For more information on the Colorado Trail visit our CT Resource page. »

Are you curious about exploring the Colorado Trail by bike?
I raced it as part of my Bikepacking Triple Crown (Arizona Trail, Tour Divide, and Colorado Trail) in 2017.  Amazing doesn’t start to describe the experience.  It did take a lot of planning though.  So if you have a desire to race or tour the Colorado Trail (CT), read on to learn more with this Colorado Trail Guide.

I pull the following information together for people like us, the explores and adventurers.  After my CTR I realized there was a need for a Colorado Trail Guide for bikepackers. This page is divided up into simple sections so you can quickly get a feel for the route.  As part of a larger all inclusive guide, this page and corresponding pages will allow you to focus on riding your bike instead of searching the internet for hours on end.

Where does one start the planning process?  This page is a great starting point, but if you want more information, checkout the “CTR Resources” button below.  Watch out though, you just might find yourself on the starting line in July!

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539 Miles (867km)



Elevation Gain

70,000+ Feet (21,336m)


13,271 Feet (4,045m)




7 – 14+ Days



Time of Year

July to September

Race Date

July 28, 2019

4 am Velorution Cycles

Closest Towns to Start/Finish

Littleton & Durango

Race Records

Male: Neil Beltchenko (2016) 3:19:50
Female: Eszter Horanyi (2011) 5:05:27


The Colorado Trail is a monster of a trail, but this shouldn’t sway you from bikepacking it.  The Colorado Trail is a multi use trail that runs 500 miles (539 by bicycle) from Waterton Canyon in Littleton, Colorado to Durango, Colorado.  It holds immense beauty around almost every turn.  With an average elevation of over 10,000 feet your lungs and legs will be tested. Bring your rain jacket, you will get caught in afternoon thunder storms.

Your race/tour of the CT will involve you crossing six National Forests, six wilderness areas, eight mountain ranges, and five major river systems.  The Colorado Trail Race (CTR) is known as one of the hardest, if not the hardest and most scenic bikepacking routes in the entire United States.

During the 2017 CTR the average amount of H.A.B (Hike-A-Bike) was about 70 miles.  That equals 13% of the total distance.  If you were to complete the race in seven days, one day of the seven would be HAB!  With this in mind be sure you’ve dialed in your set up.  More weight on the bike means a heavier push.  Even more important, make sure your shoes are comfortable and don’t give you blisters.

Resupply on the CTR is fairly easy except for one section.  From Princeton Hot Springs to Silverton it’s 183 miles.  That’s around three days at 60 miles a day.  This is probably the hardest section of the entire race.  You’ll want to be sure you have extra food.  Princeton Hot Springs and Stagestop Store & Saloon have the smallest options for resupply, while the rest are either full service or have adequate supply options.

If singletrack is what you’re looking for, then this is the trail for you.  The riding is simply amazing, but know that at race pace you may not be able to enjoy much of it.  Touring the route might be a better option.

CT/CDT Trail near Breckenridge Colorado - Bikepacking - Thru-hking - hiking - Colorado Trail Guide


Comprehensive mile by mile data sheets for the Colorado Trail, including elevation +/-, services, resupply options and more. Available in both Standard and Metric versions.


CTR map - Colorado trail - Colorado Trail Transportation Guide - Colorado Trail Guide

This map shows the hiking route, NOT the bike route. But you get the picture.


Colorado Trail Elevation Profile -Denver TO Durango - COLORADO TRAIL GUIDE - BIKEPACKING


Colorado Trail Elevation Profile - Durango to DENVER - COLORADO TRAIL GUIDE - BIKEPACKING

Elevation profiles provided by John Schilling.  Support John’s effort by purchasing prints, sticks and mugs of these profiles.





The CTR is not organized or sanctioned in any fashion. It’s seen as big group ride that follows a predetermine route, start time, a short list of rules and that’s it.  Those who partake should understand the rules and obey the gentleman’s agreement to “race” fairly.  There are no organizers, checkpoints, and or aid of any kind.  You’re souly responsible for yourself.

The Colorado Trail Race starts in either Waterton Canyon or Durango depending on the year.  On odd numbered years the race travels South to North (or West to East) and on even numbered years it travels North to South (or East to West).

Sign up by using the 2019 entry form.

Suggested Start Date:

Saturday, July 26th, 2019

4 am – Waterton Canyon


Bikepack racing is usually not organized, is without entry fees or prizes, but there are a set of rules all bikepacking races follow.  The rules are put into place to create a level playing field for all those who participate.

*Note these rules are the general rules for bikepack racing and each event may have their own specific rules and they also change from time to time.  With that said it’s important you read and understand the official rules which can be found at the link below.

1. One must complete the entire route under their own power.

2. Outside support is not allowed.

3. No caching of food/supplies ahead of time.

4. No use of motorized transportation or hitch-hiking, EXCEPT for travel to hospital/medical care.

The following are allowed, but not encouraged. Please use sparingly.

5. Unplanned assistance from other racers is ACCEPTABLE.

6. Trail magic OK – but please, no begging or fishing (hinting).

7. Mailing resupplies ahead to Post Offices is ACCEPTABLE (but some racers frown upon this).

Official rules found at Climbing Dreams.

No entry fee, no prizes, absolutely no support 


You are encouraged to use a Spot tracker, (they are not mandatory).  Due to the nature, difficulty and lack of support, I personal believe you’d be nuts not to.  If you want to be included in the tracking of the race, you can sign up at one month before.


Spot Gen3 are available from around one month before the start of the race, if you’re looking to rent one.  Check forums, Facebook or  Trackleaders for more information.


The Colorado Trail Foundation has no affiliation to the race but they are the acting stewards of the trail and help manage/maintain it.  Because of them and their members you have this amazing trail to ride.  Please consider donating or joining the Colorado Trail Foundation, so they may continue their amazing work.

Colorado Trail Logo- One of Seven Project - colorado trail guide

2019 Data Sheet and Town List

After 100’s of hours of resource, 1000’s of keystrokes, more emails and phone calls than I recall the One of Seven Project’s Colorado Trail Data Sheet and Town List are done. They contain everything you need to plan and execute your ride/ride of the CTR.

South / West Bound

2019 CTR SOBO/WEST Data Sheet and Town List

2019 CTR Data Sheet North to South
2019 CTR Town List North to South
2019 Data Sheet includes:
  • Key POI’s
  • Elevation / Pop of POI
  • Mileage numbers
  • Distance to next
  • Elevation +/-
  • Avg. & Max Grade between POI
  • Pavement sections
  • Services available
  • Important notes
  • Elevation profile
  • Finish Target Times

$20.00  Purchase here. Metric version is here.

2019 Town List includes:
  • Better format
  • More key notes
  • Phone numbers added for key locations
  • More pavement sections called out
  • Elevation profile added
  • Finish Target Times added

$20.00   Purchase here. Metric version is here.

North / East Bound

2019 CTR NOBO/EAST Data Sheet and Town List

2019 CTR Data Sheet South to North
2019 CTR Town List South to North
2019 Data Sheet includes:
  • Key POI’s
  • Elevation / Pop of POI
  • Mileage numbers
  • Distance to next
  • Elevation +/-
  • Avg. & Max Grade between POI
  • Pavement sections
  • Services available
  • Important notes
  • Elevation profile
  • Finish Target Times

$20.00  Purchase here. Metric version is here.

2019 Town List includes:
  • Better format
  • More key notes
  • Phone numbers added for key locations
  • More pavement sections called out
  • Elevation profile added
  • Finish Target Times added

$20.00  Purchase here. Metric version is here.

Mileage Chart

Colorado Trail Mileage Chart Planning Guide
2019 Mileage Chart:
  • Works for both directions.
  • Quickly find the distance between any two points along the route.

$9.99 + tax, Purchase here. Metric version is here.


  • The quality of singletrack you get to ride is by far one of the biggest highlights of the CTR.  The elevation won’t be the only thing taking your breath away.
  • The CTR offers MTBers a chance to ride above treeline at heights most of us only dream of.
  • Amazing views at every turn.
  • The Colorado Trail dishes out extremely demanding singletrack and punishing climbs, making it an amazingly difficult trail.
  • The elevation of the  CTR can be unforgiving.  Do not underestimate the harshness of the weather, as the results could be dangerous/fatal.
  • Depending on your ability there is about 70 miles of H.A.B Hike-a-Bike“.
  • The lack of services between Silverton and Princeton Hot Springs means having the ability to carry a large amount of food.
  • Elsewhere on the CT, distances between towns is quite manageable.
  • Water should not be an issue on the CTR, levels vary from year to year.
  • Finding campsites along the CT isn’t a issue.  There are many primitive and developed camping options or you can usually sleep along the trail.


  • Exposure
  • Lightening
  • Hypothermia
  • Snow
  • Wild animals
  • Strenuous terrain
  • Remoteness
  • If you’re using the Atlas Guides/Guthook app, their track isn’t the same as the official race track (but only at Stony Pass).


More on the CTR

Read these next.

Bikepacking the Colorado Trail Race - Stony Pass - San Juan Mountains - Colorado Trail Planning Guide


So you’re planning to race/tour the Colorado Trail.  Are you wondering where to start your planning?

Colorado Trail - CTR - San Juan National Forest - Colorado Trail Guide


Your chances only get better with more information.  Get the right resupply information with this CTR Resupply Guide.

Life behind the bars - Colorado Trail Race - One of Seven Project - Colorado Trail Transportation Guide


Traveling to and from the CTR is an adventure of it’s own.  Find out how to simplify it with our Transportation Guide.

Colorado Trail -Kokomo Pass-Bikepacking-Craig Fowler - One of Seven Project


A collection of posts about the Colorado Trail and personal dispatches from my time on the CT and beyond.

Bikepacking set up - bikepacking resources


Have questions about the gear you think you need to go bikepacking?  Checkout my three set ups and get advice on putting your own together.

Bikepacking Gear List / Photo - Tour Divide Planning Guide - Arizona Trail Planning Guide - tour divide guide


Full comparison of my gear list from the bikepacking triple crown. Pros/Cons, tips, and what I would do next time.


Arizona Trail Logo - pregnant triangle - One of Seven Project - Arizona Trail Guide - FINISH TIME CONTEST
Tour Divide/Great Divide MTB Route Logo - tour divide guide
Colorado Trail Logo- One of Seven Project - colorado trail guide
Kokopelli Trail Logo - Kokopelli Trail Guide - Bikepacking

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