Colorado Bike Tour Brothels & Brews, Lizard Head Cycling
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891

Mountains-to-Rivers Colorado Bike Tour

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

Mountains-to-Rivers Colorado Bike Tour: Highlights

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.

Colorado Bike Tour, High Summer in the Colorado Rockies

High Summer in the Colorado Rockies

Colorado Bike Tour

The Painted Wall at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Colorado Bike Tour

Summer in the Colorado Rockies

Colorado Bike Tour, Lizard Head van

Lizard Head Peak: Our Namesake Mountain

Colorado Bike Tour, Telluride

Hiking Above Telluride!

Colorado Bike Tour, San Juan Mountains

Cycling in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado

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.

Colorado Micro-Breweries

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:

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.

(W)hat really made the trip special for us was David, Paige and Joe! They worked so hard to make this trip fun and comfortable for all of us. The food was outstanding as well. Another big factor was the other riders in our group; it is always nice to meet other cyclists who share this crazy need to ride a bicycle up a mountain! I always come home from a ride like this feeling that there are more good people in this country than those who are not so good. – Michael and Sue

Mountains-to-Rivers Colorado 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

Summer 2019 Tour Dates:

Autumn 2019 Tour Dates:

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Mountains-to-Rivers Colorado Bike Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 6-Days Cycling/6-Nights Lodging

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: Intermediate (2/3)  to Upper Intermediate (3) 
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: Add $625 to the Tour Cost for a private room each night of the tour (6 nights).

Tour Includes: 6-nights of lodging (Sunday through Friday, 4-dinners, 4-breakfasts, 6-lunches, 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)

Bike Rental

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.

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.

Read more on our Road Bike Rental FAQs page.

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.

Overall Route Map

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 45-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!

Colorado Bike Tour Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

View from East Portal Road: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Colorado Bike Tour, Black Canyon

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

The Beaumont Hotel in Ouray, Colorado

Black Canyon Ascent – Highlighted below
Selected distance: 5.8 mi
Elevation: + 1819 / – 0 ft
Max Grade: 9.0 %
Avg. Grade: 6.0 %
Cat: 1

Elevation Profile: 35 mi +3180 ft / -4560 ft

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.

Colorado Bike Tour, Red Mountain Pass

Stopping for a break while climbing Red Mountain Pass

Colorado Bike Tour

The Top!

The Strater Hotel Lobby

Elevation Profile: 73 mi +6650 ft / -7920 ft

Day 3: Dolores, Colorado to Telluride, Colorado
Options of 35-miles, 64-miles 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.

Colorado Bike Tour

It’s just beautiful up here!

Colorado Bike Tour, young bull elk

Young Bull Elk in Colorado Meadow

The New Sheridan Hotel in Telluride, Colorado

Elevation Profile: 64 mi +4790 ft / -2940 ft

Day 4: Layover Day in Telluride
Optional 53-mile “Tour de 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.

Those looking to keep riding can opt to ride the “Tour de Telluride” which is a 53-mile on-your-own route around Telluride and up to Lizard Head peak and back.

Guests are on their own this evening to enjoy dinner from one of Telluride’s many fine dining establishments.

Colorado Bike Tour, Trout Lake

Trout Lake above Telluride

Colorado Bike Tour, Telluride Valley

Descending into the Telluride Valley

Tour de Telluride Elevation Profile: 53 mi +6790 ft / -6790 ft

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.

Colorado Bike Tour, Delores River

The Dolores River Canyon

Colorado Bike Tour, Palisade Butte

Beneath Palisade Butte in Gateway, Colorado

Colorado Bike Tour, Gateway Canyons Resort

Lodging for two nights at Gateway Canyons Resort

Norwood Hill – Highlighted below
Selected distance: 1.9 mi
Elevation: + 685 / – 0 ft
Max Grade: 13.7 %
Avg. Grade: 6.6 %
Cat: 3

Elevation Profile: 103 mi +2665 ft / -6890 ft

Day 6: Unaweep Canyon
Optional ride of 30 to 80-miles through Unaweep Canyon 

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.

Colorado Bike Tour, Unaweep Canyon

Ride into the beauty of Unaweep Canyon

Colorado Bike Tour, Gateway pool

The Pool at Gateway Canyons Resort

Gateway to Unaweep Divide – Highlighted below
Selected distance: 23.5 mi
Elevation: + 2824 / – 338 ft
Max Grade: 9.2 %
Avg. Grade: 2.0 %
Cat: HC

Elevation Profile: 47 mi +3160 ft / -3160 ft

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

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 MH Ross Travel Insurance. 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.

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