This place is magic. Trails dart through ponderosa pine forests and curl around massive boulders. And it’s just above the northwest side of Durango.

Sort of an extension of its temperamental neighbor, Animas City Mountain, this isn’t the easiest riding. The singletrack is repeatedly broken by cobble gardens and technical moves, and some are substantial bridges and spines. But that shouldn’t deter riders.

This is a place to hone your skills, and it’s a cool place to do it – the natural fortresses made of stone all around seem right out of J.R.R. Tolkien story.

It’s also a place for a genre of rock climbing called bouldering. Long a source of obsession originally known as Sailing Hawks, the boulders here are known across the globe for short and tough climbing challenges. It even has its own guidebook, and you’re likely to see climbers wandering the forests with their big square crash pads on their backs. Say “hi.” We’re all cast under a spell. Just like they try to solve problems – the sequence of moves to climb their boulders – you have to figure out how to actually ride that tight spot on the Ponderosa Trail. This is tricky mountain biking with quick, explosive bursts of technical puzzles filled with surprises.

The Ponderosa and Sailing Hawks trails are the backbone of this network, with several junctions and options wandering off of them, and a few secret spurs to up the ante.

However you access the trail system, from Junction, Birket Drive or Animas City Mountain, the only bad thing about Dalla Mountain Park is there isn’t more to it, although a solid five miles here is perfect for dusk or dawn outings. Explore and find your bliss.

Get out of your head at Dalla Mountain Park, and into the magic woods.