Colorado High Country
July 21 - 31, 2018
(11 days, 10 nights; Sat - Tue)Alternate Tour Dates
Includes all lodging, all breakfasts and dinners, van support, park entrance fees, leaders, tour maps and narratives.
Timberline van shuttle is included to Boulder from Denver prior to tour and to Denver following tour.
Not Included: Airline service to Denver International Airport; Guide Gratuity.
Airport 3 pm, Denver Hotel 3:30 pm, Boulder Hotel 4:30 pm
Denver 5 pm
A truly extraordinary eclectic adventure, the Colorado High Country Cycling Tour perhaps best expresses the magic that is Colorado. Along the way you will experience well known Colorado towns: the vibrancy of Boulder and the excitement of the ski towns of Steamboat, Vail and Breckenridge. You will cycle through the heart of the Rocky Mountain parks, along its canyons and over mountain passes: the serenity of Willow Creek; the solitude and expansive freedom of North Park, the magnificent Mount Zirkel Wilderness, Colorado River white water, breathtaking Glenwood Canyon and awesome, beyond-timberline Loveland Pass. And it all starts with the granddaddy of all alpine cycling experiences: the thrill of Trail Ridge Road through the majestic alpine grandeur of Rocky Mountain National Park. The Colorado High Country Cycling Tour is a Colorado classic to the core.
With the busy cyclist in mind, we have separated this tour into a short course and a long course. If you join the entire 11-day odyssey, we’ll ride 440 miles on some of Colorado’s best cycling roads; we’ll climb seven spectacular, named passes and a few additional hills you’ll argue deserve to be named. We’ll traverse Rocky Mountain National Park from its eastern gate to its western extremity. We’ll hike to magical Gilpin Lake in the Mt. Zirkel Wilderness north of Steamboat. And lest you believe that we care little about your creature comforts, we’ll enjoy the luxurious amenities of three of Colorado’s world-renowned ski resorts. The short course will cover 303 miles with a finishing night in world renowned Vail.
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. We’ll ride the beautiful Peak-to-Peak to Estes Park, where we’ll spend our first 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′) 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 with 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 final 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 Squaw 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.
|Day 1||Van shuttle, bike fitting and orientation|
|Day 2||Boulder - Allenspark - Estes Park||57|
|Day 3||Estes Park - Enter Rocky Mountain National Park - Trail Ridge Road—Milner Pass (10,560’) Grand Lake||47|
|Day 4||Grand Lake - Willow Creek Pass - North Park - Walden||71|
|Day 5||Walden-Muddy Pass- Rabbit Ears Pass - Steamboat Springs dafds||57|
|Day 6||Layover Day (hiking, cycling, hot springs)|
|Day 7||Steamboat Springs - Yampa - Wolcott - van shuttle available here, or on to Avon - Vail||71 - 90|
|Day 8||Layover Day (road and mountain biking, hiking, fishing, exploring)|
|Day 9||Vail – Vail Pass (10,666) - Copper Mountain - Breckenridge||36|
|Day 10||Breckenridge –Keystone-- Loveland Pass - Georgetown||39|
|Day 11||Georgetown - Idaho Springs-Echo Lake (Mt. Evans) - Squaw Pass - Bergen Park; van shuttle return to Boulder & Denver||43|
Total Distance: 303 or 440 miles
- Silver Moon Inn