Desert & Mountains

It’s summertime, and Mancos temps are in the 80s. It’ll get hotter in August for a week or two. But at Scullbinder Ranch we’re blessed with cool nights thanks to the Mancos River a 100 feet from the house. And up in the La Platas, temps are 10 to 20 degrees cooler, depending on how high you go.

We love our small town for its unique, varied terrain. It lies on a forest/desert interface at 7000′, with the still snowy San Juans to the north and the desert to the west and south.

In the summer, we head higher up into the mountains for both our guided and personal bike and bike-boat courses. We don’t currently have any bikepacking or bikerafting trips in the La Platas on the books. But if you’re interested, we can schedule privates for 2+ people.

scullbinder ranch river2

Summer Fun Bikerafting!

We do, however, have a refreshing summer fun bikerafting adventure on McPhee Reservoir (pictured right) August 9-11. This moderately strenuous course includes plenty of swimming and some fine single track riding. We just wrapped up a fun women’s bikerafting course this past weekend. Check out some video clips from that adventure on our Instagram page.  Or watch the fun video we put together a few years ago for inspiration 😉

The Animas Is Always Good

And if you’re wanting to learn to packraft, the Animas River, specifically around Durango’s awesome kayak play park, offers perfect terrain for boaters of any level to learn and practice new skills.

jeff creamer's swiftwater safety course in august

New Swiftwater Cert Course Now Scheduled!!

We’ve got a third Swiftwater Safety Institute certification course with our advanced paddling instructor, Jeff Creamer, scheduled August 2-4.

Please note this course is not on the schedule yet! We’re giving first dibs to our clients. So send us a message asap to grab your spot. We’ll make the course live on Monday.

We’ve also still got a couple spots left on our Learn to Packraft Course July 6th-7th with head guide, Thad Ferrell. 

so what Are We Up To This Summer now that busy season is over?

Well, aside from the few courses we’re running (see our schedule page), we’ve got some adventures planned. He is heading off after teaching his final Level 2 course this weekend to packraft the Little Nahanni River and then climb the Lotus Flower Tower in Canada’s Northwest Territories. He’ll be out of touch for three weeks. Fingers crossed he gets great weather!

Scullbinder Ranch Landscaping!

Lizzy’s adventure this summer is holding down the fort at Scullbinder Ranch, planning the next stage of our landscaping projects. Our goal with this 35 acres is to return it to as close to its original mixture of plants and grasses as possible over the next few decades. As well, around the house we’ll be planting huge bee, butterfly and hummingbird gardens with mostly drought-tolerant and local plants.
Scullbinder Ranch lies at the conjunction of two canyons, Weber Canyon and the Mancos River Valley. As such, people, animals and, our favorite, birds have been migrating through these canyons for thousands of years. In fact, 800 years ago, there were 80,000 people living in this area, more than the 25,000 that live here now! They lived in thousands of ruins that still lie in the cliffs, valleys and plateaus of Mesa Verde National Park and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park. It’s truly a fantastic place to call home. And we aim to make it even more hospitable to the birds and animals who want to reside alongside us.

A Final Note: Visit the Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park With Us!

If you want to explore Scullbinder Ranch and the surrounding extraordinary parks, we recommend you check out our Ute Mountain Ute Bikepacking Adventures. We have one scheduled October 3-6 (starting late afternoon on the 3rd). And we already have one spring trip on the books, April 24-27, 2025. The Tribe recently gave us permission to explore a wide variety of canyons via bicycle, along with the hundreds of ruins dotting those canyon walls. Check out photos from the Tribal Park! 

Happy summer y’all!

Best from Lizzy & Doom