Day 1 - Arrive in Aspen
/ Warm-up ride / Reception and dinner
VBT Bike Tour guests: VBT will offer a shuttle from Denver
International Airport (DEN) to Hearthstone House in Aspen, departing the
airport at 10:30 am. If you are arriving after this shuttle departs or your
flight is delayed, you must make your own arrangements to reach Hearthstone
House. The travel time is approximately
4.5 hours in duration. Colorado Mountain
Express and MPG-Express offer shared-ride shuttles.
Please meet the shuttle at the Denver International Airport West
Terminal, Door 510, Island 1 Limo and Taxi. Your shuttle bus will carry “MPG Express”
titles, and the driver will be holding a VBT sign. The shuttle will depart
promptly at 10:30 am.
Alternately, you may choose to fly into Aspen/Pitkin County
Airport (ASE), which is only four miles from Hearthstone House. You are responsible for your transportation
to the inn. Shared-ride shuttles and
taxis are available in the airport's arrivals hall. Taxi fare will run $18-$25.
For guests driving to the tour, parking is available in
Aspen at the Rio Grande Parking Garage, 427 Rio Grande Place. Vehicles can use the parking facility 24
hours a day, 7 days a week. Any car that is going to be left in the facility
for more than 72 hours needs to register at the attendant booth. The current
2012 rates at the facility are $1.50 per hour with a maximum charge of $15.00
per day. Actual charges per vehicle are dependent on how long the vehicle
is inside the facility. The Parking Garage contact phone number is
VBT Pre-Trip Extension guests: You have another morning to
enjoy Denver. At 11:00 am, the shuttle company will meet and transfer you to
Hearthstone House in Aspen. The shuttle will be coming from the airport with
arriving VBT guests. The driver will have a VBT sign with him.
We meet at Hearthstone House, located in the heart of Aspen
village. Upon checking in, ask at the reception desk for your welcome package,
full of information you might find useful on tour.
After settling in, meet your Trip Leaders at 3:30 pm for a
safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a warm-up ride through the town's
Victorian west end. Tonight, learn more
about your fellow travelers and hear about the upcoming week during a wine and
cheese reception hosted by the inn. Then
we stroll into town for an included dinner at one of Aspen's acclaimed
restaurants. You'll want to take your
time, and maybe a detour, on the walk back to the inn. The views of the mountain and the colorful
shop fronts in this idyllic, car-free village are something to savor.
Day 2 - Maroon Bells / Gondola on Aspen
This morning, we cycle to one of the most photographed (but
still quiet!) sites in North America, and one that certainly will say “Colorado” to you. Maroon Bells is the name given to two peaks
in the Elks Range. The reflection of these 14,000
foot summits in the surface of Maroon
Lake is unforgettable.
We ride out directly from our inn. Today’s ride is mostly along Maroon Creek Road,
where motorized traffic is limited. The
first half of the ride is a steady ascent, and the most challenging riding of
the week. We climb 1,600 feet over 11
miles for an average gradient of 3%. You
may choose to take your time for the 11 mile ride up to Maroon Bells Scenic
Wilderness Area. If you prefer, you may
take the VBT shuttle before motorized traffic is stopped at 9:00 am. We will ride
the 11 miles downhill back to Aspen
We refuel over an included picnic lunch -- fresh air and
view courtesy of the White River
Once back in Aspen and refreshed,
we board the Silver Queen Gondola in the heart of Aspen village for a silent
ride to the 11,000 foot summit of Aspen
Mountain. The trip covers 2.5 miles and more than 3,000
vertical feet. Once on top, enjoy the
sundeck or go for a walk. Return via the
gondola for dinner on your own and an evening in town.
Day 3 - Rio Grande Recreation Trail / Optional River Rafting or hike to Hanging
Lake / Hot Springs Pool
Today we ride from one end of the Roaring Fork
Valley to the other, and
do it almost entirely on a car-free recreation path. We lose about 2,100 feet in elevation over 40
miles, making for a gentle downhill ride on the Rio Grande Trail.
The towns of Basalt and Carbondale provide interesting stops, and a wide
range of opportunities for enjoying a great lunch at your leisure.
We ride directly into Glenwood Springs and to our home for the night, the venerable
Hotel Colorado. While the guest rooms
are modest by today’s standards, the hotel is ideal for our short visit and we
love it for its history and setting.
There is an opportunity to raft the Colorado
River this afternoon, with either a Shoshone Rapids run or an easy
float trip. Rafting lasts approximately three hours and costs approximately
$45.00 per person. Alternately, you may
enjoy a two-mile hike to scenic Hanging
Lake. Your Trip Leaders will provide more
information and help with arrangements.
We enjoy dinner in our hotel’s dining room tonight. After dinner, walk next door and join locals for
a sociable evening at the hot spring pool.
The outdoor pool spans over two city blocks and has been a draw for
visitors since Glenwood Springs was first on the map. This is the perfect muscle-soothing recipe
for a good night’s sleep.
Day 4 - Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail / Vail Pass to Vail or Avon
/ Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
After breakfast, start cycling east from our hotel on the
Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail. The Colorado River
is our constant companion this morning as we ride along this car-free trail.
There is a shallow climb as we head east. At the trailhead we join our shuttle,
which covers most of the elevation gain today, and continue east to Vail Pass.
We enjoy a picnic lunch today, allowing us to further enjoy
this great outdoors!
From Vail Pass we ride on bike paths downhill to Vail Village. It’s possible to continue downhill past Vail
and on to Avon, then hop our shuttle back to
Vail. There’ve been lots of ride options
to suit your spirit today!
We check-in to our deluxe accommodations in the heart of Vail Village. Maybe you’ll want to hit the outdoor hot tub
or mountain-view pool. In the late
afternoon, we are taken under the good care of a docent guide at the Betty Ford
Alpine Gardens to learn about and experience the beauty of high alpine
flora. Dinner is on your own tonight,
with many wonderful options along the pedestrian streets outside our door. On many Wednesday nights in June, July and
August, there are Vail Valley Music Festival events scheduled
Day 5 - Vail Pass to Breckenridge
After breakfast we take a short shuttle to the top of Vail Pass,
then ride down the east side to Breckenridge.
This is the Ten Mile Canyon National Recreation Trail, a paved bike path
offering incredible views. We head
downhill to Copper
then follow a more gradual descent to Frisco, a small town with curious cafés
and shops. Our final stretch today takes
us into Breckenridge. “Breck” is the
largest historic district in Colorado.
Enjoy some time in town before we shuttle back to Vail.
Tonight we review highlights of the week over a memorable dinner at one
of Vail’s excellent restaurants.
Day 6 - Depart for home
Relax over breakfast at the inn this morning before saying
goodbye to your Trip Leaders.
VBT has made arrangements for a shuttle from the inn back to
the Denver International Airport (DEN), departing at 9:00 am and arriving at
the airport at 11:30 am. We recommend
flights departing no earlier than 1:30 pm.
If you need to get back to the airport prior to that time, the transfer
back to Denver
will be at your own expense. Colorado Mountain Express and MPG-Express offer
If you drove to the start of the tour, your Trip Leaders will
transfer you back to Aspen at 9:00 am, arriving
in Aspen at
11:30 am. You may also use this transfer
if you are flying out of Aspen/Pitkin Airport (ASE).