San Juan Huts Tour 2020

I’ve already shared some photos and the gist of our trip on Instagram –– but here are even more images from our adventure (and some from Moab afterwards!) I’ve also included edited excerpts from my previous posts, too.

DAY ONE: Our Telluride to Moab adventure via the San Juan Huts was interrupted by an unexpected snowstorm — so we sadly had to shave two days off of our trip (although we relaxed at a beautiful ranch in the meantime.) We finally headed to the tiny town of Delta where we began our journey to the third hut, but Mother Nature had more surprises in store for us … so our beautiful 35+ mile ride turned into a freezing cold slog with rain, hail and more rain.

The crew rolled ahead as I dropped back due to fatigue and hot spots in my shoes (I actually switched to sandals at one point to get relief!), but they dispatched a friendly local and his pickup truck who rescued me.

After backtracking a bit due to a wrong turn, a determined search in the dark for our lodgings and a frantic search for the key — we were so relieved to hunker down in the cozy wooden hut. A warm stove, hot soup and tea and big bowls of mac n’ cheese brought us back to life.

DAY TWO: We woke up to clear skies and sunshine — hurray! — and more breathtaking views awaited us as we pedaled past aspens and snow drifts in the forest. Eric and Nick opted to try out an alternate trail along our route (which unluckily turned into a long hike-a-bike trek through thick mud), while Kim, Roland and myself continued onwards and hit up some sweet singletrack closer to the next hut (but we did a bit of pushbiking, too.) After reuniting hours later at the hut, we relaxed with cold beers and tidied up with luxuriously hot showers provided by a nearby ranch.

DAY THREE: A shorter yet picturesque day with not too much climbing; we descended all the way down from the snowy mountains to the dusty desert town of Gateway. Gorgeous views greeted us at every turn … so we kept stopping to take photos as we made our way down to the river valley. (This was also our favorite hut, with lovely views of the towering mesa in the distance; a refreshing swim spot; a cozy porch for stargazing and the best compost toilet.)

DAY FOUR: Up, up, up the John Brown Trail — a hot, interminably long and steep climb through uranium mine country that crushed my spirit at times — but the verdant beauty of the alpine valley refreshed my soul.

DAY FIVE: Even more challenging road climbs today — and with my full suspension mountain bike loaded with lots of gear and tired, tired legs — I couldn’t wait to get to the summit. We made a quick pit stop to check out some dinosaur footprints, then continued our slow grind upwards.

But at long last, we arrived at “The Whole Enchilada” trail system (for us, it was about 3/4 of it) and close to 7000 ft. of descending. It includes the super fun Porcupine Rim Trail and bombing down swoopy soft singletrack then sticky red rocks was a blast — even though we had to hike some tricky sections. We’ll have to come back when we’re not toting so much luggage!

A huge thank you to Kim and Roland for inviting us along on their San Juan Huts adventure from Telluride to Moab! We survived the surprises in our schedule (due to the wild weather) and the long days in the saddle through lots of laughs, games and stories, delicious food and good vibes. And cheers to Nick for his most excellent chipper company and to Eric for bringing the stoke — especially when my energy reserves were hitting empty.

Click images to enlarge