Mountain bikers love this classic single track, but it’s also one of the best trail runs to be found within 10 minutes of town. Winding through the 580 acres of open space within the Twin Buttes development, this trail system offers runners a multitude of routes and loops. The Twin Buttes to Cliffrock Loop is a 9-mile run that offers incredible views of Perins Peak, the Twin Buttes, Hogsback, and the town of Durango below. Because most of these trails were built with mountain bikers in mind, runners will find themselves sprinting down spiraling berms, jogging across open flats, and jaunting across numerous low, wooden bridges.
What Makes It Great
Simply put, this is a fast and fun run. From the parking lot off of US 160, the trail switchbacks up some 200 ft. of elevation before entering an extended series of berms. After 2-miles, stay right at the intersection of the Twin Buttes and Upper Twin Buttes trail to continue your climb through scrub oak and pine. After half a mile, take a right on the Cliffrock Loop.
This 2.5-mile loop has debatably the best views in town. As you circle the meadow, the Durango cityscape opens up to your right, and as you veer north, the sharp and sudden cliff face of Perins Peak appears with the rippling ridge of Hogsback below. The trail soon begins to turn back to the southwest with the Twin Buttes in the foreground. When the Cliffrock Loop intersects with the Upper Twin Buttes Trail, take a left to begin your descent back to the parking lot.
Or, if you want to extend your run, take a right and add another two miles to your day by continuing on the Upper Twin Buttes Trail to the Upper BC&F Trail which creates a loop around the Twin Buttes and will deposit you back at the intersection of the Cliffrock Loop.
Who is Going to Love It
This trail is not difficult technically, but it does demand quite a bit of climbing. Most acclimated runners and walkers can enjoy Twin Buttes at their own pace, taking in Durango’s famous “skyline.” If you’re new to town, this is a great opportunity to get a bird’s-eye view of the area and develop a good lay of the land.
As of February 2015, construction on the new housing and commercial development had yet to begin, leaving this scenic, wildlife area relatively untouched except for recreational activities.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Twin Buttes is located within minutes of downtown Durango. From College Ave., take a left onto US 550. Turn right onto US 160 shortly thereafter. In 1.7 miles, turn into the gravel parking lot behind the Giant gas station on your right. The trail begins its switchbacks directly from here.
Like Animas Mountain, the Twin Buttes open space is closed for seasonal wildlife habitat, generally between December 15th and April 15th. Check the BLM website for up-to-date information.
Because this trail is used predominantly by mountain bikers, be cautious in areas with limited line of sight.