Colorado Trail: The Entire MTB Route - IMBA EPIC
ElevationAscent: 71,117' 21,677 m
Descent: -69,664' -21,234 m
High: 13,238' 4,035 m
Low: 5,506' 1,678 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 22% (13°)
Popular rides nearby
Deer Creek Canyon Extended Loop
20.7 mi 33.3 km • Loop • 2,993 ft Ascent 912.25 m Ascent
CT - Indian Creek (Waterton Canyon Alt.)
19.0 mi 30.6 km • Point to Point • 2,810 ft Ascent 856.63 m Ascent
South Valley Loop
9.6 mi 15.4 km • Loop • 978 ft Ascent 298.06 m Ascent
North Fork Lollipop
21.0 mi 33.8 km • Loop • 2,685 ft Ascent 818.5 m Ascent
Battle the Bear Race Course
11.7 mi 18.9 km • Point to Point • 778 ft Ascent 237.1 m Ascent
Green Mountain Novice Loop
6.7 mi 10.8 km • Loop • 806 ft Ascent 245.64 m Ascent
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“A life-changing ride on the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango.”— Stefan Griebel
With over 300 miles of singletrack, hardly any of which is flat, you'll encounter nearly every style of riding imaginable: loads of swoopy fast trail, many rocky, rooty, technical climbs and descents, miles of pine-needle covered singletrack, some nearly unrideable talus, and a prodigious amount of hike-a-bike. The route averages over 10,000 in elevation, so you'll also spend an immense amount of time at altitude. In fact, the section from Spring Creek Pass to Stony Pass road spends almost 30 consecutive miles above timberline! This piece of trail is a beautiful and it's an amazing place to be on a gorgeous day, but it can also be extremely dangerous and scary if you are caught there in one of Colorados notorious afternoon thunderstorms.
- CT - Segment 1: Waterton Canyon to South Platte River
- CT - Segment 2: South Platte River to Little Scraggy
- CT - Segment 3: Little Scraggy to FS-560 Wellington Lake Road
- CT - Segment 4 to 5 Detour: Lost Creek Wilderness Bypass to Kenosha
- CT - Segment 6: Kenosha Pass to Goldhill
- CT - Segment 7: Goldhill to Copper Mountain
- CT - Segment 8: Copper Mountain to Tennessee Pass
- CT - Segment 9 - 10 Detour: Holy Cross/Mount Massive Wilderness Bypass
- CT - Segment 11: Mount Massive to Clear Creek
- CT - Segment 12 Detour: Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Bypass
- CT - Segment 13 - Cottonwood Pass Rd to Chalk Creek
- CT - Segment 14: Chalk Creek to US-50
- CT - Segment 15: US-50 to Marshall Pass
- CT - Segment 16: Marshall Pass to Sargents Mesa
- CT - Segment 17: Sargents Mesa to Colorado Hwy-114
- CT - Segment 18: Hwy 114 to County Road 17FF
- CT - Segment 19 - 21 Detour: La Garita Wilderness Bypass
- CT - Segment 22: Spring Creek Pass to Carson Saddle
- CT - Segment 23: Carson Saddle to Stony Pass
- CT - Segment 24 Detour: Weminuche Wilderness Bypass
- CT - Segment 25: Molas Pass to Bolam Pass Road
- CT - Segment 26: Bolam Pass Road to Hotel Draw Road
- CT - Segment 27: Hotel Draw Road to Kennebec
- CT - Segment 28: Kennebec to Junction Creek
NOTE: The following essay/description written by Stefan Griebel was first published in The Mountain Biker's Guide to Colorado by Dan Hickstein 2012
The route then detours through Leadville on dirt and paved roads, and regains the Colorado Trail at the Mount Massive trailhead. A steep (and sometimes crowded) climb on the Mt. Elbert trail leads to fast blasting through the aspens for many miles to Twin Lakes Reservoir and beyond, to the next Wilderness detour at Clear Creek Road. Easy pedaling through Buena Vista and up the pavement to the Avalanche trailhead ends abruptly with a rocky, yet fun, technical descent and then some steep climbing and crazy fast descending to Princeton Hot Springs. The trail beyond Chalk Creek is quintessential Collegiate Peak aspen groves and rounded granite mini-boulders. Affectionately dubbed "adult-heads" instead of "baby-heads"...
After crossing Highway 50, the trail ascends gradually steepening roads and singletrack to a final gnarly hike-a-bike that joins the famous Monarch Crest trail on the Continental Divide. From here, the Continental Divide Trail and Colorado Trail are one and the same for about 150 miles, though mountain bikes have to detour 50 miles around the La Garita Wilderness. Once past Marshall Pass and onto Sargents Mesa, the trail really starts to feel isolated. Some of these sections easily take 1st place in the bumpy-rocky-bone-jarring-teeth-shattering category, and have even been described as "soul-crushing". Fortunately, there is a lot of great forest riding interspersed throughout this area as well.
At Saguache Park road, the longest Wilderness detour is encountered and follows dirt roads for 50+ miles. At the pavement of highway 149, you'll be tempted to descend into Lake City, but then youd miss the Crown Jewel of the Colorado Trail: the Coney Summit and Cataract Ridge segments! Incredible high alpine riding and off-the-charts views in one of the most remote areas of Colorado. Start early, and pick a nice day - even very strong riders can take upwards of 10 hours to complete the 40 miles from Spring Creek Pass into Silverton.
The route culminates with arguably the best continuous singletrack in the state as the San Juan Mountains are traversed for over 75 miles from Silverton to Durango. Alpine ridges, wildflowers as far as you can see, gorgeous forested trail, and an insane descent from 12,000 to 7,000 Youll still be smiling 20 years after riding this part of the Colorado Trail.
Hungry yet? Well, what are you waiting for?!
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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Dogs Allowed, Features, Electic Mountain Bikes Allowed