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

Northern Colorado Bike Tour

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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 Graffitti Milk Truck

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

2021 Tour Dates:

Northern Colorado Bike Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

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

Arrival Town/Airport: Denver, Colorado (Denver International Airport – DIA)

Departing Town/Airport: 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: $2,890 per person. Group discount of 5% for groups of 4 or more.
Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

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. Non-Riding spouses and partners can join a tour's meal plan of three meals a day for $85 per day.

Early Bird 2021 Special: Sign-up for a 2021 tour by October 31, 2020 and receive a $150 discount! (NOTE: New reservations only. Not stackable with other discounts)

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

Meeting/Ending Hotel: The Night 0 meeting hotel is the Courtyard by Marriott Denver Airport which is not included in the tour cost. The Courtyard offers a a complimentary 24-hour airport shuttle every 20 minutes.

NOTE: 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.

Lodging for 5 Nights: (subject to change)

Bike Rental

In 2020 Lizard Head Cycling is renting a fleet of Scott Addict 10 carbon road bikes for only $250/week. The Scott Addict offer full carbon frames, Shimano Ultegra components, 34x32 low gearing, 32mm tires, and disc brakes. Altogether, the Scott Addict provides a smooth and comfortable ride for our guests. Rental bikes include pump, tools, and spare tubes.

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

For more information, please email or call 970.728.5891

Take your bike home! Click here for more information.

Read a Review on the SCOTT Addict 10

Electric Bike Rental (E-Bikes): 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.

Couples Bike Rental Discount: Sign up as a couple and receive one free bike high performance rental per couple ($250 value. Pedal bikes only, E-Bikes excluded).

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

Northern 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: 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 Wilcott
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

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.

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