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Ridenfool

Cortez CO - 15 Hour drive from Austin

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https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Austin,+TX/Cortez,+Colorado+81321/@33.7902941,-105.1643453,7z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x8644b599a0cc032f:0x5d9b464bd469d57a!2m2!1d-97.7430608!2d30.267153!1m5!1m1!1s0x87396f97719cc121:0x5ab0790925832f47!2m2!1d-108.5859265!2d37.3488827

https://www.mtbproject.com/directory/8013812/cortez

 

The combination of Cortez, Delores, and Mancos offer a variety of trails and altitudes to choose from. Other nearby attractions include Mesa Verde National Park and Canyon of the Ancients National Monument (which has MTB trails and FS roads from which some of the historic sites can be accessed)

Phil's World is a really fun trail that is now being expanded significantly.

Lots of good eats and drinks in town.

Durango is about an hour East with more fun to be had. A visit to Ska Brewery in Durango is a pleasant diversion, my fave is their Steel Toe Milk Stout.

Edited by Ridenfool
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Posted (edited)

While in Cortez, I had lunch and brews a few times at the Main Street Brewery and Restaurant.  Also visited the Kokopelli Bike & Board store.  Both excellent establishments!

Edited by AustinBikepacker
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Posted (edited)

Cortez is developing a nice little townie trail system on the north side of town called Geer Natural Area;  I think it connects to other trails and the city has swapped some property on the west side to add another trailhead.  You can get 9 miles of trail out of it. I have't ridden it but it sounds like the Cortez version of Walnut Creek.

Geer Natural Area

There's also an eccentric little bike shop in Dolores called Lizard Head Cyclery.  It's a solo proprietor shop, where he tunes skis in winter and does bikes (builds them, repairs them, sells them and races them - road and mountain) in the summer, adores his two cats (who are always in the shop) and really, really likes guns and target shooting. 

Edited by June Bug

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Posted (edited)

Last time out I rode Geer the evening I got to Cortez. It was a flowy trail with enough elevation change to keep things interesting. Barren landscape, so not all that pretty. More than a 1/4 notch below Walnut for overall fun factor. :classic_rolleyes: If I lived there it would be an easy way to get in some quick miles without going out to Phil's World or up to Dolores.

Osprey packs headquarters is a street or two over to the West of the main trailhead at the North end. There is another access point at the South end.

Edited by Ridenfool
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Yes, that sounds right.  Geer Trails are out in the sage brush.  Awhile back a guy named Keith Evans bought 40 acres in that area and developed his own trail system on it. I *think* those trails connect to the Geer Trails. Will check it out when we are out that way this summer. 

Back in the day, Edward Abbey referred to Cortez as the "Shit head capital of Dipshit County, Colorado" as in extremely retrograde rather than progressive.  There's still that element for sure, but Cortez has always been a tourist town (Mesa Verde National Park!) and they are now working hard to emphasize the recreational aspects of their location, especially mountain biking.  

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7 hours ago, June Bug said:

Back in the day, Edward Abbey referred to Cortez as the "Shit head capital of Dipshit County, Colorado" as in extremely retrograde rather than progressive.  There's still that element for sure, but Cortez has always been a tourist town (Mesa Verde National Park!) and they are now working hard to emphasize the recreational aspects of their location, especially mountain biking.  

So, it would be safe to say this probably wasn't the sort of place where 'Hayduke Lives' then? :classic_wink:

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21 minutes ago, Ridenfool said:

So, it would be safe to say this probably wasn't the sort of place where 'Hayduke Lives' then? :classic_wink:

I'd say "lots of cowbell" but it's still Colorado. 

 

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No Hayduke back then!  Times are a changin', though and Cortez seems a little more prosperous.  Make no mistake, though, there are definitely some retrograde and Sovereign Citizen types still around, although many new people are moving in.  

My sense is that Dolores/Mancos/Cortez are in the process of being "discovered".  When I left 20 years ago, the Californians were moving in here and there.  Now it's retirees and younger people who can't afford Durango. 

All these communities are really pushing the mountain biking angle. For towns that depend on tourism, getting people to stay over for one more night, or any night, is a very big deal. 

Although just in the initial stages, there is a plan or a pedestrian/bike path from Cortez to the entrance to Mesa Verde NP on the south side of the highway,  which would also provide access to Phil's World and the fair grounds.  

Recreational opportunities are amazing, there's a lake (McPhee Reservoir) and a golf course and housing prices, although high, are not yet stratospheric.  It's nice for year around, because you can zip up into the mountains in the summer, and down into some amazing red rock country in McElmo Canyon just west of Cortez when it's on the cool side. 

I lived there for many years and was never clear on how the majority of people supported themselves.  A surprising number of people commuted to Durango and Shiprock/Farmington for their jobs and I'm sure still do.  

There's no great internet, no diversified economy and it's prone to economic depression, but so beautiful. 

 

Edited by June Bug
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