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Colorado Trail to Engineer MTN trail

Average Rating:    (4.58 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 12

100 % singletrack, mostly above treeline (12,000 highest point)
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Latitude
37.62075814551956
Longitude
-107.85964965820312
Trail Directions
Start at pass (the name escapes me now) between Durango and Silverton. To avoid cycling back on highway 550 you can leave a vehicle at the top of Coal Bank Summit (which is closer to Durango)
Trail Length
22 miles
Trail Level
Advanced
Trail Type
Singletrack
City/County
Durango
   


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Reviews 1 - 5 (12 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
June 23, 2013

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 5 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: rbarrali ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
I ride once or twice a week at an elevation of 1500 feet. I'm in reasonably good shape. I consider myself a competent rider. the trial starts from little molas lake and takes you on a wonderful uphill climb. once you reach about 11,000 feet you will get winded quickly. if you are not acclimated, aka you don't live at altitude year round, you will find this to be the start of your troubles. not to worry; you only have 20 miles to go. you continue gentle ascents and descents. these would be easy at sea level. you are dying. you will be walking your bike half the time. the turn on to the engineer mtn trail signals a new set of difficulties. half of the steeps are death traps. you are sick of walking your bike. you tempt fate. you almost go over a cliff. you end up walking your bike over half of these steeps. you start to wonder if you are doing more walking than riding. you are all for taking chances on steeps, but you remember you are in the middle of nowhere. no one is going to save you if you fall and break a leg. you wonder when this is going to end. you look off into the distance and see that you have to climb again. as you push your bike closer to the face of engineer mountain you will notice the trails become deeply rutted out. you try and crank your way out, but your pedals invariably hit the sides of the ruts. the only saving grace is you are going so slow because of the lack of oxygen. you get to the coal bank trail and wonder why you just didn't start there. you continue your journey to an altitude of about 12,200 feet. the sun is setting. you are pedaling more than you are pushing. you actually have some energy. suddenly you are making some respectable climbs. the air hunger has subsided for the time being. the scenery just keeps getting better. you can practically hit the face of engineer mountain with a seven iron. the down hill makes your previous fourteen miles bearable. not really. it's about the best downhill experience I have ever had. this is a one and done trail most suited for hikers.

Recommended Route:
start at coal bank trail. pedal up hill for a couple miles and then it's awesome downhill for seven or eight miles. you get great scenery without killing yourself. you have a great downhill experience and still have enough energy to consider pizza and beer.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
do hermosa creek ten miles in and turn around. minimal altitude. gentle down hill in. you can pedal out without stopping, or you can stop and fish along the way.



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Review Date
September 24, 2012

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 3 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a year

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Reviewed by: Bill Stewart ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Trail has been worked on in the last year. It is in stellar shape. Excellent single track. This is some of the best high Alpine riding in Colorado. The high start leaves you with enough energy to get a beer in Durango.
I don't usually recommend not having a map when riding this far into the back country but for this ride you can get by just staying on the trail and reading the signs. Be prepared!! You are back pretty deep. There is cell coverage on Verizon.

Recommended Route:
Catch the Colorado trail off of Molas Pass and stay on until you reach a very defined and marked departure onto Engineer Pass trail heading east. Stay on this trail to the north base of Engineer Mountain. Do not turn off to the left which takes you to Coal Bank pass. Continue straight south on the trail to the terminus near Cascade Village. The descent begins just after the base of Engineer. Rock on!!



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Review Date
September 18, 2010

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: Penny ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
90% rideable singletrack, 15% steep loose climb. I don't really get the previous review's problem with the trail. I was pushing my bike for maybe 15-20 minutes of the 3 hour ride. The Colorado trail section is uber scenic and offers a nice mix of ups and down. The last mile of the CT and the first couple miles of Engineer Mt Trail aren't great, but the 30 minute DH at the end is worth a couple hike-a-bikes. Any competent rider should have a blast on the final DH. This is one of the better alpine rides in Colorado!

Recommended Route:
Start at Little Molas turn off. Ride 9.9 miles on Colorado Trail. Turn left onto Engineer Mt Trail. Continue past Engineer Creek (don't turn), continue toward Pass Trail. Continue past Pass Trail down to the road. Hitchhike back up or set up a shuttle.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Reno-Flag-Bear-Deadman's (Crested Butte), Monarch Crest



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Review Date
September 20, 2009

Overall Rating
 2 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 5 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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Reviewed by: barnhorse ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Get off the bike. Get on the bike. Get off the bike. Get on the bike. etc. etc. This is a beautiful trail, but not really a bike trail. It is a horse and foot trail that can be biked if you want to battle your way along. After the first third of the Colorado Trail portion, I found it very tedious. Way too many unridable spots for me. I could never get a cadence going. There is no flow on this trail. I had to walk huge sections of the downhill. And there were plenty of footprints in the mud where other riders walked as well - no way was I the only one. Bike the first part of this trail, enjoy the view, and then turn around unless you know what you are getting into.



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Review Date
August 28, 2003

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 5 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

Visitors rate this review
5.00 of 5, 3.00 votes

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Reviewed by: JBSmtbiker ,  Cross Country Rider , from Bentonville, AR

Summary:
The best mtb ride of my life. Period. I rode this with Chip, owner of Mountain Bike Adventures and a life-long Durango resident. Most of the ride is above the tree line and much of it is very exposed, so the scenery is awe-inspiring. The day we rode, rain fell in the mountains to the north and south, but never on us. Foul weather clothing is still mandatory, as is plenty of food, water and energy slimes. A camera is a good idea, too.
This trail is all single track, with many nasty drainage crossings in the high country. Although the whole trail is theoretically rideable (ie, for Hans Rey), you will want to get off and hike the hairier sections where the slightest mistake will result in death or worse.
I ride alone most of the time, but I would never ride this trail alone. We were up there in late August; after we left the trailhead we saw no one for the next 25 or so miles.
This ride took us 5 hours, with 3+ hours of climbing, an hour or so of rolling single track and finishing with a 6-7 mile descent(!) Can you say 'switchback'?
If you can only ride one trail in the Durango area, make it this one.

Recommended Route:
Park at Durango Mt. Resort (nee Purgatory) and take a shuttle to Molas Pass. Follow the generally well-marked (and maintained) Colorado Trail (about 18 miles) to the Engineer Mt. Trail. This will lead to the best descent in Durango, dumping you out on 550 followed by two easy miles of peddling back to the resort.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Hermosa Creek; Horse Gulch and Logging Chutes (in town)



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Reviews 1 - 5 (12 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5
 


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