A roundup of hiking Durango’s Raider Ridge

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A roundup of hiking Durango’s Raider Ridge

A world-class trail system
Lynn Coburn takes in the view of the Animas River Valley, Animas City Mountain and the La Plata range from the highpoint of Raider Ridge off Smokejumper Trail. Suspended rimrocks thrust into open air.
Courtesy of Debra Van Winegarden

Smokejumper Trail was built by Trails 2000 and a host of volunteers in autumn of 2017 to honor Durango native Joseph Philpott.
It is five ridgetop miles from the southern end of Raider Ridge to Point 7,954’ on the Smokejumper Trail. The loop returns on the Sugar Trail to Horse Gulch Road. The thru-hike leaves the ridge on the Skyline Trail and descends west to the Skyridge Trailhead. Shorten your hike by taking advantage of one of several lateral trails.
Travel basics

Travel to Horse Gulch Trailhead: From East 8th Avenue, turn east on 3rd Street. Park in the designated lot on the right.


Travel to Skyridge Trailhead: From Goeglein Gulch Road, turn east on Jenkins Ranch Road and drive 1.3 miles to the trailhead on the right.


Distance and Elevation Gain: The loop and spur to the Raider highpoint is 9.7 miles with 1,700 feet of elevation gain. The thru-hike to Skyridge, including the spur, has the same vertical but is only 7.5 miles.


Time: The loop will take 4 hours, 30 minutes to 6:30. The thru-hike is an hour shorter.


Difficulty: Trail; no exposure; navigation moderate. Sign posts have been installed; Trails 2000 is in the process of creating directional maps. Please stay on established trails.


Maps: Durango East, Colorado 7.5 USGS Quad or Apogee Mapping; www.trails2000.org/maps

A roundup of hiking Durango’s Raider Ridge

Lynn Coburn takes in the view of the Animas River Valley, Animas City Mountain and the La Plata range from the highpoint of Raider Ridge off Smokejumper Trail. Suspended rimrocks thrust into open air.
Courtesy of Debra Van Winegarden

Smokejumper Trail was built by Trails 2000 and a host of volunteers in autumn of 2017 to honor Durango native Joseph Philpott.
It is five ridgetop miles from the southern end of Raider Ridge to Point 7,954’ on the Smokejumper Trail. The loop returns on the Sugar Trail to Horse Gulch Road. The thru-hike leaves the ridge on the Skyline Trail and descends west to the Skyridge Trailhead. Shorten your hike by taking advantage of one of several lateral trails.

A roundup of hiking Durango’s Raider Ridge

Jackson Lacek is hucking down Medicine at 20 mph about to go airborne. Momentum is necessary for survival.

A roundup of hiking Durango’s Raider Ridge

Courtesy of Debra Van Winegarden

As seen from Smelter Mountain, Raider Ridge runs the length of Durango forming a natural boundary on the east.

A roundup of hiking Durango’s Raider Ridge

Courtesy of Debra Van Winegarden

Chris Blackshear walks on a rocky flange on the Smokejumper Trail.

A roundup of hiking Durango’s Raider Ridge

Courtesy of Debra Van Winegarden

The most popular viewing platform on Raider Ridge is Point 7,897’ just south of Skyline Trail. Capstones flare into the sky.
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