Mountains-to-Rivers Colorado Bike Tour
Our Mountains-to-Rivers Colorado Bike Tour (a.k.a. Brothels & Brews) brings together one-of-kind 19th century Victorian Hotels (some with a scandulous past), some of Colorado’s finest micro breweries, Colorado’s Scenic By-Ways and highlights such as the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park to create a spectacular summer bike tour through Colorado!
The tour rides through Lizard Head Cycling Guides’ home mountain range: the rugged & remote San Juans. In the late 19th century the tiny mining towns of Ouray, Durango and Telluride, Colorado were remote outposts of civilization. Each town felt they needed a landmark hotel to attract investors and to put their town on the map. In recent years these historic Victorian-Era hotels have seen major renovations and provide an entertaining end to a day of cycling across the Colorado high country. Go ahead, harken back to 1880’s and transform yourself to a time when Victorian opulence like this was reserved for the rich and famous, you’re entitled!
(This tour) was outstanding. The rides were the best I’ve ever experienced. The roads, scenery and challenge of every day left you wanting for more. – Gary W.
Mountains-to-Rivers Colorado Bike Tour: Highlights
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (America’s Newest National Park), The San Juan Sky-Way, The Unaweep/Tabaguache Scenic By-Way , the Million Dollar Highway and the simply amazing Dolores River Canyon (Colorado’s least known & most spectacular road).
Don’t Worry About the Altitude!
The rarefied air is a tonic to both man & beast! Sea-level cyclists ride this tour each year. Yes, you ride slower and the heart will beat faster in Colorado, but these are the Colorado Rockies and the views alone will make your heart beat faster. Read a Bicycling Magazine article about riding at altitude. Altitude on this tour ranges between 4,500-feet (Gateway Canyons Resort) and 11,000-feet (Red Mountain Pass). The average riding elevation is between 6,500 and 7,500-feet.
This was my third Lizard Head Tour, and it did not disappoint. The cycling was terrific, with well-planned routes, the lodging was first class, and the logistics well done as always. We are looking forward to our next Lizard Head trip! – Daniel S.
If you are considering Colorado bike tours, the Mountains-to-Rivers Colorado Bike Tour is a well-crafted tour of immense beauty. It also features entertainment each night in towns where old time saloons and Colorado Micro-Breweries abound. Enjoy beer tastings and excellent hospitality as you bike tour across the San Juan Sky-Way and Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic By-Ways.
Some of the breweries we can visit include:
- Ouray Brewing Company in Ouray, Colorado
- Carver Brewing Company in Durango, Colorado
- Animas Brewing Company in Durango, Colorado
- Steamworks Brewing Company in Durango, Colorado
- Telluride Brewing Company in Telluride, Colorado
Over the Top!
On the final two nights of our Mountains-to-Rivers Colorado Bike Tour 19th-century Victorian elegance is exchanged for the ultra modern 21st luxury of the Gateway Canyons Resort. There are few places in the world that can provide an experience and location such Gateway Canyons Resort, it has to be seen to be believed. Come see for yourself.
Mountains-to-Rivers Colorado Bike Tour: Dates
Potential tour dates are listed below. Please see 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.
Summer 2017 Tour Dates:
- July 9 to 14, 2017 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED
Mountains-to-Rivers Colorado Bike Tour: Overview
Tour Length: 6-Days Riding/6-Nights Lodging (Sunday through Friday)
Location: San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado
Meeting & Ending Town/Airport: Grand Junction, Colorado (Grand Junction Regional Airport – GJT)
Meeting Hotel: On Day 1 cyclists meet the guides and support vehicle at 7:00am at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel on Horizon Drive in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Total Miles: 250 and up to 375 miles. Additional mileage options are available.
Average Standard Daily Mileage: 45 miles
Ability Level: 2/3 (Intermediate to Advanced). This tour is obtainable for the weekend cyclist who is comfortable on a bike & looking for a challenge.
Tour Cost: $2,750 per person. Group discount of $200 per person for groups of 4 or more.
Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.
Single Room Supplement: $625 for a private room each night of the tour.
Tour Includes: 6-nights of lodging (Sunday through Friday, all meals aside from 1-dinner, taxes, entrance fees, daily lunch en route, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles, guide service, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, massage therapy & bike rental are additional.
Lodging for 6-Nights: (subject to availability)
- Night 1: Twins Peaks Lodge and Hot Springs, Ouray, Colorado
- Night 2: Strater Hotel, Durango, Colorado
- Nights 3 & 4: New Sheridan Hotel or Camel’s Garden Hotel, Telluride, Colorado
- Nights 5 & 6: Gateway Canyons Resort, Gateway Colorado
Bike Rental: Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rentScott 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.
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.
Please also see this blog post for more information on bike rentals.
Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on its tours.
Mountains-to-Rivers Colorado 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 1: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Options of 25-miles to 40-miles
The first day’s ride into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is one of Colorado’s finest bike rides. The tour starts at 6,580-feet and ascends 1,800-feet to an awe-inspiring rim top view of the Black Canyon’s 2,000-foot sheer drop to the Gunnison River.
Along the park’s rim-top-precipice the road rolls for 14 round-trip miles with seven overlooks featuring the oft photographed Painted Wall. This is a road that invites multiple-stops for photography and quiet reflection. A bonus ride option for today is the East Portal Road. The East Portal plunges 1,700-feet in 7.5 miles through quartz & pegmatite rock outcroppings to the banks of the Gunnison River. The view from the river bottom is powerful with 2,000-foot rock walls towering towards the heavens. The optional return ride features a brutal two mile section with 16% grades, one of the steepest road ascents in Colorado.
Tonight’s lodging destination of Ouray, Colorado (7,811’) sits at the base of the San Juan Mountains (a.k.a. the American Alps). The San Juans are the youngest mountain range in Colorado (40 million years old) and as a result they are the steepest and highest range in the state with more land mass above 10,000 feet then anywhere south of Alaska!
Day 2: Ouray, Colorado to Durango, Colorado
Options of 35-miles or up to 73-miles
Day Two’s ride climbs three major alpine passes along the San Juan Sky Way from Ouray to Durango, Colorado: Red Mountain Pass (11,018’), Molas Pass (10,915’) and Coal Bank Pass (10,640’). The high alpine views available while bike riding along the San Juan Sky Way are among the most impressive in the American West. The entire road surface from Ouray to Durango was re-surfaced between the summers of 2009 and 2011 and as a result it is fantastic shape. The ascents and descents are smooth and to be savored. After topping out on Molas Pass cyclists enjoy a net descent to Durango, Colorado (6,512’) of 4,000-feet!
Durango is a lively western town with a historic narrow gauge railroad. The town offers a large variety of quality dining experiences. Tonight’s lodging is the landmark Strater Hotel on Durango’s main street. The Strater’s Diamond Belle Saloon’s attractive bar room belles & old time piano player both adorned in 19th century period garb have proven to be a guest (and guide) favorite.
Day 3: Dolores, Colorado to Telluride, Colorado
Options of 35, 64 or up to 110-miles!
The cycling route along the Rio Dolores from Dolores (6,512’) to Telluride, Colorado (8,827’) follows the historic trail of the Dominguez/Escalante Expedition of 1776. Dominguez and Escalante were Franciscan friars who led a party on horseback from Santa Fe, New Mexico through Colorado and Utah while searching for a viable route to Monterey, CA. Although the expediation was hopelessly off course and never reached their destination, the expedition provided a valuable historic document like no other. If you are a history buff, you will enjoy the journals of Dominguez/Escalante Expedition.
Today’s route ascends the Rio Dolores to its headwaters on Lizard Head Cycling Guides’ namesake Pass, Lizard Head Pass (10,222’). Along the way cyclists enjoy a memorable river side lunch on the Rio Dolores. Eagles and other raptures abound on the Dolores River. Lizard Head Pass is surrounded by three 14,000 foot peaks and many high and mighty 13,000-foot peaks. The climb of Lizard Head Pass represents an ascent of 3,500-feet over 40 miles. From Lizard Head Pass there is a 24-mile net descent to Telluride, Colorado (8,750′ elevation). Tonight’s lodging is in Telluride’s historic district at the historic New Sheridan Hotel. This evening’s dinner at the New Sheridan Chop House is another guest and guide favorite.
Day 4: Layover Day in Telluride
Today cyclists enjoy a well deserved rest day in box canyon of Telluride, Colorado. This is the home town of Lizard Head Cycling Guides and in our humble opinion, the highlight town of our tour. Ride the free gondola to explore Mt. Village, enjoy a massage, shop the funky historic, hike to an alpine lake or district or simply sit on one of Telluride’s many park benches and watch the world go by.
Guests are on their own this evening to enjoy dinner from one of Telluride’s many fine dining establishments.
Day 5: Telluride, Colorado to Gateway, Colorado
Options of 55-miles or 103-miles (with 6,000-feet of descending)
The longest mileage day on the tour, the Mountains to the Desert stage descends over 4,000-feet from Telluride (8,827′) to Gateway, Colorado at 4,550′ elevation! This is an inspiring ride through the intimate confines of the San Miguel and Dolores River Canyons. The Dolores river canyon has been called by previous Lizard Head Cycling guests as the “most beautiful ride ever”. Come see for yourself! We believe it is the most spectacular and least known road rides in Colorado.
Tonight’s lodging at the Gateway Canyons Resort has to be seen to be believed. It is another highlight of this fabulous tour. There are few places in the world that can provide an experience and location such Gateway Canyons Resort. John Hendricks of the Discovery Channel built the resort in 2005. His love of Redrock Canyon country has created a destination that guests of Lizard Head Cycling Guides adore. Read reviews from Gateway Canyons.
Day 6: Gateway, Colorado to Gateway, Colorado
Optional ride of up to 35 to 75-miles
The final day of the our tour can be spent lounging poolside, enjoying the 21st luxury of Gateway Canyons Spa or pedaling up into the confines of yet another amazing geologic wonder, Unaweep Canyon. Whatever activity or inactivity you choose, enjoy this final day of the tour. Tonight’s lodging is once again at Gateway Canyons Resort.
Day 7: Departure Day
Early Saturday morning Lizard Head Cycling offers a shuttle for departing guests to the Grand Junction airport (55 miles). Make your departing plane reservations for 9:00am or later.
If guests are overcome by the raw beauty of Gateway Canyons Resort they may choose to extend their stay in Redrock Canyon Country.
Mountains-to-Rivers Colorado: Logistics & FAQs
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.
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.
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.