Work in Progress
Bikepacking to the Colorado 14ers is currently being written and published publicly. Get news and updates by joining the Facebook group, Instagram, Twitter, subreddit, and mailing list.
The main tool used for keeping you on route and to your destination will be the GPX files that will accompany the maps, stats, and route narratives. You’ll want to load these files into your GPS unit, or use a phone app like Gaia. It’s expected you’ll have the track up and running and viewable while you ride, and won’t be stopping every 5 minutes to read a route narrative.[Soon, there will be a video on how to do that using a phone]
The route narratives will give you a deeper understanding of the route itself, but won’t have things like, turn-by-turn navigation, mileage between points, etc for all parts of the route. This may be added in some form when the routes are out of beta and completely finalized. Right now, everything is in flux, and updating that level of granularity would be unwise.
Waypoints embedded in the GPX tracks will have resources like camping spots, water, and resupply saved as well.
Route Versions: MTB and Road
Multi-day trips will have both an MTB and Road route versions.
A trip that involves BOTH riding and hiking up mountains may surprise some with the level of effort needed, and the amount of fatigue that can build up in one’s body.
To keep you on schedule, we’ll develop two routes that’ll roughly parallel each other to allow you to hop between one and the other, to make sure you stay within your time constraints.
The MTB route versions are trail-first: They’ll attempt to keep you off-pavement as much as possible and on trails whenever a trail system can be utilized, while still getting you to your primary destination. We want the routes to stand up by themselves as fun bikepacking routes worthy to ride, even if you decide not to hike anything. There’s a good chance that weather/conditions will not align to allow you to do some oof the hiking segments, but you should still get a good ride in!
You will absolutely want to use a fat-tired bike for the MTB versions, and there’s a good possibility that the route difficulty in some parts will be unrideable for most with a loaded down bike, so hike-a-biking is in the cards for you. We’ll note in any route narratives/waypoints if a section of trail may be skipped to help you time manage. The MTB routes will be the most varied road surface types – be ready to ride literally everything, including pavement.
The All Road route versions will be Gravel-first: we’ll keep you on maintained gravel roads and pavement, but will try to avoid busy or dangerous routes. This will allow you to complete the trips with a bike that has ~40mm wheels, and is built stout enough for touring. In parts of the guide, we may further explain why a road or highway was not selected, and why we’ve avoided it. In some instanced, we may warn you if the route we’ve selected has any objective riding dangers.
The two route versions will converge at key places, like towns and trailheads. Connector routes will be noted if you would like to switch between the two. That’s entirely likely depending on your energy level, weather, or if there’s small parts of one route or the other that you would like to ride/like to avoid. Although I wouldn’t necessarily suggest splitting up groups of two to ride separate routes to meet up again in towns, two separate groups with different gear/fitness levels will be able to ride somewhat in parallel to the trailheads.
Route Designs and Routine
Route length will play a part in how long we estimate a segment will take to complete, but more so will route elevation ultimately rule your progress. A 95 mile segment sounds reasonable for a 1-2 day ride on fresh legs, but not exactly when paired with 10,000′ of climbing – this will not be out of the ordinary. Pay attention to both when planning how long you’d like to ride for the day. The All Road versions of a trip will most likely be much faster than its MTB counterpart.
Generally, we suggest starting the hiking portion of any trip as early as possible in the morning to avoid afternoon thunderstorms. The worse time to start a hike is around 10:00am or 11:00am, as you’re bound to be right above treeline in the afternoon where lightning storms are the most prevalent.
Most of the camping that’s highlighted in this guide are free, dispersed camping spots – see the chapter on Access for more information.
It’s quite possible you’ll lose cell reception en route. We suggest utilizing a device like the Garmin inReach to stay in contact.
Work in Progress
Bikepacking to the Colorado 14ers is currently being written and published publicly. Get news and updates by joining the Facebook group, Follow us on Instagram, join our subreddit, and mailing list.
You can support its development by purchasing items through the affiliate links on this site: check out the gear reviews, as well as the items below: