101 Bobtail or Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 Phone: 970.728.5891
Email: info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com

Aspen to Taos Bike Tour

a2t

This 11-day Aspen to Taos Bike Tour focuses on the vertical landscapes and mountain town culture of the southern Colorado Rockies. This is a mountain tour that crosses the continental divide on four occasions, meanders along verdant river valleys and seeks out the eclectic lodging, food and the natural hot springs that this region is well known for.

Aspen to Taos Bike Tour: Highlights

Riding high in the Rockies

All smiles climbing Independence Pass

Keep looking UP to relieve the suffering

Keep looking UP to relieve the suffering

The descent from Independence Pass

The descent from Independence Pass

 

Aspen to Taos Bike Tour: Dates

Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891

2017 Summer Tour Dates:

  • July 9 to 19, 2017
  • August 6 to 16, 2017 (Book Now!)

2017 Autumn Tour Dates:

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Aspen to Taos Bike Tour: Overview

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Arrival Airport/Town: Denver International Airport (DEN), Denver, Colorado

Departure Airport/Town: Denver International Airport (DEN), Denver, Colorado

Tour Length: 11 Days

Total Miles: 450-675 miles: additional mileage options available. (Can I keep up on this tour?)

Ability Level: 2/3 (Intermediate to Advanced)

Tour Cost: $3,750 per person. Group discount of $200 per person for groups of 4 or more.
Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

Single Room Supplement: Price to Be Determined. For a private room each night of the tour. If willing to share and a same sex rider is unavailable for each night of tour, a pro-rated charge will apply.

Tour Includes: 10-nights of lodging, 10 days of meals, guide service, entry fees, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental and massage therapy are additional.

Lodging: (subject to change)

Road Bike Rental: Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent Scott CR-1 Pro and Scott Solace carbon road bikes with full Shimano Ultegra components for only $250/week, or $150 for 3 or 4 day tours. Both the CR-1 and Solace models are sub- 17 lb comfortable, high performance bicycles geared for climbing hills. In addition we also have electric bikes available for rental at $375/week. And finally we have a selection of straight bar road bikes and kids bikes in our rental fleet. Just let us know what you need and we can probably find it.

Please also see this blog post for more information on bike rentals.

Electric Bike Rental: We now have a limited selection of SCOTT electric bikes that can be reserved for our tours. These are road bikes with straight bars that make the slowest rider the fastest rider in the group. Rental Price is $375/week.

Couples Bike Rental Discount: Sign up as a couple and receive one free bike high performance rental per couple ($250 value).

Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on its tours.

Meals On Tour

Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients. Guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu: including appetizer, salad, entree and of course dessert... yum! :) Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post ride element.

Lunches on Tour: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and of course plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies. We pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works for you during the week. Gluten Free, Dairy Free or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Aspen to Taos Bike Tour: Itinerary*

*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.

Day 0: Arrive in Denver, Colorado

Guests arrive in Denver by driving or by flying to the Denver International Airport (DEN) and the Courtyard Marriott Denver Airport meeting hotel.

Denver International Airport

Denver International Airport

Downtown Denver, Colorado

Downtown Denver, Colorado

Day 1: Maroon Bells Loop
25 Miles with up to 2,200 feet of climbing

After a morning transfer from Denver into the heart of the Colorado Rockies, the riding starts on a relaxing closed road that climbs gently to the picturesque Maroon Bells, which are the most photographed mountains in Colorado. The road to the “Bells” will have plenty of cyclists to smile and wave to. After the descent, tonight’s lodging is at the Limelight Hotel in the heart of Aspen.

View of the Maroon Bells: Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak.

View of the Maroon Bells: Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak.

Day 1 Elevation Profile

Day 1 Elevation Profile

Day 2: Layover Day in Aspen, Colorado
25-35 Miles

On Day 2 options abound. Cyclists can go on a ride of up to 35-miles in the Snowmass area or they can climb the lower slopes of Independence Pass. Guests should make time to explore Aspen’s shops, spas, nightlife and food culture.

USA Pro Challenge, Aspen

Aspen, Colorado

The Limelight Hotel

Elevation Profile: +2500 ft / -2500 ft

Snowmass Loop (Road) – Elevation Profile: +3000 ft / -3000 ft

Day 3: Aspen, Colorado to Crested Butte, Colorado
40-100 Miles with up to 5,800 feet of climbing

Today’s ride to Crested Butte, Colorado via two 12,000-foot passes, Independence and Cottonwood Passes, is a Colorado classic and has served as the Queen Stage of the USA Pro Challenge bike race. The climb of Independence Pass will take 2 to 3 hours and delivers cyclists to a spectacular above treeline landscape. After a long descent to the Arkansas River Valley the climbing begins again up and over remote Cottonwood Pass. Eventually cyclists arrive in the summer paradise of Crested Butte, which is the wildflower capital of Colorado. We’ll settle into Crested Butte for a two night’s stay in the Elk Mountain Lodge.

USA Pro Challenge, Independence Pass

Climbing Independence Pass: Few cars!

Independence Pass

Crested Butte, Colorado

Crested Butte, Colorado

Day 3 Elevation Profile, Segment 1

Day 3 Elevation Profile, Segment 1

Day 3 Elevation Profile, Segment 2

Day 3 Elevation Profile, Segment 2

Day 4: Layover in Crested Butte, Colorado

A layover day in the wildflower capital of Colorado, Crested Butte! Make this a day for fly-fishing, mountain climbing, a spa day, mountain biking on the 401 Trail, white water rafting or a swim in a mountain lake.

Along the 401 Trail

Along the 401 Trail

Singletrack on the Wagon Trail

The Wagon Trail

Day 5: The Cannibal Classic
70-130 Miles with up to 8,500 feet of climbing

Crested Butte to Creede (8,500′) is a local’s favorite known as the Cannibal Classic and is a tremendous test of endurance for Crested Butte’s hard body locals. NOTE: One DOES NOT HAVE TO RIDE this entire stage!

The Cannibal Classic earned its name from the infamous Alfred Packer, 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!

The rides starts in Crested Butte, Colorado’s (9,000-feet) majestic Elk Mountains and starts with a gradual 40-mile descent, after which riders are tested by a 45-mile section with multiple ups and downs that could drain the strength from their legs.

At approximately mile 85, take on one of the steepest paved mountain passes in Colorado, Slumgullion Pass at an elevation of 11,530 feet. This monster is a 7-mile climb that ascends nearly 3,000 feet; its average 7% to 9% grades feels particularly brutal coming at mile 90 of the Cannibal Classic. At the top, you’ll descend 4 miles and then climb another 4 miles at a mere 4% grade to Spring Creek Pass and the Continental Divide. From Spring Creek, it’s just about a 30-mile descent to lodging at Antlers Rio Grande Lodge which sits on the banks of the Rio Grande near Creede, Colorado.

Colorado Cols in September

Colorado Cols in September

Creede, Colorado

Creede, Colorado

Day 5 Elevation Profile, 130 Miles

Day 5 Elevation Profile, 130 Miles

Day 5 Elevation Profile, 70 Miles

Day 5 Elevation Profile, 70 Miles

Day 6: Wolf Creek Pass to Pagosa Springs, Colorado
64 Miles with up to 3,400 feet of climbing

From our lodging at Antlers Rio Grande Lodge we ride south over Wolf Creek Pass. At this pont cyclists are pedaling across the remote headwaters of Rio Grande watershed. The largest wilderness area in Colorado, the Weimuniche Wilderness, borders this lush region. After climbing the impressive Wolf Creek Pass (10,863′), cyclists will have climbed over the Continental Divide for the second time in two days.

Next thrill to a 4,000? descent from Wolf Creek to Pagosa Springs, Colorado along the headwaters of the San Juan River. We’ll be in close proximity to New Mexico and get a whiff of the state’s famous and fragrant green chile. Tonight we’ll enjoy a much-needed and deserved soak in towns hot springs at the renowned Springs Resort & Spa.

Wolf Creek Pass, Descent to Pagosa Springs

Wolf Creek Pass, Descent to Pagosa Springs

Day 6 Elevation Profile

Day 6 Elevation Profile

Day 7: Chama, New Mexico to Ojo Caliente, New Mexico
50 to 93 Miles with up to 4,900 feet of climbing

Day 7’s ride serves up yet another beautiful ride over the mountainous continental divide into the state of New Mexico to the exclusive Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. Steeped in myth and legend, these ancient springs have been a gathering place and source of healing for thousands of years. The use of the waters can be traced back to the earliest human migrations in the region. Ancient peoples, the ancestors of today’s Native American Tewa tribes, built large pueblos and terraced gardens overlooking the springs. Surrounding the springs are the ruins of the cities populated before the birth of history.

The Brazos Cliffs

The Brazos Cliffs

Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs

Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs

Day 7 Elevation Profile

Day 7 Elevation Profile

Day 8: Ojo Caliente, New Mexico to Taos, New Mexico
41 Miles with up to 2,000 feet of climbing

After a relaxed morning at Ojo we’ll ride from the Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs to Taos, New Mexico and stay at the El Monte Sagrado. Along the way we’ll cross the spectacular Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Tonight dine at El Monte Sagrado’s award-winning De la Tierra Restaurant. Taos is an artist’s destination of international acclaim and home to the Taos Pueblo Indians.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos, New Mexico

Day 8 Elevation Profile

Day 8 Elevation Profile

Day 9: Layover Day in Taos, New Mexico

Spend the day exploring Taos’ art district, visit Taos Pueblo (the oldest inhabited building in North America), taste the state’s famous of green chile or simply do nothing. This is your day!

Inside Taos Pueblo

Inside Taos Pueblo

El Monte Sagrado

El Monte Sagrado

Day 10: The Enchanted Circle
85 Miles with up to 5,800 feet of climbing

Ride a loop along the fabulous Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway back to the El Monte Segrado. This ride circles the Sangre De Cristo Mountains offering cyclists big mountains views that showcase the topography of northern New Mexico.

We also will have the option for a ride and hike within Río Grande Del Norte National Monument.

Taos Mountain at sunset

Taos Mountain at sunset

Río Grande Del Norte National Monument

Río Grande Del Norte National Monument

Day 10 Elevation Profile

Day 10 Elevation Profile

Day 11: “Pike’s Peak or Bust!”
18 Miles or 10 Miles climb to the top

On the tour’s final day Lizard Head Cycling offers what is consider perhaps the most arduous climb in North America, Pike’s Peak. “Pike’s Peak or Bust” was a common refrain from gold seekers heading west in the 1800’s. This may be your refrain as you attempt to climb 7,000-feet in 162 turns over 18-miles to 14,110-feet. There are 10-miles of this climb with a 10% grade that are above 10,000-feet in elevation. But these are only numbers.

This is a big climb; there will be suffering, doubt & elation. Cyclists can take a bump to the visitor center to attempt a 10-mile climb or start from the bottom for an 18-mile climb to the summit. NOTE: The Lizard Head Cycling vehicle is available for a bump to shorten this day. Cyclists do not have to ride the entire climb, but the views from the top are worth the effort! After Pike’s Peak stay a final night at The Cliff House.

Pike's Peak's Switchbacks

Pike’s Peak’s Switchbacks

Near the summit of Pike's Peak

Near the summit of Pike’s Peak

Day 11 Elevation Profile

Day 11 Elevation Profile

Day 12: Post Tour Logistics

In the morning we’ll transfer back to Denver International Airport hotel to end the tour.

Aspen to Taos Bike Tour: Logistics & FAQs

Bike Shipping

Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with BikeFlights.com. Bikes can be shipped either to our partner bike shop in each meeting town for professional assembly or directly to the meeting hotel for self-assembly. Bike boxes can generally be left at the meeting hotel during the tour. Bikes shipped across the continental US should be shipped 8 days prior to your tour.

Tour Support
A 15-passenger van and trailer that carries luggage, food and equipment will support this tour.

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

Lizard Head Cycling Guides teams up with Seven Corners for travel insurance. Seven Corners offers:

  • Travel Medical
  • Medical Evacuation
  • 24/7 Assistance
  • Trip Cancellation

Be sure to go to our custom Seven Corners portal by clicking this link or by clicking the the banner on the right after confirming your tour with us to get a quote on travel insurance.