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The Colorado Trail

Summary

CTMTB-01

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.

Mountain bike
6 days
275 km / 171 mi
$ 1,495.-
  • Camping and 1 night of lodging at a mountain top alpine hut.
  • All meals.
  • Vihicle support
  • 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 per person instead of 25%.

Gallery

Details

Type
Mountain bike
Duration
6 days
Level
Easy = untrained, normal physical condition
Moderate = regular cyclist, good condition
Challenging = experienced, well trained
Challenging
Technical level
Easy = unpaved roads, almost flat
Average = narrow paths, steep climbing
Difficult = barely used trails, rocks
Average
Support
Guided = with cycling guide(s) - support van
Self Guided = individual - directions+maps
Guided
Daily distance
40-60 km / 25-37 mi
Total distance
275 km / 171 mi
Lodging
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
Luggage transport
Daily luggage transfers
Bicycle
Rental
Dates
07 Jun 2019 - 12 Jun 2019
23 Jun 2019 - 28 Jun 2019
14 Jul 2019 - 19 Jul 2019
21 Jul 2019 - 26 Jul 2019
28 Jul 2019 - 02 Aug 2019
04 Aug 2019 - 09 Aug 2019
11 Aug 2019 - 16 Aug 2019
Start
Montrose
Finish
Telluride ( shuttle back to Montrose)
Airport at start
Montrose regional airport ( Denver int. airport)
Airport at finish
Montrose regional airport ( Denver int. airport)

Prices

Price per person
The tour price per person
$ 1,495.-
Camping gear rental
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).
$ 85.-
Optional
Tent
The rental tent is a 3-person Sierra Design tent (sleeps 2 comfortably).
$ 55.-
Optional
bicycle rent
$ 250.-
Optional
Shuttle Telluride to Montrose
The price for this shuttle varies from $45 to $60 please ask for current price for your tour date.
$ 60.-
Optional

Itinerary

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

37-miles
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: Lake City to Silverton ( Upper – Intermidiate Option)

25-miles with 3,289-feet of ascending and 4,115-feet of descending
From Lost Trail Creek camp cyclists continue up the remote headwaters of the Rio Grande on a narrow spur of the historic Santa Fe Trail.  The first challenge of the day is a 1,000-foot climb up to 11,000-foot Timbered Hill before an assault on the massive Stoney Pass (12,650-feet).
From the airy heights of Stoney Pass (elevation 12,650 ft.) cyclists cross the Continental Divide for a 3rd time. 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 two days.
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 4: Lake City To Silverton (Advanced Option)

38-miles (25-miles of singletrack and 13-miles of mining roads)
4,500-feet of ascending and 5,800-feet of descending
From the spectacular setting of the Headwaters Camp cyclists arise before dawn for an alpine start. An Alpine start is a term mountain climbers use when they start in the dark early morning hours to reach the summit of a mountain. And today, for fit cyclists only, we climb above treeline to the highest point of the entire 500-mile Colorado Trail to 13,200-feet. 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 great challenge. Tonight cyclists on this advanced option lodge in Silverton at the Grand Imperial Hotel.

Day 5: Molas Lake Camp to Opus Hut

5 to 25-miles of singletrack & 15-miles of dirt roads
3,000 feet of climbing & 2,500-feet of descending
This day is filled with great rewards for cyclists. In the morning cyclists have the option to ride the smooth and flowing singletrack of the Colorado Trail from Molas Lake towards Rolling Pass. After lunch the route descends back to Silverton before the ascending the final pass of the tour, 11,850-foot Ophir Pass. At the top of Ophir Pass in a sound of musci settings its our lodging for this evening, the Opus Hut.  NOTE: The morning section of trail on the C.T. will be unguided.
The Opus Hut is a high mountain oasis modeled after the backcountry huts on the Europe’s iconic Haute Route.  There is a wood fired sauna, deck and remarkable views of the San Juan Mountains.

Day 6: Opus Hut To Telluride

Descent of Ophir Pass and a ride into Telluride!
21-miles 1,171-ascent and 4,029-feet of descent
After a relaxing evening and morning spent in the 11,600-foot Opus Hut cyclists crest Ophir Pass at 11,800-foot before descending 3,500-feet through the Ophir Valley.  A final singletrack trail ride 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 early afternoon with a beer at the 120-year-old New Sheridan Saloon.

*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

Map
Satellite

Bicycle

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.
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