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

Colorado Trail MTB Tour

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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 ultimate point-to-point 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

2021 Tour Dates

  • July 4 to 9, 2021 (Book Now!)
    A new moon on July 9, 2021 means dark stargazing skies at night!
  • July 11 to 16, 2021 (Book Now!)
  • July 18 to 23, 2021 (Book Now!)
  • July 25 to 30, 2021 (Book Now!)
  • August 1 to 6, 2021 (Book Now!)
  • August 8 to 13, 2021 (Book Now!)
    A new moon on August 8, 2021 means dark stargazing skies at night!
  • August 15 to 20, 2021 (Book Now!)

*Also consider our Crested Butte Singletrack MTB Tour

Colorado Trail MTB Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

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

Tour Length: 6 days & 5-nights

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: $1,495- per person (includes one nights lodging). Group discount of 5% for groups of 4 or more. *Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

MTB Bike Rental

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent 2020 Scott Genius 930 mountain bikes. The Scott Genius is a 29-inch wheeled bike with 2.8 inch tires. This bike rolls with ease over most everything: rocks, dirt and pavement. The mid-fat tires stopping and cornering give the rider confidence. The bike's full suspension can be locked fully or partially out with a level on the handle bars. Sizing includes Small, Medium, Large and XL. MTB bike rental is $250/week ($400/2-weeks). Rentals come equipped with tubeless tires, pump, tube, tire iron and saddle bag.

NOTE: Bike rental can be limited so please reserve in advance.

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-.

Sleeping 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

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. 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!

Dinners: 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.

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*

*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: Monarch Crest Trail
30 miles of some of the most breathtaking and smoothest trail 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 trail is guided through our partner, Irwin Mountain Guides.


Arnica Flower

Day 2: The Cannibal’s Route: North Pass to Cebolla Creek Camp
36-miles through the San Juan Mountains
2,146-feet ascent (1,891-descent)

On this leg, you’ll ride a stunning route into the foothills of the San Juan Mountains to a camp along tranquil Cebolla creek. The route starts with 12-miles of singletrack and finishes with 24-miles of remote jeep road. Today’s ride is guest favorite that follows creeks and climbs through forests towards the high San Juan Mountains.

Tonight on Cebolla Creek enjoy grilled chicken, vegetables and salad. Soak your feet in the bracing 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.  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!

Day 3: Cebolla Creek Camp to Spring Creek Pass Camp

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

Day 4: Spring Creek Pass to Rio Grande Headwaters Camp
25-miles with 3,289-feet of ascending and 4,115-feet of descending

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!

Day 5: Rio Grande Camp to Silverton, Colorado and the Molas Pass Camp 
25-miles: 4,500-feet of ascending and 5,800-feet of descending

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 treeline on the Colorado Trail (12,800 feet)

Day 6: Molas Lake Camp to Telluride!
2,500 feet of climbing 4,200-feet of descending

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.

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


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

Lizard Head Cycling Guides highly recommends clients purchase Travel Insurance through TripAssure. A policy can be purchased individually through the sales link below or Lizard Head Cycling Guides can also set-up a policy for its clients.

The estimated cost for a 50-year old buying insurance for a $2,500 tour ranges from $100 (standard plan) to about $200 (cancel for any reason plan).

Lizard Head Cycling Guides Custom Sales Portal Link is:

  • The best options for our clients are either the Asset or Bridge plans.
  • The Asset-Plus & Complete plans both include a Cancel-For-Any-Reason option.
    • As a result these plans cost more.
    • The Cancel-for-Any-Reason option is only available when insurance is purchased within two weeks of initial deposit.
  • For information on Coronavirus, please click here.


 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.

Translate »