mountain bike odyssey from Durango, CO to Moab, UT on my mountain bike. The trip is organized by San Juan Hut Adventures which provides mountain huts along the 215-mile route, each stocked with food, water, and sleeping bags (among other items). Think of this trip as bikepacking lite – nothing to carry but extra clothes and spare parts.

Although I won’t be able to post about the trip while I’m out, I will be taking along a SPOT transponder that plots our group’s progress on this map. Five of us will be making the trip: Nate and Matt are driving over from SF and Jake and Dan are flying in from NYC.


While the default hut-to-hut route from Durango to Moab is mostly dirt road with some singletrack, most days feature an alternate singletrack route that we’re hoping to make use of. Here’s what we know about the route so far:

Day 1

Staring from Durango Mountain Resort (formerly known as Purgatory), we’ll head up FSR 587 to Hermosa Creek trail. Day 1 features some of the most climbing (3,590 feet) but it’s also one of the shortest days mileage-wise (just 18.7 to the hut).

Day 2

This route takes us from the Bolam Pass hut to the Black Mesa hut – 28.6 miles and 3,377 feet of climbing. There are two singletrack options along the way: East Fork of the Delores Trail and something called the Groundhog Stock Driveway Trail. Sweet.

Day 3

On the third day we finally get to do more descending (5,198 feet) than climbing (2,003 feet) which always makes for a fun time on the bike.

Day 4

This 34.6 mile section crosses through mining and gas exploration areas and we’ve been told to watch out for dust storms, hot sun, and/or nasty mud in the Dry Creek Basin area. There are 3 potential alternate routes on Day 4 but the description of multiple “bail out” points makes me think this may be one of the more uncomfortable days in the saddle.

Day 5

Our first taste of seriously technical singletrack on the main route. The “Catch-Em Up Trail” descends 1,100 feet in just a mile and our guides recommend hike-a-bike for all but the most skilled riders. 33 miles and 2,800 feet of climbing.

Day 6

Only 24.4 miles to ride but 5,320 feet to climb! Based on the pics, Buckeye Reservoir should be pretty amazing.

Day 7

Descending into Moab. The singletrack options for the last day include jaunts on the Kokopelli’s Trail and Porcupine Rim. 35.6 miles and nearly 7,500 miles of descending – every bit of it earned!

Can’t wait to get started, should be an epic trip!

# Comments

  • dgaddis

    Very much looking forward to hearing how your trip goes.

    The mileage and climbing are pretty low most days, curious how long you’ll be riding every day, keep detailed notes please! Of course most folks, myself included, aren’t used to 7 days of riding in a row…take plenty of butt butter!!

    Day 6 looks like a long slow day…hope you’ve got a 36T cog on your cassette lol.

    I’d recommed taking a spare set of brake pads, just in case you get some nasty weather. And obviously, someone needs to bring along some chain lube.

    Be sure to take good notes of how each day goes, and I’d love to see how everyone has their bike set up. Lots of pics please!

    Have fun guys! I’m jealous.

  • eastwood

    Wow, sounds intense!! Can’t wait to hear all about it on the other end. Have fun, and be safe!

  • CaptainBrock

    I’d like to see some maps and an elevation profile. This actually sounds pretty extreme. I hope you’ve got a partner and lots of water. It sounds more like about ten days for me! Good luck!!!

  • Goo

    Day 7, 7,500 miles of descending: Sweet! Sign me up, lol!

    Trek, this sounds like an awesome trip. I hope you guys have a blast, and I can’t wait to read the ride reports!


  • steve32300

    wooooooooooo weeeee,where do you get all that vacation time,hahahaha,sounds like one amazing trip Trek7k.+1 on lots of pics,details,and dont be shy about telling all the storys,hahahaha.I would love to know what kind of money is involved to do a trip like this if you dont mind discussing it.This is deffinately an inspiration one and all to get out and ride your ass off.

  • Cbrowne

    Just got back from that trip. It was awesome. I think we had a total of 2 flats in our group of 5. We took the fun of route finding out of it with a gps. We didn’t use any of the spare parts we brought. Nothing too technical. We had to skip the single track on day 2 because of the mud. The 2 hour rest we did at the lake to wash clothes on day 3 made the climb up to the dry creek hut not too bad. We did all 3 alt route options on day 4 up to the Wedding Bell hut. That was a great hut, but the mud after that hut the next day was brutal. The catch-em up trail is definitely a hike a bike. The 5k foot climb into the La Sals on day 6 seemed never ending. The single track out of the La Sals got old because of the massive amount wet cow patties everywhere. We ended up bailing out onto the road. My saddle was too sore to comprehend doing Porcupine Rim at the end. Don’t bring too much stuff. I had everything I needed on my back and in a small seat bag. Awesome trip.

  • sunny99

    I just did this trip a month ago – what a blast! We had 7 guys on the trip. I would echo the comment above about not bringing too much stuff. The mud was brutal for us on day 5 from Wedding Bell to Paradox Valley. It had rained all night and for the first several miles we couldn’t even push our bikes because the mud was so thick. Fortunately the sun came out and made it somewhat rideable after a few hours, but we were constantly being chased by another storm behind us. Ended up opting for the 10 mile ride on hwy 90 into Bedrock instead of the catch-em-up trail, we needed some dry ground! The worst part was finally getting into Bedrock and having the store closed – what a heartbreak after a brutal day.

    Miramonte Reservoir on day 3 is worth the stop. We all washed our clothes and went for a swim. Buckeye Reservoir on day 6 was CLOSED! How do you close a reservior??? It was cold and breezy when we got there so a swim would have been out of the question. Hope you have good weather and a great time!

  • Cybrinsanity

    what kind of training is required for a ride like this ..? I want to do it next year but don’t know where to start..

    • jeff

      According to these folks (http://sanjuanhuts.com/), this trip is “designed for upper-intermediate riders in good physical condition.” I didn’t do any specific training before the ride but I generally stay in good shape. The daily mileage is very reasonable but if you decide to take any of the singletrack alternates like we did on days 1 and 7 you’ll want to be in better shape so you can enjoy it.

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