With a healthy college population and a generally mild climate, Durango is extremely bike friendly and a popular destination for single-track enthusiasts. Many locals consider bikes to be their main form of transportation. The bike lobby is active, the trail system is well developed, and mountain biking is a particularly popular recreational activity.
Animas River Trail. Thanks to recent upgrades linking the northern and southern sections of the trail, this 7-mile concrete path parallels the river from Animas City Park south to Dallabretta Park in one smooth stroke. It's the main artery, linking up with several of the town's other trail systems. Durango, CO.
Hermosa Creek Trail. This single-track trail travels roughly 19 miles from Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort to the town of Hermosa. It's an intermediate-to-difficult ride with a couple of steep spots and switchbacks along with mellow rolls through open meadows and towering aspen and pine forests. The trail hugs the steep riverbank at a few places and there are a few creek crossings, so you shouldn't try it too early in the season, while the snow is still melting (the water can be waist-high in the spring and early summer). To minimize the fight against gravity, you can leave your car at the lower trailhead and catch a shuttle to the top—even so, there will still be plenty of climbing. Trailhead 2 miles from Purgatory's upper parking lots, Durango, CO, 81301.
Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. Every Memorial Day weekend, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic pits cyclists against the steam engine of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The 47-mile course roughly parallels the tracks from Durango to Silverton (although the train actually follows a shorter, easier route). The event, one of the biggest bike races in the United States, draws more than 2,000 competitors. College Ave. and Camino del Rio, Durango, CO. 970/259–4621. www.ironhorsebicycleclassic.com.
Mountain Bike Specialists. Although everybody in town seems to be an expert, the staff at this shop can rent you a bike, help arrange a tour, or just give you directions to the trail of your dreams. It also does expert repairs. 949 Main Ave., Durango, CO, 81301. 970/247–4066. www.mountainbikespecialists.com. Mon.–Sat. 9–6.
Jean-Pierre Bakery and Café. For a little taste of France, stop by this cheery café in a 19th-century brick building in the historic downtown district. Try the fresh-baked breads, pastries, croissants, or the specialty butter gallettes impressed with the image of the Silverton and Durango Railroad. The Jean-Pierre also has an adjacent wine bar. 601 Main Ave., Durango, CO, 81301. 970/247–7700. www.jeanpierrebakery.com.
James Ranch. For a delicious summer detour, head 10 miles north of town to James Ranch. There you'll find a pleasant organic farm, with an outdoor grill that features homemade cheeses and home-grown meats and produce. The menu keeps things simple, featuring a short list of burgers, brats, sandwiches, and salads. Gluten-free options are available upon request. Savor your meal picnic-style overlooking a lovely lake (there's no indoor seating). In summer, ranch tours are offered for $18. 33846 US Highway 550, Durango, CO, 81301. 970/676–1023. jamesranch.net. Closed Sun., late May–Oct.; Closed Mon.–Fri., Nov–mid-May.