Great Divide Colorado Alpine
The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route has been a joy for thrillseekers for more than 20 years, and you can join the party in style along the iconic route’s sky-scraping Colorado alpine section. Most of the riding is above 9,000 feet, and some of the Rocky Mountains’ highest peaks will be your companions on this bucket-list–worthy tour along the world’s longest mountain bike route.
Between Steamboat Springs and Kremmling, we’ll meander through a mellow mountain landscape before descending, seemingly forever, to the Colorado River at Radium. It’s one of the most dramatic dives on the entire Great Divide Route. We’ll also ride through the bustling resort area of Breckenridge before ascending Boreas Pass. The last day’s ride into Salida follows a twisty doubletrack that offers incredible views across the Arkansas River valley to some of the most spectacular 14ers in Colorado.
"Getting to know a new group of people is always a highlight. As the trip begins the biggest thing we have in common is our bikes and our interest in touring ... by the end of the trip we discover other interests and even differences that make for a fun and interesting dynamic."
Day 1. Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 0 miles
We’ll meet in the fun-hog haven of Steamboat Springs, where we’ll have a map meeting, orientation, and get our bikes ready to go. You can get to know your tour leaders and your fellow cyclists as we get excited for the days ahead. For anyone who needs to make a last-minute fix to their touring steed, there are plenty of bike shops in Steamboat. Rest up tonight — we’ve got a lot of great riding in the days ahead!
Day 2. Steamboat Springs to Lynx Pass, 42 miles
Today’s ride finds us winding through the streets of Steamboat Springs and past Howelsen Hill, home of one of the first ski jumps in the U.S. We will exit the town and ride along the Yampa River and through Stagecoach Lake State Park before we begin our climb up to Lynx Pass. As you near the top of the pass, look to the right to see a place where the mesa has slumped off. If you are feeling adventurous, you can ride to the edge of that slump after setting up camp in primitive Lynx Pass.
Day 3. Lynx Pass to Kremmling, 41 miles
Today we will climb the final few feet to the apex of Lynx Pass before crossing a highway and a river crossing — you might want to take your shoes off for that — and we’ll then begin an amazing descent to the Colorado River at Radium. This is a popular rafting jump-off point, so be sure to take a look at the rafters before remounting your bike for a couple of deceptively steep climbs. Today we are back in civilization in the town of Kremmling. Be sure to ride around the town square before heading over to our campground and showers at the edge of town.
Day 4. Kremmling to Silverthorne, 57 miles
Today we will cross U.S. 40 and the Colorado River before plunging back into the forest. We’ll go past the Williams Fork Reservoir before passing a number of lonely ranches on our way to a quick break along the rushing Williams Fork river before our next order of business: tackling Ute Pass. There was some mining in recent years at the pass, so we’ll transition to pavement for a fast descent and some beautiful views of the Gore Range to the west. We’ll turn south on CO 9 and become reoriented to traffic as we ride to the town of Silverthorne, home of outlet malls and fast food. Riding past, we’ll go to our campground for the night on the shores of the Dillon Reservoir.
Day 5. Layover day in Silverthorne, 0 mile
Layover day. Today we have all the delights of Summit County at our disposal. Want to have a laid-back lunch on the main street of Frisco? Go shopping at the stores of Breckenridge? Gaze at the ski mountain at Keystone? All of this is at our fingertips today.
Day 6. Silverthorne to Selkirk, 30 miles
Today we’ll continue heading south, riding along the shores of Dillon Reservoir before taking the bike path to Breckenridge. Here we will find Boreas Pass Road, and ride along the old railroad grade all the way to the top of the pass, where we leave the treeline behind and visit the ruins of what was once the highest-elevation post office in the U.S. That distinction is now held by Leadville, one ridge to the west of us. We’ll descend the other side partway to the primitive and remote campground for our overnight location.
Day 7. Selkirk to Hartsel, 36 miles
Today’s ride takes us down the south side of Boreas Pass to the old railroad town of Como. There is a small restaurant in town, the ruins of a railroad turntable, and not much else. But that is the way of South Park, which we will be riding through the rest of the day. Hartsel, our destination for the night, has a tavern and a convenience store and is also a stop on the infamous TransAmerica Trail.
Day 8. Hartsel to Salida, 49 miles
Today we continue through South Park, making a gradual climb to the rim and a huge descent into Salida. Along the way there are sweeping views of a number of peaks in the Collegiate Range, and we’ll end up riding in the Arkansas River valley, a rafting enthusiast’s nirvana. The trout aren’t so bad either. We’ll have our celebratory dinner out tonight before settling into our campground for the night.
Day 9. Shuttle from Salida to Steamboat Springs
After breakfast, we will end our tour on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route with a three-hour shuttle in the Adventure Cycling van back to the trailhead in Steamboat Springs, reminiscing about the awe-inspiring beauty of the Rocky Mountain Range and the Great Divide.