Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

Posted by Adam Howell

Twin Buttes trails review

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Twin Buttes has some new cross-country trails that are definitely worth experiencing if you are on foot, a bike, or a horse.

This Ed and Flo Trail runs through some majestic stands of scrub oak. Never thought I’d use the work majestic to describe such a prolific, almost invasive type of brush.

The newest addition to these trails, the Cliffrock Trail, was put in this month by Trails 2000, which connects new single track to and from the old BC&F railroad-grade road to make a decent-sized loop running directly south of Perins Peak.

The most recently constructed loop will be very close to a tie-in point with the trails on the western edge of the Test Tracks behind Hogsback.

These trails by Twin Buttes can be ridden by beginner to intermediate-level riders with minimal technical features to be wary of. They’re smooth, fast and have banking turns in many areas. The water diversion features are very effective, yet friendly and dynamic to ride or run across.

Among the more technical trails at Twin Buttes, are the first steep switchbacks on the

Building trail with a mini-excavator can get the job done faster than it would with hand tools, but leaves a bigger footprint on the land, as seen here. Decide for yourself what to think of this switch-backing Twin Buttes Trail heading up from the Giant gas station towards the base of the Twin Buttes.

climb out of the parking lot area at the bottom, the switchbacks leading up to the eastern Butte, and some huge banking turns here and there. Besides that, they are very easy trails to ride for beginners.

I think a general clockwise or counterclockwise direction of traffic could be reasonable here, although most people I saw up there were traveling counterclockwise.

Either way, the trails were completed for us trail users in an expedient fashion because Daryl Crites of Trails 2000 used a Bobcat mini excavator. Use of that equipment has its benefits and drawbacks. The machine leaves a bigger footprint due to the trampling of vegetation, tread marks and deep cuts in the hillside, but it gets the job done faster and moves some obstacles that we humans could not move otherwise.

Wildlife will continue to live on the property that the trail goes through.

Cool bridge made with ponderosa beams on the bottom.

Seasonal winter closures of the upper level trails will be in effect to protect wildlife during the same time period as closures happening on Animas Mountain and Grandview Ridge. The lower loops will not have seasonal closures, according to Trails 2000’s Daryl Crites.

“It is a public trail network that Trails 2000 designed and built in cooperation with the Twin Buttes Development (Eric Flora, The Pauls Family, along with their staff and consultants), and the City of Durango (especially Kevin Hall),” said Crites. “Twin Buttes has temporarily allowed trailhead parking and made parking lot improvements (at their own expense) on their private property next to the Giant gas station. There have been a lot of

This is the trail that you take from the BC&F railroad grade road to start the Cliffrock Trail. Basically you just cross the road and start this new section of trail.

people working on this for the last several years. A ton of work and effort goes into the planning and approval for a new ‘legal’ trail system.  Luckily with the coordination and dedication of all involved, our community will be able to reap the benefits of this great trail network and public access to the land in perpetuity. Much of this starts with the support Trails 2000 gets financially, and with volunteer work, and with the citizens and voters of our community that approved a tax for the purpose of purchasing open space. Thanks go out to our City Council who supports open space and public trails, and to Twin Buttes for making this happen.”

“I believe there will be a grand opening of the system in the next few weeks,” Crites said.

Some riders on the Cliffrock Trail.

Perins Peak from the eastern loop that’s called the Cliffrock Trail.

The Twin Buttes seen from Cliffrock Trail.

This is the view from the top of the switch backs by the eastern butte.

Here’s a scene from the Ed and Flo Trail, named for Ed And Florence Pauls, who donated much of the open space. This trail has banking turns.

This is a detailed map of all of the trails up and around Twin Buttes, excluding the one planned for the future that would connect with the back side of the Test Tracks behind Hogsback. Image courtesy of City of Durango’s Natural Lands, Trails and Sustainability Director Kevin Hall. Twin Buttes trail map–For printable PDF, click HERE

I’d recommend these fun trails to anyone.