12,499 f
5,310 f
219.46 mi

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near Southpark, Colorado (United States)

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The Colorado Trail is a spectacular and long route that crosses a large part of the state of Colorado from North to South. It is a route that is mainly done on foot but that due to the fact that it has many cyclable pieces it is also made in BTT. But it must be taken into account that there will be many pieces that we will have to do on foot and by dragging the bike, you have to be very mentally aware of it, because you can only cross this route. It will also depend a lot on the technical level we have since 70% of the route is a path and many pieces are quite technical as a climb or downhill and we have the same level we will walk more pieces. We will find pieces of fantastic, well-arranged trails that will make us enjoy ourselves and other climbing pieces that despite being well-fixed are very hard to climb (especially if we are loaded, as is usually the case if we take the whole route), others Pieces very stony where we will have to push the bike. Here, these types of routes call it "hike-to-bike" that means btt-a-foot. But to compensate for the landscapes are fantastic and the endless paths.
The territory through which much of the route passes is quite inhospitable and therefore we have to be self-sufficient for a few days. In the 850km of the route we will only pass through 4 villages where we can recover forces and supply them.

It's called bikepacking to carry everything that is essential above with the least weight on this type of sporting routes (tent, sack, inflatable mat, food ...). Usually with a bag behind the seat, a bag in front and a bag in the box, instead of the typical side bunkers used on more cycling routes.

The average height of the route is 3000m and we will pass a few nests of almost 4000m, the advantage we have is that doing the route in the north-south direction, the height is progressively increasing and this goes well for the ' acclimatization
We made the route in 16 days including the ascent to Mont Elbert on foot and we had a central bag in the backpack behind the bike and sacked and stowed in the front. It is recommended to carry the minimum weight and to calculate the food very well between the different points where we can buy things.

The route begins in Denver (the capital of Colorado) and in 850kms and 22,000m of positive altitude approx. arrives in the city of Durango. During the route, the trail passes through six nature reserves (wilderness areas) that are prohibited by BTT and we will have to make variations to be able to re-hook with the trail. In these variants we go through the different towns (not very large) where we can buy food (ressupply points), sleep in motels, showers, restaurant ...
Along the trail, we will find many campsites, which are nothing more than pieces in the middle of the woodland without any type of service, more or less plans to plant the store (some are more arranged for free campuses with toilets and then they are free) .
Water theme is not a problem since there are many streams (creeks) throughout the trail (we put water purification pumps in case).
Highly recommended to follow the route and infos of interest is the Colorado Trail databook and the maps of the National geographic (1202 North and 1201 South).
The route is well signposted in general except for BTT variants. The beginning of the trail is about 30kms approx. from downtown Denver. We will arrive using the train from Union Station to Littleton mineral which is the train stop.

Route description:
The track starts at this train station and asphalted bike lanes and good tracks at approximately 30kms reach the beginning of the Colorado Trail. We sleep in the middle of this stretch.

Segment 1:
From here we follow a track of 14km through a canyon where we already found different wild animals (wild goats, deer, squirrels). After passing the prey, the infinite paths begin.

In South Platte we cross a large river by a wooden bridge (it is highly recommended to take a lot of water because it follows a very dry, very dry, unpredictable and very desolate piece of wood (forest fire a few years ago, with heat perhaps very hard).
When we cross the road to Buffalo Creek there is a firehouse where water can be loaded in a fountain. We sleep at the end of the segment at Little Scraggy.

Segment 3:
Pretty pieces of very cool paths inside the woods up to Rolling Creek. From here we make the first variant to avoid reservation wilderness.

Variant Bayley:
The guide recommends varying in the south but we do it by the north since it is much shorter and it goes through Bayley (small village with outdoor store (with freeze-dried food and camping items), bar and super restaurant (especially alcohol, tobacco and firearms ) The only hurdle of this variant is that the final part is through the busy highway 285, ascent, little "arc" and the cars and trucks going like crazy. At the end we reach the Kenosha Pass pass where there is a camping free

Segment 6:
First very clear path and great views of the plains. After harsh gains, quite cyclable to the Georgia pass (3620m). We continue with a combination of cyclables and loading up to a very humid descent to Horseshoe gulf where we cross a mountain bike race (climbing up some strong pineapples with a fixed pinion, no change!). The segment ends at the crossing of the national road 9.
From here we can reach two villages, Frisco and Breckenridge with all kinds of services and a lot of tourist. To get there, there are very quiet bike lanes. We went to Breckenridge and we regained the track again.

Segment 7:
One of the toughest of the trail, it's a long climb, dragging a lot, we crossed a burnt forest that same summer and with strong stone rises, very hard. Until crossing a 3800m collar with very good views and then descending very loudly with some pieces on foot until you reach Cooper Mountain.
Another option instead of doing this harsh segment would be to go to Frisco by bike lanes and join the trail along a bike lane to Cooper Mountain avoiding climbing the 3800m.

Segment 8:
Cooper Mountain is a ski center with few services. The trail is crossing tracks and on a long path by cyclable trail crossing the Searl Pass and later the Kokomo Pass. Great panoramic and fantastic landscapes. Long descent with stone forces at the end to the Camp Hale plain. Where we can see some bunkers that served as training for the soldiers who went to World War II. The trail continues to go up and down paths with cyclable pieces until it finally rains and we decide to cut along the wide track and road and reach the Tenesse Pass, where the BTT variant begins to avoid Holy Cross and Mount Massive Wilderness.

Leadville Variant:
Long road variant almost all down to the Town of Leadville (all kinds of services and some motels). We arrive late and raining and for dessert the next day they do a BTT race and the accommodations are all collapsed. Luckily we can talk to the owner of a motel and rent us a room in his house (a great experience and shower, laundry and sleep on a well-deserved bed).
The variant follows the plains to the foot of Mount Elbert, the highest peak in the Rocosas mountain range of 4400m and joins the segment 11 of the trail.

Segment 11:
First step on foot and then very cool and winding until we find the "Mount Elbert South" turnoff, where we decide to divert the Colorado trail and climb the path to Mount Elbert summit. We climb by bike up to 3500m aprox, path generally cyclable but with very strong footpaths. We park bikes and packages and after lunch we climb on foot to the summit at around 2:30 a.m. We reach the summit and the time changes with a small snowfall and everything. Downhill, where we have bikes and descents until we find the Colorado Trail again. Follow a very cyclable piece surrounding the Twin Lakes, a drier environment. Hard pieces of drag and at the end of the segment we have to divert ourselves to avoid Collegiate Peaks Wilderness.

Variant Buenavista:
Highway and wide rolling track to Buenavista (all services). From here we will only find a small spa resort the next day with just a super (right) and then we were 6 days without any possibility of buying anything until Silverton. Lots of heat, we continue on the road to join again with the trail making a small cut in South Cottonwood.

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