Weekend Cycling Getaway: Aspen
September 6 - 8, 2019
(3 days, 2 nights; Fri - Sun)Alternate Tour Dates
Includes all lodging, breakfasts and dinners, bicycle rental, van shuttles, support van, leaders, tour maps and narratives.
Timberline van shuttle is included between Grand Juncction and Glenwood Springs prior to tour and from Somerset to Grand Junction following tour.
Not included: Airline or rail service to Grand Junction Regional Airport; Guide Gratuity.
Grand Junction 8:00am; Glenwood Springs 10:00am
Grand Junction 5:00 pm
With winding mountain roads, high-alpine passes, serene valleys and eye-popping views of peaks and wildflowers, Aspen is a Mecca for road cyclists. Our quick weekend getaway will combine paved recreation paths, off route canyon roads and a high but gentle mountain pass to give you an excellent taste of what cycling is like in the heart of the Colorado Rockies. Combine that with bicycle rental and a stay in an acclaimed resort town full of the rich and famous and you’ve got a true vacation package that takes barely more than a weekend from your calendar.
We will meet in Grand Junction and van transfer to Glenwood Springs, a western slope town at the mouth of Glenwood Canyon, known for its hot springs and a multitude of recreational activities. We’ll hop on our bikes and ride the Rio Grande Trail into Aspen. The trail follows the course of the Roaring Fork River, nestled between the river and the road, all the way to Carbondale. From there the trail heads east and continues to gently climb to the end of the valley that houses four world class ski areas, and the ritzy town of Aspen. (42 miles; 2500 ft elevation gain) Our home base for two nights will be at the classic Aspen Mountain Lodge, a cozy lodge with an on-the-mountain feel.
Our second day will start with a ride up the moderately graded valley to the Maroon-Snowmass trailhead. This location must be the most photographed spot in all of Colorado, with the distinctive Maroon Bells peaks rising above the Aspen trees, all reflected in the placid waters of Maroon Lake. After a break, maybe a walk, and a couple thousand photos, we’ll whiz back down the valley to a loop that will take us past the base of all four of the area’s ski resorts, as well as the community of Woody Creek, home to the famous Woody Creek Tavern and their fabulous tamales and margaritas. It is just an 8 mile cruise back into the town of Aspen from there. (40 miles; 3300 ft elevation gain)
We’ve saved the best for last as we are now ready to climb a Colorado mountain pass. The ride starts in Carbondale where we leave the tourist traffic right away and head south on a gently sloping valley road through the village of Redstone. Each turn displays scenes more beautiful than the last, and the first 20 miles will go by quickly. The grade steepens for the last 3.5 miles to the summit, but we will be distracted by the incredible views typical of the Colorado Mountains. After a photo and snack break we head downhill to the west and south on a cruiser ride into the valley of the North Fork of the Gunnison River, through Paonia State Park and to the community of Somerset. From there the van will continue the westward journey, taking a lunch stop along the way, to arrive back in Grand Junction in the late afternoon. (50 miles; 3500 ft elevation gain)
|Day 1||Glenwood to Aspen on the Rio Grande Trail||43|
|Day 2||Maroon Bells - Snowmass - Woody Creek - Aspen||40|
|Day 3||Carbondale to Somerset over McClure Pass||50|