Video: Bikepacking the Most Beautiful Trail in America

Stretching for more than 567 miles (912 km), the Colorado Trail is considered to be amongst the most stunningly beautiful routes in all of North America BIKEPACKING.  Starting in Denver and running to Durango, the CT crosses through six wilderness areas, eight mountain ranges, and some of the best landscapes on the planet.

Naturally, this makes it a great option for hikers, backpackers, in the case of this video, bikepackers too. Thanks to its numerous remote locations, it also happens to be a good place for social distancing. In the video above, you’ll get a great sense of what the trail is all about, taking us on an extended journey along its length.

Bikepacking the Colorado Trail

While this is probably almost certainly not the first time someone has bike packed the Colorado Trail, the clip does show the promise and possibilities of biking this stunning route. As with hiking or backpacking, riders will still need to be self-sufficient while in the backcountry, even if they can cover more miles in a single day.

Some of the more technical sections will require a bit of finesse and skill on the bike too, making some sections that are easy to cover on foot a little more interesting as well.

The brainchild of a forest ranger by the name of Bill Lucas, the Colorado Trail can trace its roots all the way back to the early 1970s.

It was about that time that a dedicated group of volunteers began pushing forward with the idea of creating a long-distance hiking trail that cuts through some of the most spectacular and diverse scenery that Colorado has to offer. Still, it would take more than a decade to finish construction on the route, with the CT officially opening in 1988.

colorado trail scenery

Since then, it has gone on to become one of the most storied and popular hiking routes in the western U.S. Today, thousands of outdoor enthusiasts walk all or a portion of the Colorado Trail each year, experiencing the state’s famed wilderness in all of its glory. The majority of those visitors explore the trail on foot, although a select few follow the route on horseback, and more recently by bike.

Along the way, they must overcome more than 90,000 feet of vertical gain, with altitudes varying from 10,300 feet (3139 meters) all the way up to 13, 271 feet (4045 meters) at its highest point.

Guided Tours on the Colorado Trail

Over the years, numerous guidebooks have been written about the Colorado Trail, providing experienced hikers with all the knowledge they need to complete the hike on their own. But for those who would prefer a guided trek, those are available too. On those outings, local guides lead small groups of backpackers across the entire route, providing support and knowledge along the way.

For those who are just starting out in backpacking or don’t have as much time to plan and prepare, this is a good option to experience the place for yourself. Those guided hikes are usually about 4-5 days in length and are a good way to get a small taste of what the CT is all about.

colorado trail hikes
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As you would guess, the height of summer is the most popular time on the trail. Unsurprisingly, that is when the weather is most stable, with warm days and cool nights. That said, this is still Colorado and you’ll still be traveling at altitude, so snow is a real possibility in just about any month of the year.

Of course, late-spring and early-autumn are also terrific times to be on the CT, as the weather can still be great and the crowds are much smaller. A winter hike is not recommended for anyone but the most experienced backpackers and winter campers.

Mountain biking has been allowed on the CT for years, which is why it has become so popular with bikepackers as that sport and method of travel has evolved. Today, the Colorado Trail is considered a true classic for riders and it doesn’t take long to see why in the video. The route is well-marked, easy to follow, and has some of the best scenery in the enter western United States. If that isn’t enough to lure you in, I don’t know what more you need.

Of interest, the entire video was shot using iPhones and Mavic drones. Keep that in mind as you watch the action unfold.

Kraig Becker