Colorado Trail Mountain Bike Tour Lizard Head Cycling Guides
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891

Colorado Trail MTB Tour

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

Colorado Trail MTB Tour: Highlights

Our Colorado Trail Mountain Bike Tour offers a point-2-point journey across the best of the high and wild singletrack of the Colorado Trail starting at Monarch Pass and finishing in Telluride. Cyclists start at a distant point and arrive triumphantly in Telluride. Along the way there is great beauty and adventure while riding through the San Juan Mountains.

Lizard Head Cycling’s Colorado Trail mountain bike tour is available in either a camping or lodging format with up to 3-nights of lodging (3 of 5-nights total). Either way this is an alpine journey you are sure to remember.

The Colorado Trail offers the wildest point-to-point above tree-line single-track mountain biking experience in North America!


Colorado Trail Itinerary Options

Our Colorado Trail Tour is a point-2-point backcountry mountain bike ride that travels along the high & wild Continental Divide through Southwest Colorado. The trail includes singletrack and rugged & remote dirt roads. The tour takes place in high and wild San Juan Mountains of Colorado.  The Colorado Trail bike tour is guided and vehicle supported and in our opinion offers one of the Ultimate Mountain Biking Experiences in North America.

Lizard Head Cycling’s Colorado Trail Tour is a 6-day tour. NOTE: If you have a group of cyclists, the tour can be adjusted to ride from Monarch to Telluride in 4 or 5-days. In addition, advanced or upper-intermediate ride options are available. Please contact us with your questions.

Should I Ride the Colorado Trail Tour or Crested Butte Singletrack?

The main difference between the Colorado Trail tour or our Crested Butte Singletrack are that the Crested Butte (CB) Singletrack tour offers almost exclusively singletrack riding from camp to camp. So the CB tour is one to should ride if you want to experience the best mountain singletrack one can find. Crested Butte’s wildflowers and swimming opportunities are second to none.

I wanted to reach out to you to thank you for our Colorado Trail extravaganza. The trip exceeded my expectationS. I remember the abundant laughter and support that permeated the week. Other immediate memories include the lavish wild flowers, the amazing vistas. – Bruce E.

Mountains Offer… freedom, grandiosity, seclusion, accomplishment, camaraderie and vulnerability…

Hiking Trail Through Flowers of Colorado Mountains

Stoney Pass @ 12,650-feet

Stoney Pass @ 12,650-feet

When in doubt ride higher!

When in doubt ride higher!

Cycling in the Rockies Backcountry

The San Juan Mountains are among the wildest, most beautiful and inaccessible mountainous areas in the lower 48 states. The trail crosses high mountain passes, beneath numerous unnamed waterfalls and traverses fields of verdant wildflowers at elevations that rarely drop below 10,000 feet. Large fauna of most every-type inhabit this landscape.

Lizard Head Cycling Guide’s bike tours offer out of the ordinary mountain biking vacations by delivering cyclists into a backcountry setting far away from accessible trail-heads. Rarely will one see another person let alone another cyclist.

“Out of the comfort zone, but not into a panic zone”

Read a Men’s Journal Story about the Colorado Trail Mountain Bike Tour


Colorado Trail MTB 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.

2024 Tour Dates

  • August 4 to 9, 2024 (Book Now!)
  • August 11 to 16, 2024 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED 3 riders needed to make GO
  • August 26 to 29, 2024 Monday to ThursdaySOLD OUT
  • September 1 to 6, 2024 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED 4 riders needed to make GO

*Also consider our Crested Butte Singletrack MTB Tour

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!

Colorado Trail MTB Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 6-Days & 5-Nights. An Expert Level 5-Days & 4-Nights tour is available, please contact us for more information.

Starting & Ending Town: Montrose, CO and Telluride, CO

Total Miles: 151 to 171 (Can I keep up on this tour?)

Mileage Range: 20-38

Ability Level: Upper Intermediate (3)  to Advanced (3/4) 

Group Size: 6 to 10 (this smaller size ensures an awesome personalized experience on the trails)

Tour Cost: $1,850 per person (includes one nights lodging).

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.

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

Rental Tent, Ground Pad and Sleeping Bag: $85
Lizard Head Cycling offers late model camping gear rentals.  Our rental tents are Kelty and Sierra Design tents (sleep 2 comfortably).  The ground pads are 1.5 inches thick and our synthetic sleeping bags are rated for 20 degrees (so you’ll feel warm & comfy in the Colorado Wilderness).
**Al la Carte tent rental is $55-.

Accommodations Includes: (subject to availability)

  • Nights 1: Lodging & dining in the fun little town of Salida (Add $50- for single room on this night).
  • Night 2: Tent camping in the Colorado Wilderness!
  • Night 3: Camping on Spring Creek Pass. NOTE: Lodging option available in Lake City, Colorado (Add $95-)
  • Night 4: The spectacular Rio Grande Headwaters camp.
  • Night 5: The equally spectacular Molas Pass campsite.

Also: All meals, shuttles, vehicle support and guide service.

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.

Riding the Colorado Trail Mountain Bike Tour

Camp Life: Recovery

Love the clouds, riding among them, and looking down at them. [That’s} the effect of the sights we have seen and the people I have come to know through these trips” – Bill S.

The details: You’ll explore unspoiled landscapes, rush through cool mountain air, drink in 360-degree mountain views and pedal past carpeted fields of wildflowers (which can be handle-bar high). High altitude campsites offer a canopy of bright stars and deep sleep at night. Your experienced guide takes care of all the route finding, planning and logistics.

At day’s end, the fully equipped support truck at the camp provides all the necessities for a delicious guide-prepared meal. All you have to do is relax, hang out with your new friends, or explore a little more on your bike.

What about the altitude? Cyclists from lower elevations ride in Colorado each year, and most have no problems. All it takes is some preparation, patience and a little more hydration than you’d normally have.

Yes, you’ll likely ride slower, and your heart rate will increase, but these are the Rockies, after all.

Even though the elevation on the Colorado Trail MTB ranges from 8,000 to 13,000-feet, and the average levels on the tour are between 7,500 and 8,500-feet, the views alone will make your heart beat faster!

The weather: The high Rockies have some of the most dynamic summer weather in the country. One moment, it’s sunny and warm under intensely blue skies. The next, massive clouds race across the horizon and bring a frozen downpour with thunderclaps.

As Coloradans who know a thing or two about this stuff, we’ll make sure you’re outfitted and safe from these intense, but brief weather events.

How Much Singletrack is There?

The Colorado Trail MTB tour was designed as a point to point adventure tour. This tour provides riders with the opportunity to pedal Colorado’s most remote, fascinating, and inaccessible terrain. The route contains sections of single track, unimproved roads, sections with hardly a trail and everything in between. The ride will consist of alpine terrain, technically challenging terrain, push your bike through 3-feet of snow and sit back and take-it-all-in terrain. In short, this section of Colorado Trail offers expedition-style mountain biking amazing backcountry section. Please contact us with your questions.

PLEASE NOTE: Although these tours are for advanced riders, they are NOT death marches. They are well planned guided adventures into the backcountry that are within the ability of experienced riders. In reality many riders who are capable of riding and enjoying these tours self-select themselves out of participation because they feel the tour will be too hard. If you would like to join us and have a question about your ability, please call. For more information or to make a reservation, contact us: 970.728.5891 or

MUST READ: Training for Your First MTB Tour: 5 Best Tips to Improve Your Pedaling Technique

Colorado Trail MTB 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: Monarch Crest Trail
Nearly 25 miles of some of the most breathtaking and smoothest singletrack in the world

On Day 1 of the Colorado Trail MTB tour ride what is considered one of the very best singletrack trails in the American West, the Monarch Crest Trail. The route starts at 12,000-feet smack dab on the continental divide and descends over 4,000-feet. To start the day the trail offers above tree-line views that stretch across Colorado. The ride finishes with a smooth and serpentine ride on the Rainbow Trail.

NOTE: This Monarch Crest Trail section of the Colorado Trail is guided through our partner, Irwin Mountain Guides.


Arnica Flower

Elevation Profile: 29 mi +2365 ft / -5220 ft

Day 2: The Cannibal’s Route: North Pass to Cebolla Creek Camp
39-miles of remote jeep road through the San Juan Mountains: 

On this leg, the route by-passes the La Garita Wilderness area (no bikes) and spins a stunning gravel route on jeep roads through the foothills of the San Juan Mountains to a camp along tranquil Cebolla creek. Today’s ride has been a guest favorite that follows creeks and climbs through forests towards the high San Juan Mountains.

Tonight’s “Cebolla Creek Camp” allows for swimming and fishing (bring a rod). 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 🙂

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 tent-mates! ??

Digital Detox: High in the Colorado Rockies

Digital Detox: High in the Colorado Rockies

Wildflowers & Waterfalls

Wildflowers & Waterfalls

Dutch Oven Cooking!

Elevation Profile: 49 mi +3110 ft / -3360 ft

Day 3: Cebolla Creek Camp to Spring Creek Pass Camp
23-miles over Slumgullion Pass

From Cebolla Creek Camp cyclists ascend to 11,500-foot Slumgullian Pass and then ride across a spectacular wide open, above tree-line landscape to our Spring Creek Pass camp.

At this point cyclists are pedaling through a remote landscape. To the southwest rises the 13,000-foot  Rio Grande Pyramid. To the north unfolds the expansive views of the fourteen thousand foot peaks of Uncompahgre and Wetterhorn.

Tonight’s Spring Creek Pass campsite leaves riders poised to ride the highest sections of the Colorado Trail.


Colardo Trail Mountain Bike Tour

Dinner in Camp

Elevation Profile: 23 mi +3620 ft / -2075 ft

Day 4: Spring Creek Pass to Rio Grande Headwaters Camp
25-miles through the San Juan National Forest

From the spectacular setting of the Spring Creek Pass Camp cyclists arise before dawn for an alpine start. An Alpine start is a term mountain climbers use when they start before dawn to reach the summit of a mountain. And today cyclists climb above tree-line to the highest point of the entire 500-mile Colorado Trail, 13,271-foot Coney Summit. On this day the Colorado trail serves up 20-miles of singletrack that hovers at the 12,000-foot mark. This is rarefied air for mountain cycling offering both great beauty and challenge. Tonight cyclists sleep in the utterly remote Rio Grande Headwaters camp.

Mountain Bike Tours in Colorado

Colorado Trail

Mountain Biking

Coney Summit: The highest point on the Colorado Trail at 13,271-feet!

Elevation Profile: 25 mi +5045 ft / -4700 ft

Day 5: Rio Grande Camp to Silverton, Colorado and the Molas Pass Camp 
25-miles over Stony Pass and along the Animas River

From the fabulously remote Rio Grande Headwaters camp one can walk out of their tent and literally jump across this storied western river.

Today cyclists assault the massive Stoney Pass (elevation 12,650 ft.) and crest the Continental Divide for a 3rd time on this trip. Stoney Pass was the crux ascent (as it is on this tour) of the Santa Fe Trail’s historic stagecoach route serving the mining town of Silverton. Its views frame the steep terrain you’ve traversed over the past four days. This is rarefied air for mountain cycling offering both great beauty and great challenge.

A 3,600-foot descent to the historic mining town of Silverton is to follow. In Silverton be sure to take in the spectacle of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.  Tonight’s Molas Pass campsite is considered the “most beautiful in Colorado” by AAA. Hot showers are available tonight!

Night 4's campsite

The Molas Pass Campsite

Riding the Colorado Trail

Riding above tree line on the Colorado Trail (12,800 feet)

Elevation Profile: 25 mi +3945 ft / -4690 ft

Day 6: Molas Lake Camp to Telluride!
35-miles over Ophir Pass to Galloping Goose singletrack

This day is filled with great rewards for cyclists. In the morning cyclists descend from Molas Pass and ride singletrack ascending the final pass of the Colorado Trail tour, 11,850-foot Ophir Pass!

A final singletrack spin on the Galloping Goose Trail and then across Telluride’s Valley Floor brings the tour to an end across the valley from 325-foot Bridal Veil Falls.

Finish your mighty mountain bike trek through Telluride’s streets in the afternoon with a beer at the 120-year-old New Sheridan Saloon. ?? WELL DONE! ??

High Elevation Singletrack!

Sunrise view from the Opus Hut

The view from the Ophir Pass

Riding in the clouds

Mountain Bike Tour

Above it All

Elevation Profile: 35 mi +4235 ft / -6040 ft

Colorado Trail MTB Tour: Logistics & FAQs

POST TOUR NOTES: Post tour lodging in Telluride is not included. Cyclists can choose to stay in Telluride for the night or take a Telluride Express shuttle back to Montrose. The least expensive lodging options are at the Telluride town campground, Victorian Inn or Mountain Lodge.

Bike Shipping

Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with 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.

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:



Lizard Head Cycling Guides is an equal opportunity service provider and employer.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides operates under special use permit from the USDA Forest Service, Rio Grande National Forest.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is a permittee of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest.

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