Camping, Biking, Exploring: There Is Something For Everyone At Boggy Draw
by J James McTigue
What is Boggy Draw?
It sounds like a place Kermit the Frog lives. And, perhaps he does; but we didn’t find him. We did find ponds with leeches, horny toads, miles of mellow single track, and a few cacti stuck in the sole of our shoe.
We also didn’t find facilities. You have to bring your own water, pack out your trash and for the other: dig a hole; hold it; or pack it out.
Boggy Draw is essentially an open park of San Juan National Forest, situated about four miles above Dolores. The development is minimal: a trailhead, single-track and a dirt road to access sheltered alcoves among the Ponderosa pines — stellar for car camping.
Campers, vans, pop-ups—you can pull them all right in. On any given May weekend, virtual, little neighborhoods sprout up across the Draw as friends meet and set up weekend communes. Groups of adults take turns mountain biking, doing the good ol’fashioned, I’ll watch your kids then you can watch mine.
Kids run in packs from campers to tents, exploring all their new life-size forts. They “hike” (walk exceptionally slowly) to the “lake” (leech-filled bog), play with sticks, rake pine needles, sweep dust (always directly upwind from the adults sitting around the campfire), and basically run wild. No one bothers to wipe the dirt off their faces (it’ll be easier to throw them in the tub at home the next day), or argue with them to go to bed on time. It’s true car camping, complete with S’mores, canned beer and bad 80’s music from a transistor radio.
But the Draw’s real draw is the buttery single track, not to be found in a high alpine town like Telluride. It sits on a plateau so the trails don’t have to go straight up or straight down. They have choices, and miraculously go across. They meander, offering riders of all abilities a chance to play.
There are only four terms you need to know at the Draw: Mavericks, Beans, Boggy and Italian. These are the trail names. Then if you want to be super cool, you can start combining them. So instead of, “We did Bean Canyon” you get something like, “We did a Boggy, Bean, Boggy.” Add a "bros." at the end, and you’re in.
The signature Boggy experience can be had on any of the four trails — that is sections of winding single track, unobstructed by rock or root, made of soft dirt and topped with fallen pine needles. Add the plateau’s undulating grade, and you’ve got the perfect combination to let it rip. Biking here is analogous to surfing on a long board (at least how I imagine it) or skiing creamy powder (this I know).
Back at camp, the kids are happy and out of sight. One smart mom brought a DVD player and they’re all crowded into someone’s camper watching Shrek (say what you want, they’re having fun). Dusk is settling and the adults reminisce about their rides. Everyone can join in, because at Boggy, there is something for everyone.
What is Boggy Draw?
A heck of a good time.
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