7 Best Cycling Routes in Colorado Rockies (Beginner to Challenging)

Best Cycling Routes in Colorado Rockies
Table of Contents

Colorado Rockies offer a diverse range of cycling routes, from beginner-friendly trails to challenging ascents, providing cyclists with breathtaking landscapes, thrilling rides, and serene journeys.

Here are seven of the best cycling routes in the Colorado Rockies, ranging from beginner to challenging levels:

Key Takeaways:

  • Trail Ridge Road: A 48-mile route from Estes Park to Grand Lake, reaching an elevation of over 12,000 feet.
  • Mt. Evans: A ride from Idaho Springs that takes you from 8,700 feet to 14,240 feet over 49 miles, offering stunning views.
  • Lookout Mountain: A short but famous road cycling climb near Golden, with a 5-mile route and great views.
  • Turquoise Lake: A 15-mile loop near Leadville, with quiet roads and beautiful scenery.
  • Colorado National Monument: A 40-mile loop between Fruita and Grand Junction, featuring stunning canyon views and park exploration.

These routes provide a range of options for cyclists looking to explore the natural beauty of the Colorado Rockies.

Trail Ridge Road: A Scenic Cycling Adventure

Experience a scenic adventure along the Trail Ridge Road, a 48-mile route that spans from Estes Park to Grand Lake and offers breathtaking views of the Colorado Rockies. This cycling route takes you on a journey through some of the most stunning landscapes in the region, with the road reaching an elevation of over 12,000 feet.

As you pedal along Trail Ridge Road, you’ll be treated to panoramic vistas of towering mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and lush alpine meadows. The route winds its way through Rocky Mountain National Park, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty and serenity of the Colorado Rockies.

Whether you’re a beginner looking for a leisurely ride or a seasoned cyclist seeking a thrilling challenge, Trail Ridge Road caters to all skill levels. With its combination of awe-inspiring scenery and thrilling ascents, this cycling route promises an unforgettable adventure for riders of all abilities.

Route Elevation Distance
Trail Ridge Road Over 12,000 feet 48 miles

Key Highlights of Trail Ridge Road:

  • Breathtaking views of the Colorado Rockies
  • Opportunities to spot wildlife along the way
  • Chance to explore Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Varied terrain, from gentle slopes to challenging climbs
  • Plenty of rest stops and scenic viewpoints

Embark on a memorable journey along Trail Ridge Road and discover the beauty and wonder of the Colorado Rockies from the saddle of your bike. Whether you’re captivated by the serene trails or thrilled by the exhilarating climbs, this cycling adventure is sure to leave you with incredible memories and a deep appreciation for the natural splendor of the region.

Route Elevation Distance
Trail Ridge Road Over 12,000 feet 48 miles

Mt. Evans: A Thrilling Climb with Spectacular Views

Embark on a thrilling climb up Mt. Evans, starting in Idaho Springs and reaching an impressive elevation of 14,240 feet, offering cyclists spectacular views along the way. As you ascend on this challenging 49-mile route, be prepared to push yourself physically and mentally, as the steep inclines and high altitude test your endurance and determination.

The journey begins in the charming town of Idaho Springs, where you’ll pedal your way through picturesque landscapes, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Colorado Rockies. The route gradually takes you higher and higher, rewarding your efforts with breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

As you approach the summit, the air becomes thinner, but the views become more awe-inspiring. The panoramic vistas from the top of Mt. Evans are nothing short of extraordinary, offering a humbling perspective of the world below. Take a moment to catch your breath and soak in the surrounding beauty before descending back down to Idaho Springs.

What to bring on your Mt. Evans adventure:

  • A well-maintained and reliable bicycle suitable for challenging climbs
  • Proper cycling gear, including a helmet, padded shorts, and comfortable shoes
  • Sufficient water and snacks to keep you hydrated and fueled throughout the ride
  • A repair kit and basic tools in case of any mechanical issues
  • Appropriate clothing layers to adjust to the changing weather conditions at higher elevations
Distance Elevation Gain Starting Point End Point
49 miles 5,540 feet Idaho Springs Mt. Evans Summit

Prepare yourself mentally and physically for the challenges that await on the Mt. Evans cycling route. Embrace the opportunity to push your limits, surrounded by the awe-inspiring beauty of the Colorado Rockies. Whether you conquer the climb or simply enjoy the journey, this route offers an unforgettable experience for cyclists of all skill levels.

Lookout Mountain: A Must-Ride Climb near Golden

Don’t miss the chance to conquer Lookout Mountain, a renowned road cycling climb near Golden, known for its great views and easily addable to other rides in the vicinity. This short but famous 5-mile route offers a thrilling challenge that is perfect for cyclists looking to test their climbing skills.

As you ascend Lookout Mountain, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of the surrounding Colorado Rockies. The panoramic views of the city of Denver, the Front Range, and the stunning foothills make this climb truly unforgettable. Whether you’re a local cyclist or visiting the area, Lookout Mountain is an absolute must-ride.

Table: Lookout Mountain Route Details

Distance Elevation Gain Road Surface
5 miles 1,454 feet Paved

The Lookout Mountain route is easily accessible and can be added onto other rides in the area, making it a versatile option for cyclists of all levels. Whether you’re an experienced rider seeking a challenging climb or a beginner looking to push your limits, Lookout Mountain offers a rewarding experience.

So gear up, hop on your bike, and get ready to conquer Lookout Mountain. The combination of a thrilling climb, great views, and its convenient location near Golden makes this road cycling route a true gem in the Colorado Rockies.

Turquoise Lake: Serene Beauty near Leadville

Immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Turquoise Lake, a 15-mile loop near Leadville that takes cyclists on quiet roads and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. As you pedal along this scenic route, you’ll be captivated by the tranquil atmosphere and the stunning natural wonders that unfold before you.

Surrounded by towering mountains and nestled amidst lush forests, Turquoise Lake is a hidden gem that showcases Colorado’s pristine beauty. The peacefulness of the area allows cyclists to fully appreciate the tranquility of nature and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With each pedal stroke, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring sights and the melody of birdsong.

The 15-mile loop around Turquoise Lake boasts smooth roads that wind their way through the picturesque surroundings. As you cycle, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking vistas at every turn, with the shimmering lake reflecting the majestic peaks. The quiet roads make for a peaceful and uninterrupted ride, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the stunning scenery.

Whether you’re a beginner cyclist seeking a leisurely ride or an experienced rider looking for a peaceful getaway, the Turquoise Lake cycling route is sure to delight. So grab your bike, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and embark on a journey that will leave you with unforgettable memories of Colorado’s natural beauty.

Colorado National Monument: A Scenic Canyon Ride

Indulge in the beauty of Colorado National Monument, a 40-mile loop between Fruita and Grand Junction that offers cyclists breathtaking views of the canyons and a chance to explore the park. This iconic cycling route takes you through a stunning landscape of towering red rock formations, deep canyons, and sweeping vistas. The Colorado National Monument is a true gem of the Rockies, and this ride allows you to immerse yourself in its natural splendor.

As you pedal along the winding roads, you’ll be treated to unparalleled views of the rugged canyons. The sheer cliffs rising from the canyon floor create a dramatic backdrop that will leave you in awe. Take your time to soak in the beauty and snap some photos to capture the memories.

Exploring the Park

In addition to the scenic ride, the Colorado National Monument offers various opportunities for park exploration. You can stop at the visitor center to learn about the geology and history of the area, or take a short hike on one of the many trails that wind through the park. Keep an eye out for wildlife, such as bighorn sheep and mule deer, as you traverse the park’s diverse terrain.

Whether you’re an experienced cyclist or just starting out, the Colorado National Monument route offers a truly unforgettable experience. So grab your bike, hit the road, and prepare to be amazed by the stunning canyon views and the natural wonders of this majestic park.

Route Distance Elevation Gain Difficulty
Colorado National Monument 40 miles Varies Intermediate

Copper Triangle: Conquering Three Mountain Passes

Conquer the Copper Triangle, an organized ride that takes you over three Colorado mountain passes, providing a challenging and rewarding experience with a total elevation gain of 6,000 feet. This iconic cycling route showcases the breathtaking beauty of the Colorado Rockies, taking you through some of the most picturesque landscapes in the region. Whether you’re an avid cyclist seeking a rigorous adventure or simply looking to test your limits, the Copper Triangle is sure to deliver an unforgettable journey.

As you embark on this epic ride, you’ll tackle three mountain passes: Fremont Pass, Tennessee Pass, and Vail Pass. Each pass presents its own unique set of challenges, from steep gradients to winding roads that traverse the rugged terrain. But with challenge comes reward, as you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring views at every turn. Be prepared to pedal through evergreen forests, alongside sparkling rivers, and amidst towering peaks that will leave you in awe of nature’s grandeur.

Mountain Pass Elevation Distance
Fremont Pass 11,318 feet 12 miles
Tennessee Pass 10,424 feet 13 miles
Vail Pass 10,662 feet 10 miles

This popular ride attracts cyclists from all over the world, and its well-organized support system ensures a seamless experience. Aid stations along the route provide much-needed fuel and hydration, allowing you to stay energized throughout the challenging climbs. The camaraderie among participants creates a vibrant atmosphere, making this ride as much about community as it is about conquering the mountains.

So, gather your gear, prepare your legs, and get ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime. The Copper Triangle awaits, offering an exhilarating ride through the heart of the Colorado Rockies that will leave you with lasting memories and a sense of accomplishment.

Monarch Crest: Thrilling Mountain Biking Adventure

Embark on a thrilling mountain biking adventure along the Monarch Crest, a 35-mile route starting at Monarch Pass. This high-altitude singletrack ride offers breathtaking views and is a must-do for avid mountain bikers.

The Monarch Crest route takes you through stunning alpine terrain, from dense forests to open meadows, and rewards you with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The trail is known for its technical challenges, with rocky sections and steep descents that will test your skills and provide an adrenaline rush.

As you ride along the Monarch Crest, keep an eye out for wildlife such as deer, elk, and even the occasional mountain goat. The route is also dotted with scenic overlooks where you can take a break and soak in the beauty of the Colorado Rockies.

Route: Monarch Crest
Start: Monarch Pass
Distance: 35 miles
Difficulty: Advanced
Highlights: High-altitude singletrack, breathtaking views, technical challenges

Make sure to come prepared with a well-maintained mountain bike, protective gear, and plenty of water and snacks for the journey. The trail can be demanding, but the sense of accomplishment and the unforgettable views make it all worth it. So, gear up, hit the trail, and experience the thrill of the Monarch Crest mountain biking adventure in the stunning Colorado Rockies.

Exploring Other Scenic Routes and Destinations

In addition to the highlighted routes, there are other scenic routes and cycling destinations worth exploring in the Colorado Rockies. These additional options offer cyclists the opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and diverse landscapes of the region. Whether you’re seeking challenging climbs, breathtaking views, or serene trails, these destinations will not disappoint.

One popular destination is Maroon Bells, known for its iconic twin peaks and stunning alpine scenery. Located near Aspen, this area offers a variety of cycling routes that allow you to experience the beauty of these majestic mountains.

Pikes Peak is another must-visit destination, offering a challenging climb and panoramic views from the summit. With its rich history and breathtaking vistas, this iconic Colorado landmark is a favorite among cyclists seeking a memorable adventure.

Glenwood Springs is a charming town nestled in the heart of the Rockies, offering a variety of cycling routes for all skill levels. From leisurely rides along the Colorado River to exhilarating mountain trails, this destination has something for everyone.

Lastly, Mount Evans, located near Idaho Springs, provides cyclists with an unforgettable experience. With its high elevation, stunning views, and challenging climbs, this destination is a favorite among cycling enthusiasts looking for an adrenaline-filled adventure.

Scenic Route/Cycling Destination Highlights
Maroon Bells Iconic twin peaks, alpine scenery
Pikes Peak Challenging climb, panoramic views
Glenwood Springs Beautiful river rides, mountain trails
Mount Evans High elevation, stunning views, challenging climbs

Best Time to Cycle in the Colorado Rockies

Planning your cycling trip to the Colorado Rockies? Learn about the best times to ride, considering seasonal factors, road conditions, and holidays such as Memorial Day and Labor Day.

During the summer months, from June to August, the Colorado Rockies offer ideal conditions for cycling. The weather is generally warm and sunny, making it perfect for outdoor activities. The roads are clear of snow, and you can enjoy the breathtaking landscapes and serene trails to the fullest. Be prepared for occasional afternoon thunderstorms, so it’s advisable to start your rides early in the day. It’s also worth noting that summer is a popular time for tourism, so be prepared for more crowds, especially in popular areas.

Winter in the Colorado Rockies brings colder temperatures and snow, making it more challenging for cycling. While some cyclists enjoy fat biking on snow-packed trails, it’s important to be well-equipped and have experience riding in winter conditions. Always check the weather forecast and road conditions before heading out, as some routes may be closed or require special precautions. If you plan to cycle in the winter, consider visiting during the shoulder season when the weather is milder, and there are fewer tourists.

Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends are popular times for cycling in the Colorado Rockies. These long weekends make for an ideal opportunity to explore the stunning routes and enjoy the scenic beauty of the region. However, keep in mind that these holidays also attract more visitors, so you may encounter more traffic on the roads. Plan your rides accordingly and be prepared for busier trails and parking areas.

It’s essential to consider the impact of seasonal factors on your cycling experience in the Colorado Rockies. Always check local resources for up-to-date information on road conditions, closures, and any changes in weather patterns. By planning your trip around the best times to cycle, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure in the beautiful Colorado Rockies.

Season Considerations
Summer (June-August) – Warm and sunny weather
– Clear roads and trails
– Afternoon thunderstorms
– Higher number of tourists
Winter (December-February) – Cold temperatures and snow
– Some routes may be closed
– Requires special equipment and precautions
– Fewer tourists during shoulder season
Memorial Day and Labor Day – Ideal for long weekends
– More visitors and traffic
– Plan rides and parking accordingly

Tips for Cyclists Exploring the Colorado Rockies

Before embarking on your cycling adventure in the Colorado Rockies, take note of these useful tips to ensure you have the best experience possible, covering equipment, preparation, hydration, and safety measures.

1. Equipment: Make sure you have a well-maintained bike that is suitable for the terrain you plan to ride. Check your brakes, gears, and tires before setting off, and carry a basic repair kit with you. Don’t forget to wear a helmet for your safety.

2. Preparation: Familiarize yourself with the route you plan to take and the weather conditions you may encounter. It’s essential to pack appropriate clothing layers for changing temperatures and always carry a map or GPS device. Consider your fitness level and choose a route that suits your abilities.

3. Hydration: Staying hydrated is crucial when cycling in the high altitudes of the Colorado Rockies. Carry plenty of water, and drink regularly throughout your ride. A hydration pack or water bottles attached to your bike frame can be convenient options.

4. Safety: Take safety precautions seriously to minimize risks. Follow traffic rules and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Use hand signals to communicate with other road users, and ride defensively. Consider wearing high-visibility clothing, especially during low-light conditions.

Essential Gear Checklist
Equipment Description
Bike A well-maintained bike suitable for the terrain
Helmet For your safety
Repair Kit Basic tools and spare tubes
Clothing Layered clothing for changing temperatures
Map or GPS To navigate your route
Water Plenty of water for hydration
High-Visibility Clothing For increased visibility on the road

By following these tips and being prepared, you can fully enjoy the breathtaking landscapes, thrilling ascents, and serene trails that the Colorado Rockies have to offer. Stay safe, have fun, and happy cycling!


The Colorado Rockies offer cyclists an incredible array of experiences, from beginner-friendly routes to challenging ascents, all amidst the backdrop of stunning natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination for cycling enthusiasts.

Whether you’re seeking breathtaking landscapes, thrilling climbs, or serene trails, these seven best cycling routes in the Colorado Rockies have something for everyone. From the scenic adventure of Trail Ridge Road, with its panoramic views and elevation reaching over 12,000 feet, to the thrilling climb of Mt. Evans, where you can conquer an elevation of 14,240 feet and enjoy spectacular views, each route promises a unique and unforgettable experience.

If you’re looking for shorter rides with great views, Lookout Mountain near Golden and the 15-mile loop around Turquoise Lake near Leadville provide picturesque routes that showcase the beauty of the region. For those seeking a more challenging and rewarding ride, the organized Copper Triangle ride takes you over three mountain passes and offers a total elevation gain of 6,000 feet. And if you prefer mountain biking, the Monarch Crest route starting at Monarch Pass will provide a thrilling adventure with stunning high-altitude singletrack.

With additional suggested routes and destinations like Maroon Bells, Pikes Peak, Glenwood Springs, and Mount Evans, there are plenty of opportunities to further explore the natural beauty of the Colorado Rockies on two wheels. Just be sure to plan your visit during the best times, considering seasonal factors like summer and winter, as well as road conditions and other seasonal considerations. And don’t forget to equip yourself, prepare adequately, stay hydrated, and prioritize safety as you embark on your cycling adventure in this diverse and breathtaking region.


Q: What are the best cycling routes in the Colorado Rockies?

A: Here are seven of the best cycling routes in the Colorado Rockies: Trail Ridge Road, Mt. Evans, Lookout Mountain, Turquoise Lake, Colorado National Monument, Copper Triangle, and Monarch Crest.

Q: How challenging are these cycling routes?

A: The cycling routes in the Colorado Rockies range from beginner to challenging levels, offering options for cyclists of all skill levels.

Q: What can I expect to see on these cycling routes?

A: These routes provide breathtaking landscapes, stunning views, thrilling ascents, serene trails, and beautiful scenery.

Q: Where is Trail Ridge Road located?

A: Trail Ridge Road starts in Estes Park and takes you to Grand Lake, reaching an elevation of over 12,000 feet.

Q: What are the starting and ending points of the Mt. Evans route?

A: The Mt. Evans route starts in Idaho Springs and takes you to an elevation of 14,240 feet, offering spectacular views along the way.

Q: How long is the Lookout Mountain route?

A: Lookout Mountain is a short 5-mile road cycling climb near Golden, providing great views and the possibility to combine it with other rides in the area.

Q: Tell me more about the Turquoise Lake route.

A: The Turquoise Lake route is a 15-mile loop around the 780-acre lake near Leadville, featuring quiet roads and beautiful scenery.

Q: What does the Colorado National Monument route offer?

A: The Colorado National Monument route is a 40-mile loop between Fruita and Grand Junction, offering stunning canyon views and a variety of ways to explore the park.

Q: What can I expect from the Copper Triangle route?

A: The Copper Triangle is an organized ride that takes you over three Colorado mountain passes, with a total elevation gain of 6,000 feet.

Q: What does the Monarch Crest route offer for mountain bikers?

A: The Monarch Crest route is a 35-mile ride beginning at Monarch Pass, providing high-altitude singletrack trails and beautiful views.

Q: Are there other scenic routes and destinations to explore in the Colorado Rockies?

A: Yes, in addition to the seven mentioned routes, you can also consider exploring Maroon Bells, Pikes Peak, Glenwood Springs, and Mount Evans for more scenic cycling experiences.

Q: When is the best time to cycle in the Colorado Rockies?

A: The best time to cycle in the Colorado Rockies is typically during the summer months, but it’s important to consider factors such as road conditions, weather, and seasonal holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Q: What tips do you have for cyclists exploring the Colorado Rockies?

A: Some tips for cyclists exploring the Colorado Rockies include ensuring you have the appropriate equipment, preparing for varying weather conditions, staying hydrated, and prioritizing safety by following traffic rules and using proper signaling.

Source Links

About The Author

daniel in queenstown with mountain bike

Want To Receive Exclusive Offers, Tips & Freebies?