The Colorado Trail is perhaps the premier MTB bikepacking route in all of North America — it's a 534 mile (860 km) ride with a vast majority of that being high alpine single track, stringing together some of the absolute best trails and mountain ranges across the state. We opted to ride north to south, starting in Denver and finishing in Durango.
Our team consisted of myself, my good friend and fellow photographer Thomas Woodson, and friend Josh Conroy, a really strong rider and employee at Yeti Cycles. We set out for a 10 day pace on the trail — not a speed record by any means, but not slow either. This pace would still require some very large days, but not be so fast and strenuous that we wouldn't enjoy it. In my mind, a 10-day pace is perfect for the Colorado Trail. This would allow us to get food every few days, and never have to carry too much. We would also meet up with friends along the way to refuel on supplies and enjoy their company, and we found this to be a really fun and enjoyable way to do the trip.
I had done the Colorado Trail in it's entirety in 2016, so it was great to get back out there and get on it again. I forgot how challenging it is and how mega some of the days were! A true backcountry epic, right in our backyard here in Colorado.
Take a look at our route, enjoy the images, and don't hesitate to reach out with any questions. This ride is a must do for any Colorado local, and definitely a bucket list ride for anyone who loves high alpine riding and big bikepacking epics!
Day 1 on the Colorado Trail is a beast of a day with over 7,500 ft of climbing, and often sweltering summer temperatures until you get up in the high country.
We were greeted with a nice cloudy day, and made good time.
The majority of the day is spent on beauty single track, until you get to Wellington…
Day 2 on the Colorado Trail brought us from the Lost Creek Wilderness detour to the backside of Kensoha Pass.
The morning started on one of the nicer gravel roads I've ever ridden, and the afternoon was filled with beautiful winding single track through aspen forests. Wild berries were bountiful on the sides of the trail.
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Day 3 on our Colorado Trail thru-ride brought us two of the best descents, and the first big views of the trip.
We made the climb up into the alpine on Georgia Pass, and were treated with beautiful tacky dirt on a nice crisp morning as we made our way into Summit County to the north.
A quick pitstop in…
Day 4 of our Colorado Trail thru-ride brought us from Copper Mountain to Leadville.
The ride from Copper over Kokomo Pass to Camp Hale is one to remember. You get incredible views looking back at the Ten Mile Range, and a real break burner of a descent down the back side.
There is some cool historical…
Day 5 on the Colorado Trail was our longest day yet at just over 70 miles (113 km). Starting in Leadville with a fresh resupply, we made our way below Colorado's tallest peak, Mt. Elbert as we started our way south along the Collegiate Peaks range.
A lunch stop in Buena Vista was much welcome before we…
Day 6 on the Colorado Trail was quite a challenging day, with seemingly endless climbs and rough rolling terrain. It was also the peak heat of summer, and we felt it, especially after a 70 mile day the day before.
Monarch Crest was the highlight of the day — it's such a Colorado Classic, and to be up…
Day 7 spanning from Marshall Pass to just outside of Lake City was hands down the hardest and most grueling day of our trip. The segment on Sargents Mesa is so challenging with endless up and down, extremely rough, no flow, and just an overall hard portion of the trail, but a necessary evil in completing…
Day 8 on the Colorado Trail from outside Lake City to Silverton is in my eyes, the absolute premier segment on the Colorado Trail and in all of Colorado in general.
It's an extremely challenging day, almost completely above the treeline as you make your way into the San Juan Mountains. The views are second…
The Colorado Trail Day 9, we were shelled from the long push into the evening to Silverton the night before, but were thrilled to be on one of the most beautiful and enjoyable segments of the trip.
Molas pass is nothing but pure beauty, and we were there at the peak of wildflower season. We made our way…
The final day of the Colorado Trail was incredible. Kennebec Pass descent into Durango is a true classic and a mega descent.
We had all blown through our break pads at this point in the trip and were completely exhausted. A thru-ride on the Colorado is no joke, and the sense of accomplishment was very high.
Mountain Biking Collection by Diana Grodnick
Mountain Biking Collection by Diana Grodnick
Bike Touring Collection by Havel-Radweg
Bike Touring Collection by Münsterland