Photo: Grady James
Photo: Grady James

Gravel Rides

While Durango is mostly known for its outstanding trail systems and spectacular road rides, there are also an abundance of unpaved roads in the area that can be connected to create some memorable and challenging gravel rides. Some are accessed via paved county roads while others take right off on the dirt. Gravel rides are considered to be more than 50% non-paved roads, but all of our rides are more than 60% gravel.

The majority of gravel roads in the county are well-maintained and many get frequent treatment to keep them firm and the dust down. Overall, they are smooth but washboards can develop on hills and exits of corners. Locals have been riding road bikes with 23-28mm tires on these routes for decades. Horse Gulch Rd., where a few of the rides start and finish, is an exception as it is not maintained but is not much of an obstacle for a gravel bike.

While many of the roads are quiet please be aware of vehicle traffic and follow rules of the road especially keeping right and going single file when vehicles approach in either direction.

Below are some of our favorite loops right from town but riders can make a ride out of any combinations of roads in the area.

Durango Gravel Rides

Explore a selection of some of the best gravel rides Durango has to offer.

Junction Creek Gravel Out and Back

Moderate to Strenuous 43.96 Miles, 4946 elevation, 2.5-5hrs. Looking for a grinder of a gravel ride with close to 5,000 vertical feet? You won’t have to travel very far because the Junction Creek Out and Back fits the bill. The whole ride is 84% gravel and 16% pavement.

Missionary Gravel Out and Back

Moderate to Strenuous 56.4 Miles, 5283 elevation, 3-6hrs. There are lots of hills which translates to lots of climbs in Durango and the surrounding area, all of which lead to another gravel ride that riders can mark on their bucket lists – Missionary Ridge Road to Henderson Lake and back. The whole ride is 66% gravel and 34% pavement.

Blaze Gravel Long

Moderate to Strenuous 75.1 Miles, 6294 elevation, 4-6hrs. This ride takes in some of the favorite Durango gravel features out there including Horse Gulch Rd both directions, the Glockenspiel both directions, up Texas Creek and around Vallecito Reservoir. It is 60% gravel and 40% pavement.