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Level: Intermediate
Length: 535 mi (861 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +23,055/24 ft
Total: 288 riders

Mountain Biking Colorado Trail

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#3 of 1,345 mountain bike trails in Colorado
#5 in the world

Amazing singletrack, killer views, and lung busting elevation - what more could you ask for? Portions of the Colorado Trail are off limits to bikes so you'll need to detour around each of the 6 designated wilderness areas. Many day trip routes are available and connecting trails abound.

First added by Jeff Barber on Aug 19, 2010. Last updated Jan 7, 2022. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: yes
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
Multiple trailheads around the state, click one of the individual segment listings above to get directions to a particular staring point. From Denver, start off S. Platte Canyon Rd.
System trails (28)
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Colorado Trail Trail map

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Local Info

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Trail conditions

Good (on Nov 20, 2021)
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Camping & Lodging

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Colorado Trail videos

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Biking The Colorado Trail
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Durango, Colorado

Intermediate | 12 mi
Intermediate | 10 mi
Expert | 3 mi
Beginner | 10 mi

Rider questions

Q: Heading to CT for my first time this weekend. Any suggestions on where's the best to start at?
A: If you're just planning to ride a section (as in, day-trippable), I say start with the section that goes through Buffalo Creek: This section is super convenient to Denver too which might be helpful. Another easily-accessible section starts at Kenosha pass at US 285: If you're closer to the Durango end, the Molas Pass section starting at US 550 is killer with plenty of riding above treeline:

Q: Can someone point me to fast/flowy sections of the trail? So far I've done part of Buffalo Creek (the non-CO sections were more to my taste), Kenosha to Breck (too technical until Middle or North Fork Swan River then awesome into town!), and Monarch Crest (epic!!)?
A: The terminus section in Durango is definitely fast and flowy, though it's steeper than the other sections you mentioned. There are a couple ways you can loop this part: start at the Dry Fork trailhead and ride up Hoffheins to the CO trail and back down the Dry Fork trail. Or, start at the end of the CO trail off road 204 and ride up the road to the intersection with Log Chutes 2 for a bombing descent!

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  • mongwolf

    A demanding trail at elevation with over 3400' of climbing, an average grade of 6% and a maximum grade of 35% (as you approach the 9 mile marker). It is also part of the Continental Divide Trail and a major portion of the legendary Monarch Crest Ride.

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  • Gdb49

    This is a true epic ride, yes in the Monarch Crest league. Absolutely brutal day of climbing, but the best down hill section of any of the epic trails I've ridden in Colorado. Scenery is stunning, trail is amazing, this is a must ride! The trail that they added at the 20mi mark is a brutal sustained climb that would take a special breed to clean, but the down hill afterwards is spectacular. Might be my new favorite trail in Colorado. Lots of water and food!

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  • mongwolf

    Rode out and back, starting from the South Platte THD. It is certainly a rigorous climb the first mile and really the first 5 miles. A very good workout. After you cross the dirt road (Raleigh Peak Road) at about 6 miles heading west, the ride mellows out a lot the rest of the way to the Little Scraggy THD. The return ride (west to east), is a cruiser with just a couple of shorts climbs worth noting ... and A LOT of nice downhill. Definitely some good payback for all your work riding east to west. If you are only going to ride this segment one way, it would definitely be west to east. Also, the trail west of Hwy 126 is really not worth riding imo. Much of it is basically a dirt road with lots of sand. I would just start from Hwy 126. All in all, this is a nice ride and worth the drive and time.

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    The first section is punchy but then once it levels out, the singletrack is flowy and sweet! Turn around once you hit the lakes, because somewhere beyond that is Wilderness. Unfortunately, there's not a sign telling you where the Wilderness boundary is, so best to turn around at the lakes.

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    While the singletrack's actually in pretty great shape, this trail just isn't worth the effort. It's essentially a hike-a-bike almost all the way up, and while part of the descent is ripping and fun, a long portion of it is so steep, the trail is so narrow, and it's so exposed that I found I really had to ride the brakes to stay in control... so much so that I could smell my brake pads burning!

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    The portion of the Colorado Trail between Camp Hale and Copper Mountain is an absolutely fantastic section of the Colorado Trail! The singletrack is ripping, the climbs are tough, and the high alpine riding is unparalleled! My favorite part is getting to traverse between Searle Pass and Kokomo Pass, spending a significant amount of time way above treeline. Highly recommended!

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  • Greg Heil   ✓ supporter

    The portion of the Colorado Trail between Camp Hale and Copper Mountain is an absolutely fantastic section of the Colorado Trail! The singletrack is ripping, the climbs are tough, and the high alpine riding is unparalleled! My favorite part is getting to traverse between Searle Pass and Kokomo Pass, spending a significant amount of time way above treeline. Highly recommended!

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  • kuala_tahan

    Rode from the top of Monarch Pass and down Fooses. Relatively quick shuttle ride, 15-20 min or so probably. Monarch's a good warmup, and the Fooses downhill is pretty amazing. Steep, loose, rutted drop-in up top (with epic views), and it stays fairly steep for a while on tight, rooty singletrack. Gets picky for a while, then opens up through the forest, extremely fast, great dirt, occasionally very rocky and semi-technical, but mostly just fast and fun.

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  • Jeff Barber

    Thanks Johnnymac. Fred has done the same thing to other highly-rated trails as well--not sure why. Anyway, don't worry--ratings only count once per person.

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  • Johnnymac113

    Since these guys are trying to ruin this trails rating...

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  • Sponas

    Traveled all the way from Norway and did the whole trail last summer with two good friends. Best long distance trail I have ridden, so many good sections, and beautiful scenery! Can not recommend this trail enough!

    Check out our video from the trip here:

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  • FinishSTRONG7

    Epic alpine singletrack with amazing views literally starting right off US 550! This is a popular ride for bikepackers/shuttles, but excellent out and back or loop ride options exist as well. The first 8 miles (starting from Molas Pass) are prime trail with a few small technical sections. You can turn around at this point and still claim a great ride. After that roughly 8 mile mark the trail gets more rocky with some steep sections and really narrow lines. At about this time the altitude really starts to get to you too! (You are over 11,000 feet practically the whole time!) But overall the trail is very doable for the conditioned rider. After about 10 miles, a junction with the Engineer Mountain Trail is reached. Turn left to complete a loop by going down Engineer, turning left onto Pass Creek Trail just shy of 4 miles down (which ends at US 550/Coal Bank Pass), and then riding US 550 back up to Molas Pass. Bear right to continue on the Colorado Trail toward Rolling Mountain Pass at 12,500', and then down and back up to Bolam Pass. It takes quite the physical effort to make it up to Rolling Mountain Pass at this point, but the views make it all worthwhile! (The pass is another great turnaround point.)

    This is one trail prone to harsh weather due to the altitude, so an early start is highly recommended. It is barren tundra for the majority of the ride, so not the place to be during a thunderstorm! Be prepared to get muddy after any significant rain due to the many drainages where the trail runs on the side of slopes. This trail does also have a short riding window, I'd say mid-July through September. Be prepared to share the trail with a lot of hikers as well. Overall this is a must do!

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