This is a revered ride, born from the grit of the area's pioneering mountain bikers, yet burly and contemporary enough to be a leg of the Big Mountain Enduro Series for two years running before it was deemed too remote. From 11,700' Kennebec Pass, it offers breathtaking views of the La Plata and San Juan Mountains, Snowstorm Peak, and the Hermosa Creek Roadless Area.
This is certified big mountain ride, with reoccurring mountain vistas, a gnarly alpine singletrack section on a talus slope, technical creek crossings and even a waterfall.
You begin on the Colorado Trail in the La Plata Mountains, and drop nearly 5,000' into Durango (you can also avoid the upper section of this ride by traveling 17 miles up Junction Creek Road and picking up the Colorado at Champion Venture, but this robs you of some of the trail's highlights, unless snow is an issue at higher elevation). The pace generally keeps you hauling for almost 18 miles, but make no mistake, there is a grueling climb eight miles into this monster that begins at Walls Gulch Bridge. Once you reach a vague and coveted “high point” –a bend in the trail at 9,600' marked by a bench log – the climbing is over, and it's heavenly fast singletrack for most of the next nine miles.
You can follow the Colorado Trail to Gudy's Rest and out Junction Creek, or head out on the Dry Fork Trail to Lightner Creek Road. Both options bring you back to town, and both are immensely rewarding.
The Colorado Trail from Kennebec Pass is epic, big mountain fun.