FATMAP by Strava
Trail: Last Chance

Best Top-to-Bottom Runs in the Purgatory Bike Park

Durango's hometown bike park plays an integral role in the fabric of this fantastic mountain bike destination.

Mountain Biking Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Severe, Extreme

Trail: Last Chance
Trail: Last Chance Photo: Greg Heil


Durango reigns as one of the most diverse and expansive mountain bike destinations not just in Colorado, but all of North America. One facet of this incredible diversity is the downhill bike park at Purgatory Resort. While it's possible to build fantastic mountain bike trails in all sorts of unlikely locations, the infrastructure and vertical relief for a lift-assisted bike park is a massive resource that many mountain bike towns can't claim.

In that sense, the Purgatory Bike Park is a massive boon to not just the community of Durango but all of Southwest Colorado and the Four Corners region. The only other bike park in this corner of the state is found on Telluride Mountain, another two hours further away from most of the population in the Four Corners region.

However, on an objective level, the trails at Purgatory leave much to be desired. While yes, you can find a halfway decent top-to-bottom flow trail, several challenging tech trails, and one beginner "bike park" trail, both the quality and the quantity are wanting.

The aforementioned flow trail requires an unattractive connection across a dirt road in the middle of the mountain to connect two different segments, along with a rugged natural trail lower on the mountain—so it's hardly continuous. While the park claims to offer a beginner flow trail option as well, it's more accurate to think of the upper reaches of the beginner trail not as a bike park trail, but as an all-mountain trail that you happened to get a shuttle bump to the top, thanks to the lift.

The tech trails stand out due to their steepness, roughness, and natural flavor that you won't find in bike parks like Trestle, Steamboat, Snowmass, etc. etc. However, much of that roughness is due to erosion and lack of maintenance, with some of the steep lines continuing to wash out into barely-rideable trenches running straight down the fall line.

This may all sound quite negative, but the fact remains that the Purgatory Bike Park exists, which is so much better than not existing. While the seasonal bike park crews never seem to be big enough or have enough time (or funding) to take care of all the trails (and definitely not to build new trails), every year, they continue to hone the jumps, improve the features, and attempt to mitigate the annual erosion on the most popular trails.

Hats off to the builders who persevere even with limited funding and support, and hats off to Purgatory for continuing to provide this resource to local riders. While these trails might not draw mountain bikers from across the state or around the world in the same way that destinations like Trestle do, this local resource still plays a vital role in the grand fabric of the stupendous mountain bike destination that is Durango, Colorado.

Routes included

Related guidebooks