Outside Durango, where we’ll be spending our autumn and winter (as we did 2 years before), there is an enormous National Forest that spreads over a massive area and contains a vast array of elevations and terrain, San Juan National Forest. It’s perfect for exploring, riding, skiing, hiking, wildlife viewing, you name it, and we always have a good time when we hang out there. There’s also numerous abandoned mining installations, old west ghost towns, and miles of roads open even in the winter.
The cabin we’ll be renting is right on the edge of it, so we hope to just be able to head out out on some trails from our front door. Even if that’s possible, we’ll definitely take our bikes out to Mancos, Colorado again. It’s about 40 miles away and while the weather is still nice there are endless trails yet to explore
The area North of Mancos is full of ATV trails, several single tracks, and a massive web of dirt roads (manicured and rough) that go on for miles deep into the forest. When we stayed nearby in Hesperus during the winter of 2013-2014, we only explored the area with our truck, no matter the weather, but now that we’re both riding we finally get to reach places the truck could never go, as well as some of our old favorites like Jersey Joe Lookout Tower.
We had our second forested single track experience there on Chicken Creek Trail and did pretty well aside from getting stuck in some mud for a while on the way back up. Unfortunately we had to turn back because it was evening, and we were thoroughly exhausted anyway, but we plan to return. We put our bikes through the ringer and really let them show us what they can do. We also learned more about our own abilities and picked up some techniques. Every time we get out in the forest we love riding a little bit more.