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For decades, Colorado’s challenging Rocky Mountain climbs, desert canyon trails, and rolling plains have made it a playground for cyclists. Even before the 2015 decision to invest heavily in bike infrastructure, both residents and visitors had easy access to more than 5,000 miles of trails.
Nowadays it’s known as one of the best bike spots in the country, with some of the top-rated bicycle communities (according to the League of American Bicyclists) in addition to all those great trails.
It’s hard to get a greater deal than touring a Colorado road bike! The views are as varied as they are stunningly beautiful. You will pedal across high alpine mountains with wide-open views and down into desert canyons, past mountains, and stunning peaks. You’re even going to pedal across the mainland divide (with one heck downhill)!
The North Carolina-based company known for its multi-week bike expeditions has bundled three of its popular Colorado itineraries into an epic 26-day trip that covers some of the most popular cycling destinations in the Centennial State. Guests will drive 1,258 miles through western Colorado, exploring the Gunnison National Park Black Canyon, the Palisade Wine Country, the Colorado National Monument, the Aspen High Country, and more.
The trip is broken into four roughly week-long segments, and while the bragging rights come with the completion of all four, you can also choose to join for just one or two individual weeks instead.
The Loops of the San Juan Mountains
The first segment loops through southwest Colorado’s remote, rocky the San Juan Mountains, in and around the bike-obsessed towns of Ridgway, Ouray, Durango, and Cortez. You’ll tackle some of Colorado’s highest and most challenging passes, including Lizard Head Pass, Red Mountain Pass, Molas Pass, and Coal Bank Pass. It’s a glute-buster—expect about 28,484 feet of climbing during this week.
The second segment of the ride starts at Glenwood Springs on the western slopes of the Rockies and winds through some of the country’s most scenic and well-known destinations. You will pedal between the red canyon walls of the Colorado National Monument, past the fruit orchards and vineyards of the Palisade Wine Country, along the rivers and gorges of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, and through the forests of Grand Mesa.
The Aspen High Country
The third segment of the trip explores the Aspen High Country, its mountain towns, its glacial valleys, and its vertical landscapes. Trace the trails through the well-photographed Maroon Bells and the White River National Forest, and enjoy the green versions of the views that skiers enjoy every winter. You will also stop and enjoy the beloved ski resorts of Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Leadville, and Frisco.
The Summit Country
The final leg of the tour is the most relaxing one. The group will remain in and around Summit County in the center of the state for four days. Here you can choose your speed: keep pushing up the high country mountain passes or opt for shorter routes to cool down and enjoy the scenery. Or you could choose to enjoy a variety of noncycling options in a variety of terrains, such as fly-fishing, kayaking, or hiking.
Final Verdict on Colorado Bike Touring
When it comes to epic rides, this isn’t the first rodeo of Cycle of Life Adventures. The company runs 45-day cross-country tours on a regular basis, as well as short and long trips across the country and in particular, the East Coast, Texas Hill Country, and of course, the Rockies. The guides on this epic Colorado trip have 45 years of the cycling experience on the routes that the groups follow. In conclusion, if you ever decide to ride through Colorado’s beauties, the North-Carolina company is what you should pick to have one of the greatest experiences of your life.