Based in Durango, Colorado, Trails 2000 is a
501c3 organization that builds and maintains trails; educates trail users and encourages
connectivity on road, path and trail.
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The Horse Gulch/Telegraph Trail System is the perfect trail system for all levels and user types. It accommodates beginners or advanced riders, short rides, long rides, and more. You can start this trail any time of day. It gets dark around 7-8 p.m., depending on the time of year, so you’ll want to be done by then. In summer, these trails are mighty hot so bring lots of water. Remember, the climb up the road is the hardest part for beginners, once you arrive at the Meadow, you are greeted with 360 degree views and wide open space vistas.
Telegraph Trail: Telegraph is one of the most popular routes in the Horse Gulch Trail System. To access, head up Horse Gulch Road for 0.7 miles, then turn right at the large, signed intersection. Stay right at the first two intersections, then left at a cabled gate. Climb through the beautiful meadow, then stay right at a signed intersection to begin climbing moderately up the side of the mesa. At the top of the Telegraph Hill, choose your own adventure back down; either Anasazi, a steep, technical descent that puts you back on the Telegraph Trail or explore the other side of the pass on trails like Sidewinder, Crites Connect and others.
Raider Ridge: Raider Ridge Overlook is a long, beautiful ride or hike. Start from Horse Gulch Road and head past the Meadow to your 2nd left, called Rocky Road. Head up Rocky Road and stay right. You’ll continue climbing until you reach an overlook of the Hillcrest Golf Course and the La Plata Mountains. Head down by staying to the trail on your left and you’ll end up back on Horse Gulch Road. Or, head north to Hyper Extended Ridge and descend Skyline to Jenkins Ranch/Bread Express or to Sugar
Powerline Trail (including Rim Loop): Powerline Trail can be accessed either from Horse Gulch Road or Chapman Hill Ice Rink off Florida Road. To access from Chapman Hill parking lot (off Florida Road in Durango), climb the trail that begins from the east end of the parking lot and climb somewhat steeply up the switchbacks. At your first junction, take a right onto the Rim Trail. Ride/hike southwest on the Rim Trail for several miles. Fort Lewis College is on your left and the City of Durango is below you on your right. Carefully cross the paved road and rejoin the trail on the other side. The trail runs along a creek here for a short while and then climbs up to a bit of an open area. The trail is a bit confusing here, but bear south by southeast and you will find the trail again descending down to another paved road crossing which is Goeglein Gulch Road. Rejoin the trail on the other side and climb up a short section to a trail junction. This is Powerline Trail; take a left here and stay on the obvious wide singletrack running behind the Skyridge Subdivision. After a mile or two, the trail dumps out onto a road that immediately forks. Take the right hand fork up the hill toward the water tank. Before reaching the water tank, a singletrack will dive off the road to your left. Take this singletrack, the Skyridge Connector, down toward the neighborhood below. After about a mile of flowy descending, the trail will terminate in a cul-de-sac. Directly across from where you exited Skyridge Connector, and slightly to your right, you will see a gravel road. Ride this gravel road about an 1/8th of a mile and keep an eye out for the singletrack that shoots off to the right near the end of the road. Take this singletrack, the Ball Lane Connector, down to Ball Lane and take a right there. At the bottom of Ball Lane, take a left onto Florida Road and either ride several miles back to the Chapman Hill parking lot where your ride started or make a stop at Bread (at the corner of Florida Rd. and CR 250). Total ride length approximately 10 miles.
Snakecharmer: Snakecharmer is a progressive-style riding trail built in 2013. It was designed by Tyson Swazey, builder of Moab’s Captain Ahab’s trail, and contains a variety of terrain features, including several advanced rock features and berms. Accessed by Horse Gulch Road to Rocky Road (past Meadow turn off) and follow signs. It finishes up in the quarry.
Skyline Trail: Skyline Trail is a great out and back or make it a loop into Horse Gulch. You will get your switchback training in, for sure. This trail winds its way up Raider Ridge to a view point with spectacular 360 degree views of Durango, the Animas Valley and Horse Gulch. From the view point, you can follow the very technical trail along the ride from Hyper Extended Ridge and down into Horse Gulch, or back track the way you came and learn how to do switchbacks going downhill! To access, from Florida Road head up Goeglein Gulch Road to the Skyline subdivision. The main road is Jenkins Ranch Road: Follow this to the end of the pavement and parking is available on the right. Please do not block any neighborhood traffic.
Sugar Trail: A 1.5 mile, multi-use connector trail from Skyline to Horse Gulch road
Medicine Trail: Medicine Trail is a progressive trail located off Horse Gulch Road; lined with rocks, it heads down and to your left and finishes up on the slab onto Horse Gulch Road.
Other Feature Trails: Meadow Loop; Stacy’s Trail; Mike’s Trail; Cuchillo Trail; Rooster Trail; Flame Out; Milky Way; Rocky Road; Bread Express
Daryl Crites, a Durango native, then president of Goff Engineering and longtime Trails 2000 board member, kicked off the preservation of the Horse Gulch area. In the early 1990s, he approached Noel Pautsky, the owner of the vast area east of Durango, about preserving its many trails with permanent easements. Pautsky agreed, and Crites went to work surveying all of the trails, including Crites Connect, Telegraph and Anasazi Descent. Pautsky eventually gifted the easements to La Plata County. That initial partnership laid the groundwork for a series of recent open space purchases in Horse Gulch by the City of Durango. In addition, Trails 2000 facilitated an easement opening legal access to Raider Ridge in 2009. The acquisitions have promised that the trail network and the pristine high desert surrounding it will be preserved for perpetuity and enjoyed by Durangoans and visitors for generations to come.
The Horse Gulch/Telegraph Trailhead is located just off of 8th Avenue and 3rd Street. If you are coming from the south end of town (past Durango Mall), it will be on your right hand side. Turn east off of 8th Avenue onto 3rd Street, by the Horse Gulch Health Center and Sonic. There is a paved parking area at the trailhead and a gate which leads you to the beginning of the trail system. The trailhead also features a self service bike repair station with all tools for changing a flat, adjusting brakes and derailleurs, etc. You’ll start with a half mile climb that many people just walk up. But this walk/ride is worth it. Once up in the meadow, there are signs giving variations of different rides. For rides involving the whole family, or less experienced riders, it is suggested to stick to the “meadow loop.” It is relatively short and flat. There are many options for longer rides. The trail is very well marked with trailhead signs at major intersections.
Visit the Trail Conditions Report for current conditions and photos.
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