Wait, another new destination for 2023? Yep, that’s right- and this one is for our advanced riders looking to push themselves a bit more! If you’ve ridden with us in Crested Butte, Sun Valley, or on the Monarch Crest Enduro and you’re looking for what’s next… Durango is it! The climbing is similar to Crested Butte, but the downhills are a notch tougher (but not quite as tough as the epics on our Monarch Crest trip). The altitude will slow you down a bit, but the better shape you’re in, the better you’re going to feel over the four days of riding in the San Juan high country!
Durango sits in the southwest corner of Colorado, smack-dab in the middle of the famous San Juan mountains, and offers some of the best high-country riding in the US. To us, it’s similar in nature to Crested Butte but offers a bit of variety as we’ll visit in the summer, instead of the fall with CB. Additionally, the rides tend to be a little more “adventure” oriented as we’ll really get OUT THERE. The downhills tend to be a little steeper and rowdier, so definitely bring your A-game!
Please Note: Durango is one of the 2-3 hardest trips we offer, and is not to be taken lightly. These are long days in the saddle, and they’re tough physically and technically. We highly recommend putting in big training miles for this trip, as the combination of terrain, elevation, and ride duration will wear you down over 4 days. That said, this trip is also very rewarding with some of the coolest ride experiences on our docket, and you’ll absolutely love it if you come prepared!!
About the Rides
Each of the four days in Durango will start with a shuttle, which allows us to maximize our climbing to descending ratio… but don’t sleep on these rides, as they’re still tough for even the fittest riders! We have a lot to choose from in the Durango/Purgatory area, but our ideal itinerary would look something like this:
Ride 1: Stagecoach to Hermosa Creek (24 miles, 2500′ climbing and 5000′ descending)
Ride 2: Coal Bank Pass, White Creek, and Graysill Creek (21 miles, 2700′ climbing and 4500′ descending)
Ride 3: Bolam Pass to the Colorado Trail and Blackhawk Pass (24 miles, 3000′ climbing and 5000′ descending)
Ride 4: Coal Bank Pass to Engine Creek and Cascade Creek (14 miles, 1800′ climbing and 3000′ descending)
Other Relevant Trip Information
Which bike is right for Durango? The answer here is “it depends”! If you’re looking for a little help on the uphills and can handle your own on the techy descents, then we recommend an efficient trail bike like our Revel Rascal or Propain Hugene. If you can crush the climbs and want to ride a big bike on the amazing downhills here, then by all means you can rock a bike like the Propain Tyee or Revel Rail 29. In our eyes, both are totally appropriate here.
Where will we be staying? For this trip, we plan on staying at the base of Purgatory Ski Resort or just up the road at the bottom of the Engineer Mountain Trail. Both locations are at approximately 9,000′, so we’d recommend coming in a day early to help acclimate if possible. The first night’s sleep is always tough at that elevation too.
How should I train for this trip? Honestly, ride a lot. And do some weight training and/or yoga as well. Each rider should customize their own training plan based on their body, availability, and location, but we also include a basic training plan when you book with us. Mix it up and do intervals, long rides, short intense rides, etc… but always have fun and keep your goals in mind.
How does Durango compare to other Chasing Epic trips? We see it as a close companion to Crested Butte with big rides at high altitude, amazing views, incredible singletrack descents, and long days in the saddle. The overall mileage/climbing/descending is very similar too, with a few more shuttles built in for Durango. Compared to our Sun Valley trip, the climbing tends to be a notch tougher, as does the technical riding. Compared to Monarch Crest, we’d say the overall fitness required is a little higher, while the technical riding on the Crest trip is probably a little bit tougher than Durango.
We’re still working to finalize our 2023 trip calendar, but we expect to announce all of the dates in the next 2-3 weeks (by mid-October)! For Durango, we’ve got the dates nailed down: July 13-17, 2023. You can find more information on the trip on our Durango destination page: