Colorado High Country assembles in Boulder, home of the University of Colorado and training base of many of the world’s top competitive cyclists and runners. We’ll get a taste of one of Boulder’s great training rides on Day 2 as we climb through South St. Vrain Canyon from Lyons to its junction with Peak-to-Peak Highway near Allenspark. We’ll ride the beautiful Peak-to-Peak to Estes Park, where we’ll spend our next evening. Rocky Mountain Park and Trail Ridge Road will command our attention for much of Day 3. We believe that Trail Ridge reigns as the premier alpine experience in North America. From the summit of Trail Ridge, at 12,183 feet, we actually descend well over 1,000 feet to reach the Continental Divide at Milner Pass (10,756′). We’ll continue on to Grand Lake and a night at the Gateway Lodge. On Day 4 we head into the remote reaches of North Park with a mellow ride over gentle Willow Creek Pass (9,683′).
Following an overnight in Walden, Day 5 will have a gentle climb to Muddy Pass (8,722′), and perhaps not so gentle to the Continental Divide atop Rabbit Ears (9,426′), before descending into the Yampa Valley and Steamboat Springs. We’ll spend the next two evenings in Steamboat Springs, with its inviting pool and quiet setting near the slopes of Mt. Werner.
Day 6 is a layover day and there will be options of a road ride, a hot springs trip or some hiking in the beautiful Mount Zirkel Wilderness. The hiking destination is Gilpin Lake, an 8-mile round-trip hike, with a stop for a soak in the natural hot springs at Strawberry Park on our way back to Steamboat.
Day 7 promises to be our most challenging. We’ll trace the course of the Yampa south of Steamboat through an area that poignantly expresses the vast, rugged expanse that is Colorado. If you are anxious to get to the hot tub and happy hour in Vail, a van shuttle will be available in Wolcott to take you the last 20 miles. Then we will get to enjoy a fabulous dinner and evening in the famous ski town of Vail. We will enjoy a second layover day in Vail with exciting hiking, road and mountain cycling, or even shopping options.
It’s back on the bikes on Day 9 when we’ll ride the off-road paved trails to the Continental Divide at Vail Pass (10,666′), down to Copper Mountain, and on to Breckenridge. We’ll arrive in Breckenridge early-afternoon with ample opportunity to explore this lively resort community. The adventure continues on Day 10, past Keystone Resort and a final visit to the Continental Divide atop Loveland Pass (11,992′). The road to Loveland’s summit, virtually abandoned by motor vehicle traffic thanks to I-70 and the Eisenhower Tunnel, is a cyclist’s fantasy. It’s downhill to Georgetown from Loveland’s above-timberline summit for our final evening in this quaint 19th-century Victorian village.
Our descent along Clear Creek continues early on our final day, but we can’t resist one more adventure. Just up the road from Idaho Springs, lurks mighty Mt. Evans (14,260′). Our route continues on its flanks to the beautiful Echo Lake at about 10,000′, cresting at Mestaa’Ėhehe Pass, and then it is downhill all the way to Bergen Park, where we’ll call it a tour and van shuttle back to Denver.