Ben’s Down N Out Trail
Part of the Horse Gulch Trails system.
Ben’s Down n’ Out Trail is a 0.46-mile difficult connector trail between Raider Ridge (between Extended Ridge and Hyper Extended Ridge) and Horse Gulch Road. In July 2020, Durango Trails rebuilt the trail and renamed it “Ben’s Down N Out” in honor of professional cyclist Ben Sonntag, who would have turned 40 on July 30, 2020. Read more about Ben’s lasting trail legacy here.
The Horse Gulch Trail System is the perfect trail system for all levels and user types. It accommodates beginners or advanced riders, short rides, long rides, and more. You can start this trail any time of day. It gets dark around 7-8 p.m., depending on the time of year, so you’ll want to be done by then. In summer, these trails are mighty hot so bring plenty of water. Remember, the climb up Horse Gulch Road is the hardest part for beginners, once you arrive at the signed intersection at Meadow trail, you are greeted with 360 degree views and wide open space vistas. This intersection also provides a variety of trail options throughout the system.
History of the area: Daryl Crites, a Durango native, then president of Goff Engineering and longtime Durango Trails board member, kicked off the preservation of the Horse Gulch area. In the early 1990s, he approached Noel Pautsky, the owner of the vast area east of Durango, about preserving its many trails with permanent easements. Pautsky agreed, and Crites went to work surveying all of the trails, including Crites Connect, Telegraph and Anasazi Descent. Pautsky eventually gifted the easements to La Plata County. That initial partnership laid the groundwork for a series of recent open space purchases in Horse Gulch by the City of Durango. In addition, Durango Trails facilitated an easement opening legal access to Raider Ridge in 2009. The acquisitions have promised that the trail network and the pristine high desert surrounding it will be preserved for perpetuity and enjoyed by Durangoans and visitors for generations to come.
Map & Directions
Map Coordinates: 37.277223, -107.848599
Where's the Trailhead?
dIRECTIONS TO TRAILHEAD
From 9th Street and Main Avenue in Durango, head east on 9th Street toward Fort Lewis College Mesa. Take a right on East 3rd Avenue, and a left onto College Drive (6th Street). Take a right on East 8th Avenue and a left on East 3rd Street. Behind the Mercy Medicine parking lot is a trailhead and parking area for Horse Gulch Trail System.
help build our trails!
Join us for trail maintenance on Animas Mountain on October 5th from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Please note, registration is required to join us for Trailwork; please click below to register.