Segment 6: Nucla to Durango
ElevationAscent: 20,862' 6,359 m
Descent: -20,196' -6,156 m
High: 12,431' 3,789 m
Low: 5,870' 1,789 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 51% (27°)
Popular rides nearby
47 Trail (403)
9.8 mi 15.8 km • Point to Point • 837 ft Ascent 255.03 m Ascent
Shamrock (Y-11 Loop or Out N' Back)
8.6 mi 13.9 km • Loop • 674 ft Ascent 205.4 m Ascent
Lower Spring Creek Loop
15.0 mi 24.1 km • Loop • 1,709 ft Ascent 520.81 m Ascent
Dennis Weaver Memorial Park
3.1 mi 5.0 km • Out and Back • 291 ft Ascent 88.79 m Ascent
Montrose Big Loop
28.3 mi 45.5 km • Point to Point • 1,801 ft Ascent 548.89 m Ascent
Yeti Tribe Gathering: Main Ride, Telluride Gondola
23.5 mi 37.9 km • Loop • 3,337 ft Ascent 1017.04 m Ascent
Navigate on-trail with our free app
“A route from the desert through the San Juan Mountains on dirt roads, 4x4 tracks, and classic alpine singletrack.”— Bikepacking Roots
This has been hidden from our maps to prevent overlap with existing trails, or because our research has found there is no legal access.
- 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.
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.
Biked this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Electic Mountain Bikes Allowed