Mountain Biking from Durango to Moab

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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.

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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!

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