Molas Pass to Cascade (near Durango, CO)
Ahh, the bittersweet melancholy of another summer gone by... Labor Day Weekend always makes me a little bit sad, and reflective. But what a great summer it has been!!! And looking back, I can say I definitely had some truly great times. Some of the best moments were on a mountain biking trip we took to the Durango, CO area. The Colorado Trail off of Molas Pass (between Silverton and Durango) is, thankfully, open to bikes, and some of the sweetest alpine single track you could ever imagine. The mountain and wild flower views are stunning. And, thanks to the Colorado Trail Foundation, the trail is meticulously maintained and buff.
The trail starts just off the Silverton side of the the pass. The initial climb takes you up immediately into towering peaks and amazing views for the Needles Mtn. Range and other peaks. The pictures below say it way better than I can, so I am not going to try to do it justice.
Our ride turned out to be a 35 mile (or so), 8 hr. epic, that included getting lost once. With perfect weather, we didn't mind all that much. We took the Colorado Trail to Cascade Creek, via the Graysill Cutoff. The "getting lost" part entailed pedaling past the unmarked said cutoff by about 3 miles. After encountering another lost rider and some knowledgeable hikers, we were able to figure it out. Apparently the trail is "rocked off" to keep people from accidentally straying off the Colorado Trail. If you don't know this (and are expecting a sign, which there is not) you can easily miss it.
We actually found out later that the Engineer Mountain trail is the preferred decent for most local folks, and probably a much better option. I wouldn't trade our outing for anything, but next time we will probably go that way, as the riding along Cascade Creek was little bit anti climatic compared to the rest of the ride. Get out there and do it!
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