Though it is the last segment of the extended trail, the Junction Creek trailhead of the Colorado Trail isn’t reserved for through-hikers. It is a popular destination for all looking to enjoy a hike, bike, or run.
The Colorado Trail is a connected, continuous trail that travels 486 miles (for backpackers) or 540 miles (for bikers) from Denver to Durango. The Southwest portion, segments 25 – 28, are all great mountain bike rides in a high alpine environment.
The trail ends in Durango at the Junction Creek trailhead. Mid to late summer will see through-hikers powering in to finish the last section of the trail. They will be ready for a burger and shower to celebrate their achievement.
What Makes It Great
Because of its proximity to Durango, the Colorado Trail at Junction Creek is a popular spot for local athletes and outdoor enthusiasts - aka the Town of Durango. It is no more busy than most other in-town trail systems, but the difference is that while Horse Gulch and Overend Mountain Park have almost countless options for varying trail use, Junction Creek is one trail out and back.
But there’s a reason aside from convenience that the Junction Creek trailhead enjoys so much attention – it’s a well-maintained trail with good climbs, fun down hills, technical challenges, a lookout, and a creek bottom. Essentially, it’s a wonderful trail with a lot to offer. But to avoid the worst of the crowds, which do thin out after the first mile and a half, be an early bird or a weekday rider.
Maybe you’ll remember the view of Junction Creek Drainage from Goudy’s Rest. Maybe it will be the feeling of successfully navigating a brief, rocky section in the middle of the 1.3 mile climb from the bridge to Goudy’s. Perhaps what you’ll remember most is plunging your feet into the clear cold water of Junction Creek after a satisfying ride and seeing small trout dart away under the massive boulders that line the lower section of the creek.
The Colorado Trail has so much to offer, you’ll come away with great memories, no matter what.
Who is Going to Love It
Those who do not want to choose between a good workout, a challenging ride, and sweeping views will love this trail. In fact, there’s something for everyone to love about this trail, and that will be evident by the number of people you encounter hiking with kids, running with dogs, or mountain biking through the rolling terrain.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The trailhead of the Colorado Trail at Junction Creek can be reached by driving north on Highway 550 and taking a left at the light on 25th street. This road heads into a residential neighborhood, past a school and the trailheads for Dallas Mountain Park and Animas Mountain. Continue driving on Junction Creek Road. About two miles after leaving town and winding between creek and mountainside a fork will appear in the road – continue straight. The first parking lot is located on the left of the road with toilets and plenty of parking space. Another, smaller lot is located up the Forest Service Road and cuts of the first mile of the trail.