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Trail difficulty
Blue
Elevation Gain
560.00 ft (170.69 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
8.00 mi (12.87 km)
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Horse Gulch is a trailhead and parking area on the southwestern end of the Horse Gulch/Telegraph trail systems. It starts out as a wide dirt access road and gives you the ability to reach a bunch of singletrack rides with a wide variety of skill levels. Less than a mile up the main gully, you will see a trail marker on your right for the Meadow Loop, one of the earliest and most popular routes along the way. The 1.7-mile loop takes you through the woods on a relatively easy ride that still has enough elevation gain to get your heart moving—perfect for an after-work microadventure. The eastern end of this loop accesses the Telegraph system from Anasazi Descent or the Telegraph Trail. From there you can hit up South Rim, Carbon Junction, or the short and fast Big Canyon Trail.

If you stay on the western side of the Horse Gulch system, you'll find technical blue- and black-rated trails, such as Raider Ridge, Rocky Road, and the lengthy Powerline Trail. These drop you into the eastern suburbs of Durango and are all for intermediate and advanced riders. You will see lots of hikers and bikers here, but there is more than enough room to spread out. The parking lot is not huge, but it does offer an ample number of spots. You might want to get there early on the weekends, however, especially during the summer months. There is a bathroom and tools available for use, the latter an unusual and very useful amenity for mountain bikers.

The high desert terrain consists of many pine, spruce, and fir with various species of cactus, such as the flowering prickly pear. Hummingbirds and many other small birds dart from branch to branch, while hawks are almost always flying overhead. Elk, mule deer, moose, black bear, and the occasional mountain lion have all been spotted in the area around Horse Gulch Trailhead and make for a wild experience just outside of town.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

No

Open from

April 15 to October 15

Pros

Close to town. Variety trails to choose from. Variety of skill levels.

Cons

Crowded.

Pets allowed

Allowed

Trailhead Elevation

6,581.00 ft (2,005.89 m)

Highest point

7,141.00 ft (2,176.58 m)

Net Elevation Gain

560.00 ft (170.69 m)

Features

Family friendly
Wildlife
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Hiking

Route Characteristics

Trail

Location

Field Guide

Comments

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Durango is nestled in the Four Corners area of Southwest Colorado, surrounded by mountain peaks and away from the frenzy. A premier four-season destination, Durango offers unparalleled cultural, historic and outdoor attractions. Your adventure starts within half an hour of touching down! Get More. Visit durango.org or call 970-247-3500.

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