Dakota Springs (Downtown Pagosa Springs)

  • Rating: technical and non-technical options (great for kids)

  • Distance: 2.5 miles

  • Elevation

    • Trailhead: 7,050 feet

    • Max: 7210 feet

    • Min: 7050 feet

    • Gain: 160 feet

  • Trailhead Directions 

  • Trail Map

  • Notes: Don't ride the trail if it's muddy. Park at Yamaguchi Park during the school year.  Restrooms are available at Yamaguchi Park

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Dakota Springs in Pagosa Springs

Dakota Springs in Pagosa Springs

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Dakota Springs in Pagosa Springs

Dakota Springs in Pagosa Springs

Dakota Springs in Pagosa Springs

Dakota Springs in Pagosa Springs

Trail Entrance

Trail Entrance

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Flowing My Mind

Completed in 2017, the Dakota Springs trail system diversified the downtown Pagosa Springs mountain biking experience.  The organization, DUST2 (Developing Urban Single Track and Teams), hired world-class trail builder, Tony Boone, to design and implement the 2.5-mile trail system.  The trail system is located behind Pagosa Springs High School on school district property.  The property sits on Dakota Sandstone and has 2 springs, which originated as oil exploration wells (thus Dakota Springs).  Apparently, the wells don't have oil, but they do have groundwater, which now flows to the surface sustaining wetlands below.  

Because the property sits on a boundary of two rock formations, there are two distinct riding conditions in one place. The Dakota Sandstone is exposed in the upper western portion of the property and provides a technical, slick rock-type experience, and the weathered Mancos Shale, occupying the valley bottom and eastern ridge, is dissected by a system of seasonal gullies, and offers smooth, undulating, flowy fun.  Once you ride the area, it will be obvious that the trail was designed by a professional.

To avoid any parking issues during the school day, it's best to park at Yamaguchi Park, which is adjacent to the high school athletic complex.  An unmarked access trail heads west off of 5th Street, around the high school baseball fields, crosses the "Bus Loop" road, and then heads northwest towards the main trail system.  There are two tires marking the trail entrance and exit (trails are directional).  Enter at the upper tire sign, which marks the start of Super D, which is a smooth, gradual quarter-mile climb to the 1st trail junction.  For instant fun, turn left onto Flowing My Mind, which is a half mile roller coaster that clings to the streambank.  This section is a hoot for adults and kids alike (one afternoon, my daughter, who was 5 at the time, rode this section 6 times in a row).  

If you keep right at the first junction, you'll continue ascending and cross the geologic boundary between the smooth Mancos Shale and the rocky Dakota Sandstone.  You'll also notice colorful shards of purple and blue antique glass, and other discarded objects, which reveal that the area was once a trash disposal site in the past.   After a half mile, there's another trail junction.  Left is the short, technical trail called School of Rock, which provides access to the upper section of the Flowing My Mind. 

If you stay right at the trail junction, the rocky trail follows the perimeter of the property to its high point, offering great views of the Southern San Juans.  The trail then descends a series of bedrock switchbacks and joins the lower quarter mile of Flowing My Mind.  This "outer loop" is 1.5 miles long.  When you reach the end, I guarantee you'll want to ride it all again!

 
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