The San Juan Mountains are among the wildest, most beautiful, and inaccessible mountainous areas in the lower 48 states. The trail crosses high mountain passes, beneath numerous unnamed waterfalls, and traverses fields of verdant wildflowers at elevations that rarely drop below 10,000 feet. Large fauna of most every-type inhabit this landscape. This tour offers out of the ordinary mountain biking, delivering cyclists into a backcountry setting far away from accessible trail-heads. Rarely will one see another person let alone another cyclist.
The idea is to give you an opportunity to pedal some of Colorado’s most remote, fascinating, and inaccessible terrain.It will contain sections of single track, unimproved roads, sections with hardly a trail and everything in between.
275 km / 171 mi
Camping and 1 night of lodging at a mountain top alpine hut.
Group size: 6 to 10.
Post tour lodging in Telluride is not included. Cyclists can choose to stay in Telluride for the night or shuttle ($45-$60) back to Montrose (65-miles) for the evening. Our tour operator provides an early 7am Saturday morning shuttle($45-$60) back to Montrose.
Group discount of 5% for groups of 4 or more.
The deposit for this tour is $950.-pp.
Easy = untrained, normal physical condition Moderate = regular cyclist, good condition Challenging = experienced, well trained
Easy = unpaved roads, almost flat Average = narrow paths, steep climbing Difficult = barely used trails, rocks
Guided = with cycling guide(s) - support van Self Guided = individual - directions+maps
40-60 km / 25-37 mi
275 km / 171 mi
Deluxe = 4-5 star hotel or excellent B&B Basic = 1-2 star hotel/motel or B&B Camping = tent, sports hall or campus
Camping, full board
Daily luggage transfers
20 Jun 2021 - 25 Jun 2021 27 Jun 2021 - 02 Jul 2021 04 Jul 2021 - 09 Jul 2021 11 Jul 2021 - 16 Jul 2021 18 Jul 2021 - 23 Jul 2021 25 Jul 2021 - 30 Jul 2021 01 Aug 2021 - 06 Aug 2021 08 Aug 2021 - 13 Aug 2021 15 Aug 2021 - 20 Aug 2021
The rental tent is a 3-person Sierra Design tent (sleeps 2 comfortably). The ground pads are 1.5 inches thick and our synthetic sleeping bags are rated for 20 degrees (so you’ll feel warm & comfy in the Colorado Wilderness).
The rental tent is a 3-person Sierra Design tent (sleeps 2 comfortably).
Scott Genius 730 PLUS bikes for $250 while supplies last as sizing is limited. Scott Genius 730 PLUS bikes are included as first come first serve and sizing is limited to Small, Medium, Large and XL. The cost of the tour does not change if one’s sizing is not available or if one chooses to use their own bike.
Shuttle Telluride to Montrose
The price for this shuttle varies from $45 to $60 please ask for current price for your tour date.
Day 1: Monarch Crest Trail
30 miles of some of the most breathtaking and smoothest trail in the world
On Day 1 of the Colorado Trail MTB tour ride what is considered one of the very best singletrack trails in the American West, the Monarch Crest Trail. The route starts at 12,000-feet smack dab on the continental divide and descends over 4,000-feet. To start the day the trail offers above treeline views that stretch across Colorado. The ride finishes with a smooth and serpentine ride on the Rainbow Trail.
Day 2: The cannibal’s Route: North Pass to Cebolla Creek Camp
36 miles through the San Juan Mountains
2,146-feet ascent (1,891-descent)
On this leg, you’ll ride a stunning route into the foothills of the San Juan Mountains to a camp along tranquil Cebolla creek. Although this is not a single-track day, it is a good warm up and has been one of our guest’s favorite rides, following creeks along the base of the San Juan Mountains.
Tonight enjoy grilled chicken, vegetables and salad. Soak your feet in the bracing creek while drinking a beer. Tomorrow cyclists enter into the high San Juan Mountains.
A historical note: The Cannibal Classic is this day’s route, named after the infamous Alfred Packer. He was a miner who became snowbound on an ill-fated journey into the San Juan Mountains in the late 1800’s. Come spring, Packer was the only remaining miner alive from his party of six, looking pretty healthy. He had literally eaten his compatriots.
As a result this is definitely a stage in which one should watch your tent-mates!
Day 3: Cebolla Creek Camp to Lake City or the Headwaters Camp
Upper-Intermediate Option: From Cebolla Creek cyclists ascend to 11,500-foot Slumgullian Pass and then descend either singletrack or dirt roads to the remote mountain hamlet of Lake City for a beer and shower.
Advanced Option: From Cebolla Creek cyclists ascend to 11,500-foot Slumgullian Pass. After a fast decent of the pass via pavement cyclists head west up our remote Headwaters Camp in the Rio Grande Watershed.
At this point cyclists are pedaling through a remote landscape. To the southwest rises the 13,000-foot Rio Grande Pyramid. To the north unfolds the expansive views of the fourteen thousand foot peaks of Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn.
Tonight’s Headwaters Camp offers commanding views of the remote Rio Grande Valley.
Day 4: Spring Creek Pass to Rio Grande Headwaters Camp.
25-miles with 3,289-feet of ascending and 4,115-feet of descending
From the spectacular setting of the Spring Creek Pass Camp cyclists arise before dawn for an alpine start. An Alpine start is a term mountain climbers use when they start before dawn to reach the summit of a mountain. And today cyclists climb above tree-line to the highest point of the entire 500-mile Colorado Trail, 13,271-foot Coney Summit. On this day the Colorado trail serves up 20-miles of singletrack that hovers at the 12,000-foot mark. This is rarefied air for mountain cycling offering both great beauty and challenge. Tonight cyclists sleep in the utterly remote Rio Grande Headwaters camp.
Day 5:Rio Grande Camp to Silverton and the Molas Pass Camp.
25 miles: 4,500 feet of ascending and 5,800 of descending.
From the fabulously remote Rio Grande Headwaters camp one can walk out of their tent and literally jump across this storied western river.
Today cyclists assault the massive Stoney Pass (elevation 12,650 ft.) and crest the Continental Divide for a 3rd time on this trip. Stoney Pass was the crux ascent (as it is on this tour) of the Santa Fe Trail’s historic stagecoach route serving the mining town of Silverton. Its views frame the steep terrain you’ve traversed over the past four days. This is rarefied air for mountain cycling offering both great beauty and great challenge.
A 3,600-foot descent to the historic mining town of Silverton is to follow. In Silverton be sure to take in the spectacle of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Tonight’s Molas Pass campsite is considered the “most beautiful in Colorado” by AAA. Hot showers are available tonight
Day 6: Molas Lake Camp to Telluride!
29 miles: 2,500 feet of climbing 4,200 fet of descending
This day is filled with great rewards for cyclists. In the morning cyclists descend from Molas Pass and ride singletrack ascending the final pass of the Colorado Trail tour, 11,850-foot Ophir Pass!
A final singletrack spin on the Galloping Goose Trail and then across Telluride’s Valley Floor brings the tour to an end across the valley from 325-foot Bridal Veil Falls.
Finish your mighty mountain bike trek through Telluride’s streets in the afternoon with a beer at the 120-year-old New Sheridan Saloon.
POST TOUR NOTES: Post tour lodging in Telluride is not included. Cyclists can choose to stay in Telluride for the night or take a Telluride Express shuttle back to Montrose. The least expensive lodging options are at the Telluride town campground, Victorian Inn or Mountain Lodge.
*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Please view this itinerary as an outline as to what to expect on this tour.
Map & Routes
The tour operator rents Scott 720 Genius Plus bike (a.k.a. Chubby Bike) while supplies last as sizing is limited. Scott 720 Genius Plus bikes are included as first come first serve and sizing is limited to Small, Medium, Large and XL. The cost of the tour does not change if one’s sizing is not available or if one chooses to use their own bike.
More information about this tour
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