This out-and-back gravel ride takes you through beautiful Mancos Canyon south of Cortez. Take Mancos Canyon Road off Hwy 491/Hwy 160 for 17.9 miles and turn around at Johnson Canyon Road. Look for Chimney Rock on your right as you start down Mancos Canyon Road.

The Mancos Valley is surrounded by the La Plata Mountains on one side, and the spectacular cliffs of Mesa Verde on the other. You’ll follow the Mancos River for much of the ride.

A few miles north is Jackson Gulch Reservoir (fishing), Mancos State Park (mountain biking), and Chicken Creek Cross-country Ski Area (also good for snowshoeing).

(57.61 km)


Skill Level


Elevation gain

Travel Tips

  • Park at the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park Visitor Center at the intersection of Hwy 491 and 160 in Towaoc on the west end.
  • The Visitor Center has restrooms and is generally open April through September.
  • Access the ride from the east end off Johnson Canyon Road, which connects to Hwy 160 near the cherry creek area.
  • Plan ahead if you want to explore the Visitor Center and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park as a guide is required.
  • The Ute Mountain reservation is a sovereign nation, they ask that visitors please respectfully accept their ways of life and cultural beliefs.


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