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Aspens usually means there is water. Afternoon storm pushing us towards Spring Creek Pass... At the pass we met Justin, who was supporting his dad’s CTD hike. On the other side of things, my thru-bike started September 16th and ended October 5th with two rest days built in. Bikepacking the Colorado Trail takes a hearty soul — and a handpicked selection of gear. Yes, I know a BAKraft isn’t a true packraft but the portable size and lighter weight lend it to the same purpose. I mention it in another article discussing gear for the Colorado Trail, but the CatEye Enduro was economical and worked flawlessly on the trail. Arriving at the Junction Creek Trailhead, we celebrated briefly in the parking lot before rolling to town for tacos and margaritas. Ten Takeaways From Bikepacking The Colorado Trail. We ended up getting a room in town as rain was in the forecast most of that night and next morning. There are significant sections of exposure as well as the rock wall at Papago, so be prepared for those sections to be the crux of the trip. I’ve had the pleasure of using this piece of gear for the past two years, and wanted to write up a couple thoughts on why it rocks, as well as mention some caveats to be aware of! We woke up Saturday morning and rolled into Copper for the best and most expensive breakfast of my life. MAP: Trails Illustrated PERMITS: none (easy self-registration for wilderness areas) DESIGNATION: primarily 7 different National Forests BEST SEASONS: July, August, September DISTANCE: 485 miles from Denver to Durango WATER: I thru-hiked with 4 liters capacity. The Colorado Trail (CT) is fairly easy to get to on either end as the race pretty much starts in towns. UltraMTB founder Kurt Refsnider, Ph.D., the only person to have won each of the bikepacking Triple Crown events - the Colorado Trail Race (2019), the Arizona Trail 750 (2018), and Tour Divide (2011). They gave him some water and exchanged contact info as he was planning to stop in Tucson after his hike. KAVU has been making awesome hats since their start in 1993, and the Chillba continues the trend as an iconic, functional hat. Marty is an Incredible rider and genuine human, and we were buzzing from his presence for the rest of the day, as it was nice to ride with an extra friend. Since the Wilderness detours follow public roads, there isn’t any Colorado Trail signage. The trail was absolutely incredible—we were in alpine terrain all day as we worked towards Stoney Pass. This article is part of a series about bikepacking the Colorado Trail. Following the route is easy using road signs and the turn by turn directions in the Databook, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a simple bike computer to keep track of miles. The following video tells the story of three Canadians; Jonny Bath, Michael Bain and myself. In summary, a slightly generous season for the trail would be early July to very early October. At a length of more than 540 miles and 70,000 feet of vertical gain – at an average altitude around 10,000 feet – it’s a formidable route bound to challenge riders physically and mentally. If you haven’t already you should read the introductory article which gives a brief overview of the trail as well as my experience bikepacking the trail in the fall of 2016. 3. I had previously used IKs on the Tatshenshini and Nahanni, so I knew how much gear they could haul, and I was excited to put my new craft to use on a remote stretch of river. Carrying the most recent Colorado Trail Databook is a must, despite the trail being marked very well. If you’re looking into cheaper options it might be worth posting online at Trail Forums or WhiteBlaze to see if others have suggestions from the past. All of a sudden, the sky got dark and it started raining and hailing very hard. Instead, race director Jefe Branham encouraged riders keen to tackle all 545 miles of the largely singletrack Colorado Trail at race pace to do so independently throughout the summer. The photographs are beautiful too, so it's a fun book to look through and reference while planning your trip. It’s amazing that after so many days of riding, the only mechanical was at the end of it all. After a brief, crushing storm we were soaked but moving toward clear skies. The Colorado Trail (CT) stretches over 486-miles between Denver and Durango and encompasses a landscape home to everything from high elevations and exposed summits, to alpine meadows studded with wildflowers, to dense spruce forests and raging waterfalls. It was pretty chilly by the end, and the threat of significant snow was certainly looming. The Colorado Trail can be a life-changing experience if you let it! OFF-ROAD EXPEDITION / WORLD TOURING / CREATIVE THINKING, Bikepacking The Colorado Trail With Sam Skidmore. If you have questions or feel that there should be another topic in here, please leave a comment in the form below! There are a few more posts in the series covering things like gear, food, and beautiful pictures from the Colorado Trail. THE BIKE: My bike of choise for the Colorado Trail is a Kona Hei Hei DL 29er with a Maxxis Ardent Race 2.35 in front and a Aspen 2.25 in rear. This guide is geared towards bikepackers, but much of the information could also be beneficial to backpackers. An inflatable backpacking pillow was the last thing on my wish list at the time, but I splurged recently and purchased the Fillo by Nemo Equipment. View of the outskirts of Breckenridge while descending from the Colorado Trail. While this guide covers many aspects of the Colorado Trail it is by no means comprehensive. Sign up to receive newsletter updates from the site. MAP: Trails Illustrated PERMITS: none (easy self-registration for wilderness areas) DESIGNATION: primarily 7 different National Forests BEST SEASONS: July, August, September DISTANCE: 485 miles from Denver to Durango WATER: I thru-hiked with 4 liters capacity. It’s unofficially official: The Colorado Trail Race is on for 2021. The time off, planning, safety, and all the logistics of a multi-week are overwhelming, so I’ve tried to focus on trips that are slightly outside my comfort zone, but still attainable. Real Talk on Bikepacking the Colorado Trail. The next day we woke up, had a pile of food and lots of crappy coffee in town, then hit the grocery store and stalled on their porch until the rain cleared. The grand depart for the ultra-endurance bikepacking race was canceled in 2020, due to concerns surrounding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The mountain bike version detours Wilderness Areas, where mechanized travel is off-limits, and can be done any number of ways: from weekend warrior-ing it a couple segments at a time, to a supported through-ride with a sag vehicle, to bikepacking it unsupported in a single push. I’ve also broken the post into topics using headings, so feel free to jump around to the topics that most interest you. Packing for an extended bikepacking trip isn’t drastically different from that of a hiking trip, but there are a few critical pieces of gear that can make a world of difference. Princeton Hot Springs. Colorado Trail. This article came about after completing the Colorado Trail this fall, and is part of a little web series about my trip along with advice aimed to help other mountain bikers (and possibly even hikers) plan their own adventures on the trail. The Colorado Trail passes through six Wilderness areas where bikes aren’t permitted, thus resulting in five mountain bike detours around these segments. 3. The grand depart for the ultra-endurance bikepacking race was canceled in 2020, due to concerns surrounding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Betsy walks us through her choices. Disclosure: Some links in this article are affiliate links. The day was hot and I fought dehydration—it was my fault for not being prepared enough and not taking the time to stop and make sure I drank. LAST MODIFIED: Thursday October 29th, 2020. Below is a list of articles in the series. The majority of respondents in the survey were hikers, so just to be safe a start date in the first week of July should be a safe early bet for a bikepacker. Working to stay ahead of the snow in the final hundred miles of the trail. Here’s what I did. If you have a car and a nice friend in the Colorado area then you can both drive to Durango, drop your car there and drive back to your homebase. I brought the Colorado Trail Databook with me to keep track of mileage and points of interest, but could have stayed on the trail without it. Dramatic is a fitting description for the entire 550-mile Colorado Trail bikepacking trip, an epic (yes, epic) ride with 71,800 total feet of vertical gain. Bikepacking the Colorado Trail takes a hearty soul — and a handpicked selection of gear. Ultimate Arizona Trail Bikepacking Planning Guide; Arizona Trail Resupply Guide; ... Now it’s time to get to the trailhead. Ultimate Arizona Trail Bikepacking Planning Guide; Arizona Trail Resupply Guide; Arizona Trail Transportation Guide; Arizona Trail Race Planning Aids; Bay Circuit Trail; Coconino 250 Guide; Colorado Trail Resource. The Colorado Trail can be a life-changing experience if you let it! We stopped to make camp just before we reached to the bottom. I received about 70 responses which was awesome, however, all but five respondents were hikers! You can get away without using a GPS, but they are still nice to have. Steri-Pens are awesome and I highly recommend them. Lots of short but steep, hard climbs led us to some really nice descents. Earlier this year, Steve from the Hardtail Party YouTube channel joined two friends on a bikepacking trip on the Colorado Trail, riding 75 miles from … This was one of the best moments on the trip: sitting there and watching the sunset, then dropping in at dusk to one of the best descents ever. Any questions or opinions? Bikepacking; Bikepacking The Colorado Trail: Silverton to Durango - bikepacking.com. The Colorado Trail is a multi use trail that runs 500 miles (529 by bicycle) from Waterton Canyon in Littleton, Colorado to Durango, Colorado. December 15, 2020 Betsy Welch The Hei Hei is nice and slack with a 68 degree HT angle and has a Fox 34 120mm fork for a more Trail Bike feel, complete with a 6″ droper post (of which I will be able to use 4″). Not everyone treats all their water, but I’m always cautious and treat any water that I’m drinking in the backcountry. During a summer when everything’s cancelled it seemed like a good opportunity to do something epic. Bike: Salsa Spearfish with Industry Nine Trail 280 carbon wheels, Bags: Salsa Full Sus Frame Bag, Salsa Top Tube Bag, Revelate Designs Cutthroat handlebar bag, Revelate Designs Vole seat bag, This post filed under topics: Bikepacking Mountain Biking Sam Skidmore Spearfish Split Pivot Sponsored Riders, Inspiration in your inbox Packrafting has always interested me, but it wasn’t until I won an AIRE BAKraft at Gauley Fest last year that I seriously considered putting a lightweight river trip together. ... Kerry Werner: Bikepacking the Colorado Trail. As for the bike, I've ridden most/all of this CT on all kinds of bikes: 100mm XC hardtail, 120mm XC full suspension, 140/130mm trail bike, etc. I finished bikepacking the Colorado Trail in the fall of 2016, and quickly became interested in the average trip length of other trail users. Accessing Leadville and Silverton is easy on mountain bike since the Wilderness detours go directly through town, but Salida was 30 miles out of the way roundtrip. The Colorado Trail (CT) stretches over 486-miles between Denver and Durango and encompasses a landscape home to everything from high elevations and exposed summits, to alpine meadows studded with wildflowers, to dense spruce forests and raging waterfalls. That was followed by an equally incredible, and well deserved, day hanging out in the Durango sunshine, floating down the river on a tube while drinking cold beer. Official app of The Colorado Trail Foundation. There we bought a few more snacks, ate a quick dinner, and set off for three days of riding without a resupply. You know your style best, so use your judgement here. Colorado Trail: Durango to Littleton amygdala_imagery Getty Images The Colorado Trail is one of the most well-known and beloved bikepacking routes in the United States, and with good reason. I think everyone who loves the outdoors should do the Colorado Trail. Option 3. The only issue I ran into was my handlebar bag slightly affecting shift quality, as it rested up against my shifter. Justin gave us Sprites, which we crushed on the spot and then got out of the parking lot just before a strong afternoon storm hit. 1. These photos follow a chronological progression of my bikepacking trip on the Colorado from Denver to Durango starting on September 16th, 2016. I spent my summer holiday this year in Colorado, and had an unforgettable 6 days riding the Colorado Trail Race. I'd been itching to go on a self-supported bike trip for quite some time, and being so in love with mountain biking made something like the Colorado Trail seem perfect. The Hei Hei is nice and slack with a 68 degree HT angle and has a Fox 34 120mm fork for a more Trail Bike feel, complete with a 6″ droper post (of which I will be able to use 4″). The CTF publishes some rough date ranges, but as gear changes and the trail becomes more popular it’s very possible to see some deviation. I didn't have a deadline or schedule, so the trip unfolded very organically. How To: Set Up a Trail Bike for Bikepacking With a few tweaks, your trail bike can be an ideal bikepacking rig. After so much time getting ready and planning, and then a few hours of warmup pedaling, It felt good being at the trail and knowing our car was on the other end, more than 500 miles away. As we descended into Silverton, we saw all the abandoned mining wreckage and I was blown away by the amount of damage left. I came to see detours as a welcome respite from the trail since you can cover a lot of miles quickly on road, a stark contrast to the sometimes sluggish pace on the trail. Plus, we were crushed at this point. Some sections had nice rock and took energy to ride smooth. There’s also an awesome iPhone navigation application for the Colorado Trail by Guthooks Hikes called Colorado Trail Hiker. The grand depart for the ultra-endurance bikepacking race was canceled in 2020, due to concerns surrounding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. There are a multitude beautiful creeks to refill at along Colorado Trail, including this one in San Juan National Forest. This is the second article in a series about bikepacking the Colorado Trail, and it covers basic planning and logistical aspects of the trip. It holds immense beauty around almost every turn. The video summary of our 2017 thru-ride of the Colorado Trail. This is a long post, so grab something to drink and relax! Real Talk on Bikepacking the Colorado Trail. The water was sparse and even though we had a filter, filling up on water from a cow pond is not very pleasant. Once we arrived in town, our first stop was the Handlebar Saloon for massive amounts of food. It’s designed to be portable, and as the CTF says, it’s: “the only book you’ll need on the Colorado Trail.” I’d agree to that. I had heard of Guthook Guides as great companions for many of the longer thru-hikes around the world but I never knew they made Bikepacking Guides as well. It's worth taking your time on the Colorado Trail to really soak in the beauty. The Colorado Trail is incredibly well marked. Colorado Trail. This self-assessment though belies some of the responses for what sort of bikepacking trips the respondents have taken. The Colorado Trail Bike Route is a challenging and rewarding ride of 540 miles that stretches from Denver to Durango, passing through stunning landscapes. Enjoy! The Colorado Trail is one of the classic singletrack bikepacking routes in the western US. Of course this metric is going to include both the faster thru-hikers and those sauntering along, but my hope is there will be a happy medium in between. From Monarch through Sargent's Mesa ended up being really tough, not so much the riding but keeping our morale and energy high while traversing big chunks of moto trail and many high-elevation cow pastures. Marty is a VA buddy who moved to CO a while ago, though we still see each other about once a year. Doing the Colorado trail was my first extended bikepacking trip, and I was doing it solo, so I wanted to be prepared for every possible emergency. Congratulations to all who finished this year’s race. It’s large and certainly not discrete, but for serious sun protection while hiking or rafting, the Chillba is my go-to hat. On our final morning the rain came in and kept us in our sleeping bags for a small delay. 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