Analysing terrain data
The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
The Colorado Trail (COT) is widely regarded as one of the very best long distance mountain bike trails in the world.
Running for 535 miles between Denver and Durango, the trail crosses high alpine mountain passes and drops into beautiful valleys as it traverses the most beautiful portions of the state of Colorado.
The COT forms one third of the Triple Crown of Bikepacking, along with the Arizona Trail and the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Out of the entire Colorado Trail, arguably the most highly-acclaimed portion is the long stretch running from the town of Silverton to the southern terminus of the trail in Durango.
While not technically the highest-elevation portion of the trail, nevertheless this sections stays very high up in the San Juan Mountain Range.
All along this stretch the views of the surrounding jagged mountains are incredible, the singletrack is narrow and sinuous, and there’s nary a sign of civilization.
Indeed, between departing the town of Silverton and entering the town, of Durango, the only sign of human life is the occasional dirt road crossing.
Plan accordingly and pack all the gear you’ll need. The first segment of the Silverton to Durango stretch runs from Molas Pass to Engineer Mountain.
The summit of Engineer Mountain towers over this entire region, rising to an elevation of 13,218 feet.
While that might not sound like a lot compared to Colorado’s numerous 14ers, this mountain is still impressive!