Flaming hues of fall close to Durango

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Flaming hues of fall close to Durango

Splendor of Dry Gulch Trail and Dry Fork Loop
Gambel oaks cloaked in the fiery flaming hues of fall contrast with the deep forest green of ponderosa pines on the Dry Fork Loop.
The Dry Gulch Trail is the blue-line route. Walk northwest from the trailhead in Rockridge and turn around upon reaching the Dry Fork Road. The Dry Fork Loop is the black-line route. Hike northwest on the Dry Fork Trail and turn right on Hoffeins Connection. At the junction with the Colorado Trail, do the short spur to Gudy’s Rest and then walk west. Return southeast on the Dry Fork Trail.

Flaming hues of fall close to Durango

Gambel oaks cloaked in the fiery flaming hues of fall contrast with the deep forest green of ponderosa pines on the Dry Fork Loop.
The Dry Gulch Trail is the blue-line route. Walk northwest from the trailhead in Rockridge and turn around upon reaching the Dry Fork Road. The Dry Fork Loop is the black-line route. Hike northwest on the Dry Fork Trail and turn right on Hoffeins Connection. At the junction with the Colorado Trail, do the short spur to Gudy’s Rest and then walk west. Return southeast on the Dry Fork Trail.
Travel basics

Dry Gulch Trail

Travel to Dry Gulch Trailhead in Rockridge: From Main Avenue and 25th Street, go west. Pass Miller Middle School and, in two blocks, turn left on Clovis Drive. Go up the hill and enter Rockridge. Drive just under a mile and turn right on Tanglewood Drive. Cross a small bridge and take an immediate left. The parking area is on the right.

Distance and Elevation Gain Roundtrip: 8 miles; 1,250 feet of climbing

Total Time: 3 to 4½ hours

Difficulty for both hikes: Trail; navigation easy; no exposure

Winter Closure, Dec. 1 through July 31: The Dry Gulch Trail is open for only four months of the year, August through November, because it is in the Perins Peak State Wildlife Area, managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Public access is prohibited during the closure period to protect wintering big game and spring-nesting peregrine falcons. No motorized vehicles or mountain bikes. Dogs must be on leash.

Dry Fork Loop

Travel to Dry Fork Loop Trailhead: Start measuring from the U.S. Highway 550/160 intersection in Durango. Travel 3.3 miles on U.S. 160 West and turn right on Lightner Creek Road, La Plata County Road 207. At 4.3 miles, turn right onto Dry Fork Road, County Road 208, a graded dirt road suitable for all vehicles. Take the right fork at 6.3 miles. At 7.1 miles, a sign for Hoffeins Connection Trail directs left into a large dirt lot.

Distance and Elevation: 9.1 miles, 1,500 feet of elevation gain

Total Time: 3 to 5 hours

Winter Closure: Dec. 1 through April 15

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