Junction Creek - Durango, CO
Distance: 15 miles. Time: 3.5 hrs. Great Scenic Overlook.
The Junction Creek location refers to a group of trails in the hills on the West side of Durango which are clustered around the Colorado Trail in the San Juan National Forest. To get there, stop by either Pedal The Peaks bike shop, or ask the locals while having a beer at Lady Falconburgh's. Both of these establishments are on Main Avenue in downtown Durango. Otherwise take Main Avenue North of town and hang a left onto 25th Street, which eventually turns into Junction Street and then Junction Creek Road. Follow this until the pavement ends and begin climbing the fire road until you see a small parking area and trail junction at the first major switchback in the road. Also, Junction Creek Campground is another quarter mile up the road. It accomadates tent and RV camping with a resident caretaker and is run by the US Forest Service.
Here you jump onto the Colorado Trail proper (bikes allowed) and begin climbing steadily up dusty single track alongside Junction Creek amidst the Ponderosa Pines. After two or three miles of steady climbing, you'll cross the creek before a series of brutal, rocky uphill switchbacks. Many riders bring their fly rods and throw in at this mountain stream. The mile-long crawl up the switchbacks is rewarded at the end with a rest and a view from Gudy's Rest where you can take in the view of Durango far below.
Continuing on a short distance brings you to a junction for the Dry Fork Loop. Left will take you clockwise down Hoffhein's Connection with a nice, open downhill amongst the pines. At the end of Hoffhein's, you can opt to zip down a short one mile spur to a gravel parking lot for horse trailers; the spur offers some great berms and jumps. Back on the Dry Fork Loop you will begin some considerable but gradual climbing drawn out over a few miles until you meet up with the Colorado Trail again. Continue clockwise by taking a right at the junction and enjoy a gradual, but fast and flow-ey downhill run over 2.5 miles back to the junction before Gudy's Rest. Lots of jumps and rock drops to play on thru this section. After passing Gudy's Rest, enjoy the switchbacks on the way down, cross the creek again and gradually descend back to the trail head the way you came.
Durango is a great mountain biker-friendly town. Stop by the Durango Rec Center if you're in need of a shower. To get there, hang a left when you get back to Main Avenue on your way down from the trail and you will see the building on your right hand side just past the ball fields.
Sign for Colorado Trail on Dry Fork Loop
Scenic Overlook at Gudy's Rest
Looking down at Junction Creek from Gudy's Rest