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

Northern Colorado Bike Tour

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

Enamored with our home state, Lizard Head Cycling Guides brings you another part for the colorful state of Colorado. While this tour does not have as high of passes that our Colorado Cols has, don’t be fooled. It packs just as much climbing with more distance in six days. Northern Colorado is not an undiscovered place for cyclists, but it’s more remote aspects keep the roads relatively quiet. The long roads between the towns in the north means big days among grand scenery. Northern Colorado offers a bit of everything from high prairies, rocky peaks, and tight canyons. We stay amazing towns that are known for hot springs, moose viewing, and breweries. Come ride with us through some of the treasures this state has to offer.

Northern Colorado Bike Tour: Highlights

Nokhu Crags near Cameron Pass

Pouder River Canyon

Inspirational Graffiti Milk Truck

Northern Colorado Bike Tour: Testimonials

Read what previous guests on our Northern Colorado Bike Tour have been saying…

I had a great time the rides were good, the group of riders was wonderful and DeAnne and Dave did a great job they were flexible and adjusted to the needs of the group. The meals were good and the meals DeAnne and Dave cooked may have been the best ones. I would certainly consider another ride in the future. – Marc

It was a pleasure to ride 1 of your tours again. A great group of people and once again DeAnne and Dave did a great job. They pulled out the stops when restaurants weren’t available and put on great meals. Lodging was great, especially in Fort Collins! All in all a great trip. Thanks and glad you added this trip even though I’d ridden it all before at various times. – Andy

Another adventure and delightful time on LHCG. DeAnn and David were wonderful guides; always seeking to please the group; worked very well together; worked hard to bring a smile even in challenging situations. We did well to bend with the breeze! – Duane

Northern 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

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

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!

Northern Colorado Bike Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 6-Days Cycling/5-Nights Lodging

Meeting & Ending Town: Denver, Colorado (Denver International Airport – DIA)

Total Miles: 380 to 415 miles (additional mileage options available)

Mileage Range: 35 to 100 miles

Ability Level: Advanced (3/4) , Expert (4)

Tour Cost: $3,345 per person with shared accommodations. Add $475 per person to this Tour Cost for a private room each night of the tour (5-Nights).

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.

Tour Includes: 6-Days guide service, 5-Nights lodging, all meals (except lunch and dinner on Day 5), forest service fees, energy food, liquid refreshments, in-tour shuttles, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental, and massage (if available) are additional.

Non-Riding Spouses & Partners on Tour: If a non-riding spouse or partner would like to join you on tour and they have their own transportation, they can stay in your room for the cost of the tour's single room supplement. Please note that non-riders cannot check into hotels prior to guide arrival as the guides need to manage the check-in process. Checking in a large group can be challenging and take longer than normal, so non-riders need to hang back and be patient. Non-riding spouses and partners are welcome to join the Lizard Head meal plan which includes breakfasts and dinners for $75 per day. Note: Lunches are not included for non-riders driving their own vehicles due to the inherent variability of both lunch timing and locations. It is best for non-riders to plan to explore each day.

Lodging for 5 Nights: (subject to change)

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.

Road 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.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent Scott Bikes. The Scott Addict 10 Disc was designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind. With geometry that is less focused on racing and more on enduring, the Addict 10 will be your go to when you’re looking to put the miles in.

The Scott Addict 10 Disc features: Carbon Frame and Fork, Shimano Ultegra 2x11 Drivetrain, 34x32 Compact Gearing, 30mm Tires, and Hydraulic Disc Brakes. Approx. Weight: 16.89 lbs / 7.66 kg (without pedals)

Learn more about our Rental Bikes and Equipment

Road E-Bike Rentals: Click Here for more information on our Road E-Bike Rentals including pricing. Please note that E-Bikes are not available for certain tours including those that involve camping. Please contact us for more information before registering for a tour. NOTE: E-Bikes are great, but our tours are designed to be ridden without motorized assistance. We offer "bumps" along the road so that everyone can stay together.

Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on our tours.

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

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.

Northern Colorado Bike 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: Longmont to Estes Park
35 miles with up to 4,035 feet of climbing

Kicking off the tour, we will climb out of the high plains and into ‘The Circle’ known as Estes Park Valley. Dominating the westward skyline of the flat start, are the Indian Peaks with North Arapaho Peak towering over 13,500 feet. Turning north at the base of the foothills, our route takes us through Lyos, ‘The Double Gateway to the Rockies.’ We take the northern passage, traveling along the North St. Vrain Canyon, climbing above 8,000 feet. Cresting the climb reveals the spectacular Twin Peaks, Mount Meeker and Longs Peak. More of the Twin Peak Massif and the Mummy Range are unveiled on the short descent into the valley.

To match the magnificent vistas, we will end our ride at the Stanley Hotel. Iconic in its own right, perched overlooking the town, this hotel has been launched into fame in Dumb and Dumber, but most nitoriously in The Shining. Just remember, we are here to play, no work!

Elevation Profile: 35 mi +4035 ft / -1420 ft

Day 2: Estes Park to Fort Collins
66 miles with up to 4,460 feet of climbing
E.F.I. – 71 miles with up to 5,125 feet of climbing

On the second day, we sneak out through Devils Gulch winding between the low mountains bordering Estes Park. Descending east, Devils Gulch will join up with the steep gorge of the Big Thompson Canyon. Out of the canyon, we head north through some of the foothills leading to a sharp climb up the backside of Rist Canyon. This climb is worth the effort as you are treated to over twelve miles of descending. As you make it into Fort Collins, we will follow the old trams into Old Town, the downtown area that was inspiration for Harpers Goff’s vision for Disneyland’s Main Street. To finish the day off is a mandatory stop at New Belgium for beers and maybe a loop on their short track for the keen rider.

For those wanting more miles, EFI’ers can take a loop along the east side of Horsetooth Reservoir. Note it is not an easy spin in. The road along the reservoir is a series of short climbs, but has inspiring views on both sides. An effort well worth it.

Elevation Profile: 66 mi +4460 ft / -7140 ft

E.F.I. Elevation Profile: 71 mi +5125 ft / -7805 ft

Day 3: Cache la Pouder Scenic Byway
88 miles with up to 6,035 feet of climbing
E.F.I. – 100 miles with up to 6,505 feet of climbing

Today starts with a short shuttle, but EFIers can instead ride to the entrance to Pouder Canyon. It is one road all day, but it is ever changing on our way to Walden. The canyon starts bordered with small peaks as it ventures into the Roosevelt National Forest. The canyon narrows to steep walls before opening up near the town of Rustic. The canyon gradually climbs over 10,000 feet over Cameron Pass leaving less than 30 miles to Walden, the moose viewing capital of Colorado!

Elevation Profile: 88 mi +6035 ft / -3160 ft

E.F.I. – Elevation Profile: 100 mi +6505 ft / -3375 ft

Day 4: Rabbit Ears Pass
60 miles with up to 2,945 feet of climbing
E.F.I. – 79 miles with up to 4,525 feet of climbing

Though today holds the least amount of climbing, it is a special occasion crossing the Continental Divide. The day starts off lightly rolling amidst open high prairies. The road traces the Grizzly River to the base of Rabbit Ears Pass. From there, it is less than 1,000 feet to the Pacific side! Looking up at the volcanic basalt columns making the ‘ears’, keep an eye out for the pink breccia layer at the base. There are a few miles of alpine meadows before a rapid 7 mile descent to Steamboat Springs. Make sure to save time to soak in the hot springs after all these miles.

EFI riders can take the long way around Quarry Mountain for an extra 20 miles and 1,500 feet of climbing. Note,this loop will have riders go over a 6 mile gravel section, but it should be embraced. Gravel roads are an integral part of riding around Steamboat and the soul of the cycling culture here.

Elevation Profile: 60 mi +2945 ft / -4325 ft

E.F.I. – Elevation Profile: 79 mi +4525 ft / -5910 ft

Day 5: Layover Day in Steamboat – Steamboat Lake Loop
Optional: 58 miles with up to 3,250 feet of climbing

With so much to do in Steamboat Springs, we have a day to explore. Surrounded by the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and lift access, there is no shortage of hiking or mountain biking available. If hanging around town is more your thing, there are plenty of shops in the downtown district. If you didn’t hit the hot springs the day before, make sure to get in. For a more remote springs, there are tours of Strawberry Hot Springs in the mountains. For those looking to ride more, we will do the Steamboat Lake Loop.

With the option to make your own adventure, this day’s lunch and dinner is on your own.

Elevation Profile: 58 mi +3250 ft / -3245 ft

Day 6: Steamboat to Wolcott
70 miles with up to 5,245 feet of climbing

Our final day is a ride south first passing the 820-ace Stagecoach Reservoir. Then the ride will continue along the base of the Gore Mountain Range, painting the eastern skyline with bare rocky peaks the entire way. The road also has a brief border with the Colorado River just 100 miles into its 1,450 mile journey. Ending in Wolcott, we will load up and make our way back to Denver to end the tour.

Elevation Profile: 70 mi +5245 ft / -4990 ft

Northern Colorado Bike 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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