High alpine terrain, cool aspen forests and ponderosa forest - this trail has it all spanning 23.5 miles between 8,000' to 12,000' and multiple ecosystems.
The Mancos Spur Trail is perhaps the premier trail of the Mancos Valley, rising a mile above the town of Mancos. Beginning at nearby Mancos State Park just above the town, it continues for 23.5 miles up to 12,000' in the High La Plata mountains, where it connects with the Colorado Trail.
You can start hiking or biking in Mancos, and walk all the way to Durango or Denver! (Or even to Canada or Mexico, if you connect to the Continental Divide Trail.) The Spur was actually part of the Colorado Trail as it was originally conceived in the 1990s and is shown on original maps of the CT. If you're planning on a through-hike or ride of the CT, consider the Mancos Spur as an alternate ending to your trail. Or, if you're looking for a shorter trip, consider a through-hike option of the Spur itself: Mancos to Durango is about 50 miles or you can do the round-trip for an even 100.
The Mancos Spur Trail supports multiple uses including hiking, backpacking, trail running, mountain biking, horseback riding and in the winter, snowshoeing. A few sections of the Spur allow two-wheel motorized uses, and one short segment is open to ATVs (and connects to the larger Aspen Loop ATV trail.)
Shuttle options are great way to enjoy the Spur. With five different trailheads (some of which require high-clearance and/or 4WD vehicles to access) and several other nearby access points, you can put together a shuttle-assisted trip of almost any length or difficulty.
One great hiking or mountain bike option is to shuttle to the Sharkstooth Trailhead at 11,000' and ride back to Mancos, a descent of 4,000 feet! Be warned, though, that this is not an easy downhill cruise - it's quite technical and has some very steep sections. If you are lucky enough to have a shuttle driver who likes to hike, you can entice them with an incredible hike to Sharkstooth Pass
from the trailhead. Then they can meet you in town for a cool beverage or a great meal at one of Mancos' eateries.
For shorter trips, an out-and-back hike or bike ride is ideal. With so many access points available, there's an out-and-back hike or ride for all ability levels, at all elevations from aspen and ponderosa up to high alpine tundra.