Priest Gulch / Upper Calico For Dirt Biking

The 76th most popular offroad motorcycle trail in Colorado.

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In the Dolores Ranger District, the Calico Trail System has 19 miles of routes open to dirt biking and mountain biking. This route was created in the 1930s to drive stock into the high country.

The Calico Trail is comprised of two sections, the Upper Calico Trail (#208) and Lower Calico Trail (#645/#649). The lower portion of the trail is accessed via the Priest Gulch Trailhead. The most northerly portion is referred to as the Upper Calico Trail. Beginning at the Calico Trailhead, the single-track trail makes its way over and around several peaks, as well as along fairly long stretches of narrow ridgelines. The view to the north includes 14,159-foot high El Diente Peak, which is within the Lizard Head Wilderness. The trail winds through a forest of spruce and fir forests, climbing at an average grade of 8% to 11,866-foot high Papoose Peak. The Upper Calico Trail terminates at the junction with Fall Creek Trail (640) and the lower portion of the Calico Trail (649). From this junction you can continue on to the Priest Gulch Trailhead via the Lower Calico Trail.

The Lower Calico Trail was originally designed as a stock drive into the high country; this trail was built through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. The trail begins by crossing Priest Gulch Creek via a trail bridge, and starts a fairly steep accent up a red-dirt ridge via many switchbacks. Before leveling out, it will be a steady climb for 1.4 miles through mixed ponderosa pine and aspen forest. The trail continues north past the junction with Priest Gulch Trail where it eventually meets up with the junction of West Fork Falls Creek #640 and the Upper Calico #208 trails. It is possible to do a 16-mile loop back to the Priest Gulch Trailhead by using the Priest Gulch and the Lower Calico Trails.


Northern Trailhead - Upper Calico Trail #208:

From Dolores on Highway 145, travel east for 43 miles, and take the West Fork Road (FDR 535) turnoff, which is almost directly across from the Cayton Campground Turnoff and approximately 6 miles north of Rico. Turn south on the Eagle Creek Road (FDR 471). The trailhead is approximately one mile down this road.

Southern Trailhead - Lower Calico Trail #649 and Priest Gulch #645:

From the town of Dolores, travel northeast for approximately 25 miles on Highway 145. The Priest Gulch trailhead is clearly marked on the north side of the highway; the turn is adjacent to a private driveway.

Note: Colorado residents must register their off-highway vehicle with the Colorado State Parks (303) 866-3437. Non-residents are not required to register in Colorado, if they are registered in their home states. All off-highway vehicles must have an approved muffler and spark arrester. These requirements are subject to change so make sure to contact the Colorado State Parks prior to using your off-highway vehicle.

Overall, Priest Gulch / Upper Calico is the 76th most popular dirt bike trail of all 90 dirt biking rides in Colorado. Several of the better dirt bike trails are nearby Priest Gulch / Upper Calico including Aspen Loop ATV Trail, Middle Mountain, Upper Calico Trail and Stoner Mesa Trail.


Local Contact(s):  San Juan National Forest (970) 882-7296; Durango Visitors (800) GO DURANGO; CO Visitors (800) COLORADO; Colorado Dirt Bike Adventures & Rentals (970) 879-3948

Best Season:  Jun. - Oct.

Base Camp:  Durango Hostel (970) 247-9905; Riverhouse B&B (800) 254-4775

Luxury Loding:  Dunton Hot Springs, Delores (970) 882-4800; Tamarron Resort; Strater Hotel (800) 247-4431

Breakfast Restaurant:  Durango Diner, Carvers Diner, Olde Tymers Cafe

Reference Source:  click here

Article Source:   Best Priest Gulch / Upper Calico Dirt Biking Review

GPS:  37.5853, -108.1625

Date Published:  1/1/2016

Date Updated:  6/24/2016

ID:  17618

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Priest Gulch / Upper Calico Dirt Biking Map

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