Conveniently located within Durango city limits, this diverse trail system offers everything from a mellow jog through the meadow to an intense climbing and scrambling session up and down the ridges. Arid and frequently hot in the summer, Horse Gulch (also known as the Telegraph Trails System) allows runners to explore a myriad of terrain types. Depending on which route you take, there are some incredible views to be had of Durango and the surrounding area. If you’re looking for lots of diversity with little to no travel time, Horse Gulch is for you.
What Makes It Great
Horse Gulch can be accessed from the parking lot behind the new Horse Gulch Health Campus, and from several trailheads on the south end of town. Most of the trails in the system are interconnecting loops, so you can make your own itinerary. It’s quite easy to find your way around this maze, as nearly all intersections are signposted with a handy map.
For a nice and relaxed four-miler, run up the 4x4 road until you reach the signpost about half a mile in. From here, take a right onto Meadow Loop and follow it until you reach the intersection with Stacey’s. Make a right and follow this for another mile until you meet back up with Meadow. This will lead you out to the signpost where you can hit the 4x4 road and descend to the trailhead.
Or, if you’re looking for views and a good 560 ft. climb, follow Meadow until you reach the turnoff for Telegraph on your right. This will lead you up to the top of Grandview Ridge through a long series of switchbacks. At the top, make a quick turnaround and drop down Anasazi Descent to reach Meadow Loop.
On the opposite side of the gulch, you have one of Durango’s favorite mountain bike rides, Raider Ridge. Run past the signpost on the 4x4 road until you reach Sport Loop on your left. Follow this up the ridge until you come to the intersection with Rocky Road on your right. Climb Rocky Road until you meet up with the Raider Ridge Trail. Take a moment, and soak in the expansive views of Durango and the Animas River below. Hang a left, and follow Raider Ridge down to the 4x4 road where you can make a right and reach the trailhead in no time.
Who is Going to Love It
Traveling with a mixed bag of runners? Horse Gulch will allow everyone; beginners and advanced competitors alike, to get a good workout in. Be sure to bring water for you and your dog, as it can get very hot in the summer and there are no water sources for Spot to cool off in.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Head up College Drive from downtown Durango and make a right at East 8th Ave. Take a left onto 4th St. and park behind the Horse Gulch Health Campus. The 4x4 road begins from the carpark.
You can also access the trail system from the Carbon Junction Trailhead. Follow East 8th until it turns into Highway 3. In about 2.5 miles, you’ll reach the parking area and trailhead on your left.
Trails on the north side of the gulch are open year round, but trails near and on Grandview Ridge are closed for winter wildlife habitat. These trails include Sale Barn, Big Canyon, Carbon Junction, Telegraph, and Sidewinder, among others. Check the BLM website for up to date information.