Crested Butte to Telluride Mountain Bike Gravel Tour - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891

Crested Butte to Telluride Mountain Bike Gravel Tour

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Crested Butte to Telluride Mountain Bike Gravel Tour: Highlights

A High Colorado Rockies Tour: Crested Butte to Telluride on dirt!

The Crested Butte to Telluride gravel bike tour spins a high country route through the southwest Colorado on a mixture of gravel, jeep and paved roads. It is a mixed dirt salad!

This 6-Day gravel tour explores a wild, remote and visually spectacular region of the Centennial State. The San Juan Mountains are consider the “American Alps” and the alpine views on this tour are on par with the high Alps of Europe!

Yes, you can do this tour!  Although the elevations are fairly high,  you can ride and we also carry a spare E-MTB or two in case you grow weary. This is a good option versus taking a bump in the van.

This is a Gravel/MTB tour meaning that for comfort and stability, the gravel riding requires a MTB for most riders.

SPECIAL OFFER: For summer 2024, mountain bikes are included with your trip signup. 

Click here for photos that show this tour experience!

What Bike do I Ride? – Unless you are an expect bike handler, we recommend riding a 29-inch wheeled mountain bike or mountain E-bikes (both available for rent). Advanced bike handlers could ride a rigid gravel bike on this route, but for most cyclists, wider tires and suspension will be useful and more comfortable.

E-Bikes – Due to the significant elevations to reach Colorado’s spectacular above treeline landscape, an E-bike motor for some riders can be helpful. For riders from sea-level, without a motor, the suffer factor is quite high. Lizard Head Cycling offers the Scott Strike eRIDE 910 as a rental E-bike for $395.

Over the course of this tour, the route climbs four major passes: 11,530-foot Slumgullion Pass (gravel up & paved down), 12,000-foot Engineer Pass and 11,800-foot Ophir Pass (gravel up and down).

Lodging on this Colorado gravel tour includes 5-nights.

  1. NOTE #1: Tours can be opened by groups or individuals to choose a camping option each night or a mix of lodging and camping.
  2. NOTE #2: Cyclists can also opt for tour versions with as few as 4 or 5 days of riding versus the normal 6-days. Contact us with your questions.

Ghost towns high in the mountains

High Mountain Roads & Exceptional Scenery in all Directions

Vast Stretches of Remote Backcountry Riding between Mountain Towns

Crested Butte to Telluride Mountain Bike Gravel Tour: Testimonials

Read what previous guests on our Crested Butte to Telluride Gravel Tour have been saying…

Thank you for one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Max and I could not have asked for anything more. (O)ur guides are both terrific … sharing their wealth of knowledge about the environment, the eco-system, biking tips, and more. The itinerary was extraordinary. The sights were incredible, and the rides were just challenging enough. – Sam M

We enjoyed the route. The scenery was amazing. Will and Leslie were professionals, both clearly focused on our enjoyment and safety whilst also just being fun to be with. The food was fantastic and we are referring just as much to the breakfasts and lunches prepared by Will and Leslie as to the restaurants. Don’t change anything, those tasty healthy salads were just what we needed. (A) personal highlight was the Opus Hut which worked very well as a last night. I think it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever stayed. – Andrew

Crested Butte to Telluride Mountain Bike Gravel 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

To easily register for a particular tour, please click the Book Now! link after the tour date listed below. This will select the tour name and the appropriate date on the registration form.

NOTE: This Gravel tour has various length options. The standard tour is 6-days with lodging. Cyclists can also join this tour for the following options:

  • 6-Days Standard – Crested Butte to Telluride
  • 5-Days – Gunnison to Telluride
  • 4-Days – Gunnison to Silverton

Also consider our 5-Day Colorado Gravel Tour which is designed as a beginner level gravel route for the gravel-curious road rider.

2024 Tour Dates

  • June 23 to 28, 2024 5 & 6 Day Lodging-Based Tour (Book Now!) – TOUR A GO!
  • June 30 to July 5, 2024 5 & 6 Day Lodging-Based Tour (Book Now!) – TOUR A GO!
  • July 28 to August 2, 2024 5 & 6 Day Lodging-Based Tour (Book Now!) – TOUR A GO!
    For a limited time new registrations for this tour date will receive a free bike rental!
  • August 18 to 23, 2024 (Book Now!)
  • August 25 to 30, 2024 5 & 6 Day Camping-Based Tour (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED 4 riders needed to make GO
  • August 31 to September 5, 2024 Saturday to Thursday (Book Now!)

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date Set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour Opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Tour is Go, rider minimums met. SOLD OUT = Tour Full, rider maximums met.

Why Should you Sign-Up Now and OPEN a Tour Date?
This is the proverbial chicken and the egg conundrum! We need our cyclists to first commit to the date that works for them so that we can commit to that date.

For starters, when you OPEN a date you get to pick your preferred departure date, and there is no penalty if the tour does not run. Once you pick your tour date, Lizard Head closes nearby dates and funnels all additional riders to your chosen date until the tour meets its 6 rider minimum.

BONUS: As an added bonus, we can also hold a spot for you on another tour date of your choosing. There is no fee to switch to another tour date.

In conclusion, if you want a tour to run, we need you to sign up and not wait for others to do the same! Waiting for others may mean that a tour date takes longer or does not confirm. Just Do It! Once a few riders jump into the proverbial waters, others will follow!

Crested Butte to Telluride Mountain Bike Gravel Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: Standard tour length is 6-Days Cycling/5-Nights of lodging.
If one can’t ride with us for the full 6-days, one can join for these options:

  • 5-Days Cycling/4-Nights – Gunnison to Telluride
  • 4-Days Cycling/3-Nights – Gunnison to Telluride
  • 3-Days Cycling/2-Nights – Gunnison to Silverton

Arrival Town/Airport: Gunnison, Colorado or Montrose, Colorado

Departing Town/Airport: Montrose, Colorado or Telluride, Colorado

Pre-Tour Shuttle: On Day 0 (the day before the tour starts), a shuttle from Montrose, Colorado to Telluride, Colorado is available for $50 per person.

Post-Tour Shuttle: On the tour’s final day Friday afternoon, a shuttle from Telluride, Colorado to Montrose, Colorado is available for $50 per person.

Mileage Range: Varying between 20 to 40 per day

Ability Level: Intermediate (2/3) , Upper Intermediate (3) , Advanced (3/4)
E-Bikes allowed for intermediate fitness levels. The 1st mile of descending from Day 5’s Cinnamon Pass Jeep Road and Day 6’s Ophir Pass requires a higher level of technical ability. These are roads, but they are rocky. Walking the the first 1/2 mile to 1-mile from the summit of these descents is fine before getting back on the bike.

Camping or Lodging: Lodging on this tour can be hotel rooms, camping or even a mix of both. The first riders to sign up for a tour date determines the tour length and the camping/lodging options.

Lodging Based Tour Cost Per Person:
$3,030 (6-Day) | $2,715 (5-Day) | $2,305 (4-Day)
Tour Includes: Guide service for all days, forest service fees, all meals aside from 1 breakfast (in Silverton), energy food, liquid refreshments, in-tour shuttles, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental, and massage therapy are additional.
Single Room Supplement: Add $195 (3-Day), $295 (4-Day), $395 (5-Day), or $495 (6-day) to the tour cost. This cost includes a single room for all nights of a given tour.


Camping Based Tour Cost Per Person:
$1,945 (6-Day)  | $1,595 (5-Day) | $1,360 (4-Day) | $940 (3-Day)
Tour Includes: Guide service for all days, all meals, forest service fees, energy food, liquid refreshments, in-tour shuttles, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental and massage therapy are additional.


Private Tours:
For a private tour the rider minimum is 8 riders, or the paid equivalent of 8 riders. Private tours include guide service for all days. Tour length can vary from 3 to 6 days. Lodging, camping  a mix of both are available for private tours. Tours include: forest service fees, all meals, camping gear, energy food, liquid refreshments, in-tour shuttles, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental, and massage therapy are additional.


NOTE: Bike rentals for this tour will be MTB unless you discuss the need for a gravel bike with us.

Tour Discounts: Please see our Reptile Rewards & Tour Discounts page to learn more about Reptile Rewards, Tour Discounts, and Group Discounts. Tour discounts are not stackable with any other discounts or promotions – only the highest valued discount is provided. Please note that for discounts to apply the tour minimum must be met.

Lodging Options: (subject to change)

Camping Options (groups can choose a camping option versus lodging)

Meeting Hotel and Ending Hotel reservations and costs are NOT included unless specified otherwise. Guests are on-their-own to make reservations at the Meeting Hotel or Ending Hotel, or other nearby hotels.

Mountain Bike Rentals

NOTE: The make, model, and specifications of rental bikes may differ from what is described below. Please contact us if you have any specific needs for a rental bike or have any questions about rental bikes.

Mountain Bike Rentals

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent the Scott Spark 930, a truly fantastic way to go up or down a mountain. We have been riding mountain bikes for a very long time here at Lizard Head, but we can easily say our rentals are the most fun mountain bikes we have ever ridden. The Spark 930 blends the featherweight lineage of its race focused cousin with the single track chops of a 120mm travel ripper - this bike is up for anything.

The Spark 930 features: Spark Carbon HMF-Alloy Frame, FOX 34 Float Performance 130mm Fork, FOX Nude EVOL/120mm/TwinLoc rear shock, Shimano XT-SLX 12 Speed Drivetrain, Shimano Deore Disc Brakes, Syncros X-25 TR Rims, Maxxis Rekon Folding Tires, plus Syncros Dropper Post. Approx. Weight: 28.88 lbs / 13.10 kg (without pedals)

Mountain E-Bike Rentals

The Strike eRIDE 920 offers SCOTT’s latest technologies together with the newest Bosch motor. Versatile, reliable, and accessible, the Strike puts the accent on the comfort with 150mm of travel, slicker tires, thicker grips and saddle to give you a solid choice for any outing.

Learn more about our Mountain Bike & E-Bike Rentals and Equipment

If you have any further questions, please read more on our Rental Bikes FAQ page. You can also email us at or call us at 970.728.5891

NOTE: Bike rentals for this tour will be MTB unless you discuss the need for a gravel bike with us.

E-Bikes: Due to the altitude on this tour to Colorado’s above treeline landscape, an E-bike motor is helpful to intermediate riders. For sea-level riders, without a motor, Lizard Head Cycling offers the Scott Strike eRIDE 910 as a rental bike for $395.

Looking to head off road? The Strike eRIDE 910 is the definition of comfort for a full suspension e-MTB. State of the art integration, high-end components and a quality Bosch drive unit combine to give you a solid choice for any outing. Rack and fender available.

Are E-Bikes OK for the camping option on this Tour? Yes – when electing for camping, Lizard Head Cycling brings along a generator and large battery for recharges.

Meals On Tour

Lizard Head Cycling Guides provides most meals on all tours (unless otherwise noted) including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guides will prepare a daily lunch en route for nearly every tour, both road and off-road, as well as provide nutritious snacks at periodic aid stations during the day.

Most of our road tours utilize local restaurants for all meals and occasionally guides may prepare a dinner or two during a tour. Due to the nature of being "off the grid", most of our off-road tours feature guide prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. FUN NOTE: When guides prepare a meal in camp and the guests sit around and watch, this is called "Guide TV". :)

We also pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests and needs, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works best for you during your tour. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Lunches: 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.

Dinners: On our road tours, Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients and guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu including: appetizer, salad, entrée, 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.

Overall Route Map

Below is an example of the daily routes for this tour and are subject to change based on season, available accommodations, road closures, and other factors. The actual routes will be made available to registered participants before their tour, so please view these routes as a general outline as to what to expect.

Crested Butte to Telluride Mountain Bike Gravel Tour: Itinerary*

*PLEASE NOTE: Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, road closures, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Also, the distances and elevation profiles shown below may not reflect the actual distances and elevations while on tour as these are provided here to give an idea as to the anticipated mileage and terrain. Please view this itinerary, the distances, and elevation profiles as a general outline as to what to expect while on this tour.

Day 1: Crested Butte to Gothic
18 miles with up to 1,350 feet of climbing (60% paved/40% gravel)

On Day 1 of the Crested Butte to Telluride Gravel Tour we meet, fit our bikes and ride from downtown Crested Butte up to Gothic, Colorado – an impressive ghost town surrounded by the West Elk Mountains where just a handful of the original structures remain in this picturesque, nearly all but deserted, townsite.

For the lodging option, we will stay near downtown Gunnison. For the camping option, tonight is at the Hartman Rocks trail network where we then set-up camp and enjoy our first evening under the stars.


Day 2: Gunnison to Tomahawk Ranch – The Cannibal Classic
25 to Every Freaking Inch (EFI) of 35 miles with up to 3,150 feet of climbing (50% gravel/50% paved)

On this leg, ride beneath the La Garita Wilderness area spinning a stunning gravel route meandering alongside creeks and through forests while in the foothills of the San Juan Mountains. This is Colorado at its grandest!

A historical note: Today’s route is called the Cannibal Classic, 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 as he had literally eaten his compatriots!

As a result this is definitely a stage in which one should watch your fellow cyclists.

Lodging tonight is alongside the tranquil Cebolla creek at the Tomahawk Guest Ranch allowing for swimming and fishing (bring a rod).

Tonight’s “Cebolla Creek Camp” is just feet away from the gurgling creek.

Regardless of where we sleep, we’ll enjoy a grilled dinner, vegetables and salad. Before dinner we’ll serve appetizers to cyclists while they soak their feet in the creek while drinking a beer. ??


Day 3: Tomahawk Ranch to Lake City
33-miles with up to 3,225 feet of climbing (70% gravel/30% paved)

Starting from Cebolla Creek camp, the first 2/3rd’s of today’s route slowly ascends the first major col (aka pass) that of the tour – the 11,530′ Slumgullion Pass. However, with an average grade of around 3%, the climbing is not exceptionally challenge. From the Slumgullion Pass summit, it is a huge paved descent to Lake San Cristobal and Lake City.

Lodging is in Lake City and camping is alongside Lake San Cristobol.


Day 4: Lake City to Silverton 
28 or EFI of 35 miles with up to 4,250 feet of climbing: (100% gravel)

From Lake City cyclists climb an exceptional route to the above tree-line landscape atop Cinnamon Pass. The views are endless! From the summit experience views of up to 150-miles across the roof of Colorado. Climbing Cinnamon Pass on a bike is a major accomplishment. From the summit, the route then descends to lodging in Silverton, Colorado or camping at Molas Lake.


Day 5: Silverton to the Opus Hut on Ophir Pass
9 miles with up to 2,270 feet of climbing (50% paved/50% gravel)

From Silverton, we spin up the Rio Animas towards the Ophir Pass road. The climb of Ophir Pass (11,800-foot) is the last col (aka pass) of this epic trip. A special experience awaits atop Ophir Pass at the Opus Hut. The Opus Hut was constructed in the spirit of a European mountain refuge. Rustic wood interior, multiple decks and a wood burning fire place add a cozy feel to this high mountain hut. Get comfortable to and enjoy the high mountain views as the sun goes down.


Day 6: Opus Hut to Telluride
21 miles with 4,030 feet of descending! (70% gravel/30% paved)

On this final day we descend from our lofty perch in the Opus Hut atop Ophir Pass. Along the way, we’ll join the galloping Goose trail for an easy ride into Telluride, Colorado. Upon arrival in the historic mining town, you may want to roll up to the New Sheridan Saloon for a shot of mountain whiskey. You deserve it!

Cyclists can spend the night in Telluride or shuttle to Montrose. Return flights are possible from the Telluride or Montrose airports. Well done!


Crested Butte to Telluride Mountain Bike Gravel Tour: Logistics & FAQs

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

If you have not already, now would be a great time to consider adding travel insurance to your tour. You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you would like. We recommend Generali/Trip Mate.

Generally, if contracting COVID causes clients to cancel or interrupt their tour, trip insurance companies would treat it as any other illness as long as it is contracted after the insurance was purchased. Please check your individual plan documentation for details. Please note that quarantine is usually only covered if clients are actually sick with COVID. If a state requires quarantine upon arrival because of standardized state law, coverage is generally not covered. Again, check your individual plan documentation for details.

American Guests - use this link:

  • The Premium Plan is the only plan which offers Pre-Existing coverage so long as the plan is purchased prior to Final Payment.
  • The Premium Plan is the only plan that offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason - the policy must be purchased within 24 hours of initial trip deposit, the full trip cost must be insured, and if they cancel for Any Reason, it must be 48 hours prior to departure, and the reimbursement for an Any Reason claim is 60% of pre-paid, insured, non-refundable trip cost.
  • Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-874-2442 for coverage questions and policy modifications or to purchase by phone. Agency Code: LIZA0855

Canadian Guests - use this link:

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