When it comes to high alpine biking trails that combine lung-busting climbs with adrenaline-pumping descents, few can rival this 22-mile point-to-point route that begins at Molas Pass and ends at Engineer Trail. Nestled in Durango, Colorado, this trail isn't just about the mileage; it's the altitude that really takes your breath away.
At elevations hovering between 11,000 and 12,000 feet, this trail is not for the faint-hearted. The air is thin, and every pedal stroke feels like an achievement. The initial segment climbs to Engineer Trail at an altitude of 12,150 feet, offering expansive views of the San Juan Mountains. It's a steady, mellow ride, but don't be fooled—altitude is a silent challenger.
After the climb, the trail ushers you into one of the most exhilarating descents you'll ever experience. Dropping around 2,500 feet in under five miles, it's downhill biking at its finest—fast, narrow, twisty, and filled with obstacles that demand your full attention. The descent is untechnical but thrilling, making for an unforgettable ride.
It's vital to check the weather before embarking on this adventure. Wet conditions can turn the high alpine sections near Rolling Pass and Engineer Mountain into deep muck, affecting both your ride and the trail condition. Exercise caution and respect for the trail by avoiding it during wet weather.
For those looking to navigate this trail like a pro, the Latitude 40 Durango Trails map comes highly recommended.
To reach the starting point, drive north from Durango on highway 550 to Molas Pass. Take a left turn on 797 to Little Molas Lake trailhead. For those opting for a shuttle, leave a car in the large pullout north of the Cascade Creek bridge or at the Engineer Trail trailhead.
This ride is a crown jewel in Durango's biking scene. It's a challenging yet rewarding experience that combines high elevation, stunning vistas, and a descent that will leave you grinning from ear to ear. Prepare well, respect the trail conditions, and this could easily become your most memorable ride.