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Segment 6: Nucla to Durango

Intermediate
 5.0 (1)

A route from the desert through the San Juan Mountains on dirt roads, 4x4 tracks, and classic alpine singletrack.


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Map Key

195.3

Miles

314.3

KM

Singletrack

12,431' 3,789 m

High

5,870' 1,789 m

Low

20,862' 6,359 m

Up

20,196' 6,156 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

51%

Max Grade (27°)

This has been hidden from our maps to prevent overlap with existing trails, or because our research has found there is no legal access.

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Features Commonly Bikepacked

  • Water availability is much less of an issue on this route after the first 30 miles
  • Resupply options are available in Ridgeway (5 miles off route from mile 69), Ouray (mile 94), and Silverton (mile 118)
  • This segment boasts ample mountain riding, steep climbs, and exposed topography above treeline. Plan carefully and avoid being up high during afternoon thunderstorms.

Section Of

Description

The end of the Plateau Passage is not far away, but a few stunning, tall, and jagged mountain ranges stand between Nucla and Durango. Segment 6 begins with a 4,000-foot climb to the crest of the Uncompahgre Plateau on a mix of more Paradox Trail singletrack, gravel roads, and 4x4 tracks.

Once on the crest, the gravel Divide Road brings riders southeast toward the mighty San Juan Mountains. A brief descent to near the town of Ridgeway runs along the base of the Sneffels Range, and nestled at the base of these craggy peaks is the amazing mountain singletrack of the Dallas Trail. At the east end of the trail is the little town of Ouray, deep in one of the scenic valleys that earned this area the nickname of the American Alps. Ouray offers basic resupply options, restaurants, and lodging.

Beyond Ouray, more steep climbing awaits. It begins with a few miles on the scenic Highway 550 before aiming toward the sky and Engineer Pass on rough, busy 4x4 roads. Just before Engineer Pass proper, the route turns south and descends a steadily-improving gravel road to the old mining community of Silverton. Then the climbing resumes.

Pavement leads to dirt road leads to a 4x4 track leads to an old pack trail climbing to the summit of Rolling Mountain Pass at over 12,000 feet above sea level, the high point of the Plateau Passage. More singletrack follows, including the well-known Engineer Mountain Trail descent near Purgatory Resort. A short dirt road climb leads to the ~20-mile-long Hermosa Creek Trail, and from the south end of that trail, there is a mere 20 miles of pavement to reach Durango, the end of Segment 6 and the eastern terminus of the Plateau Passage.

Really ambitious riders may opt to begin the Colorado Trail in Durango and continue another 485 miles to Denver through the heart of the Colorado Rockies. But wrapping up the 1,200+ miles of the Plateau Passage will stand as in incredible accomplishment in and of itself.

Contacts

Shared By:

Bikepacking Roots

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote

#1

in Nucla

#2408

Overall
  5.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
100%
4 Star
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3 Star
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#1

in Nucla

#351

in Colorado

#2,408

Overall
2 Views Last Month
495 Since Apr 24, 2017
Intermediate

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Photos

Great views to be had on this trail.
Jul 7, 2013 near Rico, CO
The view from the trails exit
Oct 8, 2017 near Rico, CO
Aspens going off! During a memorable finish through the aspens at the trails end.
Oct 5, 2017 near Rico, CO
Looking back at engineer mtn after the screamer descent!
Oct 8, 2017 near Rico, CO
On the EMT above Pass Creek, looking north ar Jura Knob
Jul 2, 2014 near Silverton, CO
If you like tight singletrack, solitude, and epic views, White Creek is for you!
Jul 2, 2014 near Rico, CO

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