Summertime Adventures

May 2003

The Long Road

Trip: Mountain bike from Telluride to Moab

Season: June to October Cost: $475

Information: San Juan Hut Systems 970-626-3033, www.sanjuanhuts.com

Since 1987, Joe Ryan, owner of San Juan Hut Systems, has offered a different take on the hut-to-hut trip. Forget about skis, this week-long, 210-mile trek is tackled on a mountain bike. From Telluride’s alpine peaks to Moab’s desert slick rock, the route follows old logging, mining, and ranching roads to reach each hut. With the huts spaced about 35 miles apart, participants must be in good physical condition (average elevation is 9,000 feet and one day’s elevation gain is 5,000 feet), but the route is accessible to riders of all abilities. Dirt roads are the primary route, but there is singletrack for more advanced riders along the way.

Riders are required to possess basic bike maintenance and repair know-how, as well as first aid and survival skills. There is no vehicle assistance so riders carry their own rain gear, bike clothes, tools, parts, and water. Huts are stocked with food, water, and sleeping bags and are equipped with bunks, propane stoves and lamps, and wood-burning stoves.

Average group size is about five but huts hold up to eight people. This trip has become so popular (some die-hards have completed the trip four times) that Ryan is booking trips for summer 2004. There is a possibility that another trip (Durango to Moab) will be added this summer but details and permits are still pending.