Towering mountains, cheery small towns, abundant flowy singletrack, and the 5 bike-legal 14ers along the way? That's a perfect recipe for a fun adventure, and of course, you have the choice of "riding," hiking/running, or skipping the 14ers. That what makes this a classic choose-your-level-of-challenge route in the heart of the Colorado Rockies.
Disclaimer: This route and associated information is just a starting point for your preparation, and your safety is your own responsibility. Although this route, its GPS track and waypoints, route data, and the route guide were prepared after extensive research, their accuracy and reliability are not guaranteed. Check for current conditions, route updates, detours, use common sense, obey local laws and regulations, and travel with alternative means of navigation. The Backcountry Bike Challenge and its creators and contributors will in no way be responsible for personal injury or damage to personal property arising in conjunction with following this route or utilizing any of the route resources provided on this website or via RWGPS.
The mountains of central Colorado are home to the highest concentration of 14,000-foot peaks in Lower 48. And some of those peaks are somewhat rideable and open to bikes, although few riders ever tackle such challenging terrain. This loop connects routes up 5 of these 14ers with another ~200 miles of beautiful, singletrack-rich riding between Salida and Leadville. So choose your adventure – an enjoyable 4+ day loop, throw in a 14er adventure or two, or try and tackle all 5 for a truly exhausting endeavor. (Note: originally, this route included 7 14ers, but due to public access negotiations for two of the summits – Cameron and Lincoln – those peaks have been removed from the loop.) Please see the additional route information below and on Bikepacking Roots’ website.
Photos by Kurt Refsnider
The five peaks on this route are the only bike-legal 14ers accessible from the loop. Others are closed to bikes or involve access trails that are on private lands.
When traveling in the alpine (at or above treeline) please be incredibly conscious of your impact by foot or bike. Stay ON the trail. Do not walk, ride, or push your bike off trail or along the side of the trail. When pushing your bike, keep feet and wheels within the tread. The alpine tundra ecosystem is incredibly fragile. Hiker/biker damage to the environment can threaten future access.
Bikes yield to all other users, and always yield to uphill bike traffic when descending.
Please be extremely courteous to all trail users so bikes continue to have access to alpine singletrack. Not everyone believes bikes belong on these trails, and poorly behaved cyclists and trail damage/degradation will threaten future access (and the fragile tundra!).
This route was linked together using existing trails by Scott Morris and Kurt Refsnider and fine-tuned as one of the first route offerings by Bikepacking Roots. The western part of the route is predominantly on the Colorado Trail (stewarded by the Colorado Trail Foundation), and access to each of the 14ers along the way is stewarded by the Colorado 14ers Initiative. This route would not be possible without the trail and advocacy work of both these organizations. We suggest that riders on this particular route make a donation to the Colorado 14ers Initiative.
Click here for the Ride with GPS Leaderboard for the cumulative 14er ascents!
There is no overall loop leaderboard since riders can start at any location around the loop.
Loop without the 14ers
Loop with 14ers by foot
Loop with 14ers by bike