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Telegraph Trail System

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With more than 300 miles of trail within 30 minutes of downtown Durango, it’s easy to find the perfect ride, and the Telegraph Trail system, earning an International Mountain Bike Association “epic rides” designation, is full of them.

This loop will take you from town up and over a mountain, careening through an arroyo and climbing some more before rocketing you back to where you started.

Beginning at the Horse Gulch Trail Head, ride less than one mile to the Meadow and turn right, meandering toward Telegraph Hill – you can see what you’re about to climb. Stay right at two mapped intersections. The trail begins its mellow ascent. Don’t worry, it ramps up.

The Telegraph has a feeling of exposure as it clings to a hillside. The trail gains good elevation, but isn’t too steep. Yet.

At about two and a half miles the grade gets ugly with a short steep grunt. The climb is all there, but many riders are challenged by it. Take a breather at the top, and enjoy the view.

You could dive into the Anasazi descent, making for a great short loop leading back into the gulch, but you’ve come this far. Go farther.

Go right and follow the Yellow Brick Road (not Carbon Junction) that spits you out onto a road. Turn left and roll on to another left (staying right here will lead you down the steep and rocky Suicide Trail).

Follow this fast line around a bend to the Sidewinder Trail, at three and a half miles. This section screams. Fly by the next few junctions and enjoy some insanely fun, drawn out turns.

At a little more than five and a half miles, take the right up the Crites Connection, climbing over cool sandstone features along a ridge line with nice views. There are a few techy spots, but for what you just bombed, you’re getting off easy.

At seven miles, take a left at the map for a short climb up the old Telegraph line, the namesake of the trail system that will bring you back to the top of Telegraph. Now, down Anasazi.

This is a steep and technical one way descent. Early in its existence a section of chain-link fence kept riders from plummeting off the hillside. It’s still there, flattened – one too many riders went over. The Anasazi is amazing. At the bottom, go right onto smooth, twisting trail.

Many options remain but for this loop stay left at Stacy’s and head out left to the Meadow then back onto Horse Gulch Road. Ridiculously rockin’ fun, this is a quality 10-mile loop.

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