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Colorado: Aspen to Vail, Valleys of the Rockies

Colorado’s renowned Rockies have never been so bike-friendly! We’ve mapped out a Colorado bike tour that descends through canyons and traces valley floors with ease … mostly on paved, car-free bike paths. Ride among vistas at once sublime and splendid, with ample time to explore. Gaze upon “The Bells,” twin peaks rising to the heavens above and reflected in Maroon Lake below. Discover the Colorado Silver Boom during an interpretive walk in a deserted mining town. Take time off the saddle to soak in the culture and charms of the region’s most beloved towns—Aspen, Vail, Frisco, and Breckenridge. And savor the locally sourced farm cuisine and craft beer for which the region is so famous. Hit the heights, VBT style!

Tour Highlights

  • Ride among alpine peaks and breathe bracingly clean air as you discover the majestic beauty of the Colorado Rockies
  • Enjoy easy, hand-selected routes that take advantage of descending canyons, valley floors, recreational trails, and paved bike paths
  • Marvel at the breathtaking views of “The Bells,” twin 14,000-foot summits mirrored in sublime reflection at Maroon Lake
  • Cycle the gradual descent through the Roaring Fork Valley on the car-free Rio Grande Trail from Aspen to Glenwood Springs
  • Learn about early settlers and the history of the 19th-century Colorado Silver Boom during an interpretive walk through a deserted mining town.

What to Expect

This tour offers easy to moderate riding on paved BIKE PATHS (80%). Several rides are downhill and feature an overall loss in elevation. This trip is ideal for guests who are not comfortable riding in traffic as the bike paths are secluded and protected from roads and vehicles. The moderate component is due to the fact that higher elevation may case fatigue (Aspen altitude is 8,000ft, Glenwood Springs is 5,800ft, and Vail is 8,100ft). Guests must hydrate, pace themselves, and respect their limits. VBT van support is available throughout the trip for shuttle assistance as needed. Typical recreational path features should be noted such as shared users and road intersections. There are several extended downhill sections that may be challenging for guests who are not comfortable descending. Options for additional miles and extended climbs can be made available for those interested.

  • Daily Mileage: 6 - 42|
  • Group Size: 20
Activity Easy/Moderate Easy / Moderate
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
Vehicle Support Vehicle
Support

Average High /
Low Temperature (°F):

Jun70º/41º

Jul79º/47º

Aug78º/45º

Sep67º/37º

Average
Precipitation:

Jun1.5 in

Jul1.5 in

Aug1.4 in

Sep1.3 in

Tour Only

5 nights in historic mountain town hotels Check
10 meals: 5 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners Check
Optional car service from Denver Airport or downtown Denver to Aspen Check
Optional car service from Vail to Denver Airport Check

Road Bicycle (Carbon frame)

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Step-Through (Mixte Hybrid) Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over (Diamond) Comfort Bicycle

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Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

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Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT Bike and Helmet

Two Local, Bilingual Trip Leaders

Vehicle Support

Luggage Transfers

Ride with GPS and Daily Route Notes

Welcome Reception

Facilitated Cultural Experiences

Your Choice of VBT Branded Gear for Your Adventure

Itinerary

Sun, Jun 12 to Fri, Jun 17 - 2022

Show Itinerary:

VBT-Bicycle-Vacation-only guests: VBT offers a complimentary car service from both Denver International Airport (DIA) and downtown Denver to the Annabelle Inn in Aspen, departing the airport at 10:30 a.m. and departing The Brown Palace Hotel, located at 321 17th Street, downtown at 11:00 a.m.

All VBT guests: Meet at Annabelle Inn, your accommodations for the next two nights, conveniently located just steps from the heart of downtown Aspen. Upon check-in, you receive your welcome package, full of useful information.

After settling in, meet your trip leaders at 3:30 p.m. for a safety and bike-fitting session. Your Colorado bike tour begins with a warm-up ride through the town’s Victorian west end. Aspen’s residential history is on full display along these charming streets. You return to Annabelle Inn via a scenic riverside bike path. Tonight, get to know your fellow travelers and learn about the upcoming week during a casual reception hosted by your trip leaders. Later, stroll into town for an included dinner at one of Aspen’s acclaimed restaurants. After, you’ll want to take your time, and maybe a detour, on the walk back to the inn, savoring the stunning mountain views and colorful shops in this idyllic, car-free village.

After settling in, meet your trip leaders at 3:30 p.m. for a safety and bike-fitting session. Your Colorado bike tour begins with a warm-up ride through the town’s Victorian west end. Aspen’s residential history is on full display along these charming streets. You return to the Annabelle Inn via a scenic riverside bike path. Tonight, get to know your fellow travelers and learn about the upcoming week during a casual reception hosted by your trip leaders. Later, stroll into town for an included dinner at one of Aspen’s acclaimed restaurants. After, you’ll want to take your time, and maybe a detour, on the walk back to the inn, savoring the stunning mountain views and colorful shops in this idyllic, car-free village.

Today’s Ride Choice

Afternoon: Warm-up Ride — 6 miles

What to Expect: Ride directly from the inn across town to Cemetery Lane Trail, a, tree-lined dedicated bike path with stunning mountain vistas. Views of the Roaring Fork River are a constant companion on this easy familiarization ride.

Cumulative Distance Range: 6 miles

Included Meals: Dinner

This morning, you shuttle to the White River National Forest and the foot of the Elk Mountains. Here you view one of the most photographed sites in North America and one of Colorado’s most magnificent vistas – Maroon Bells. These two towering peaks, at about 14,000 feet, are mirrored in the glassy surface of Maroon Lake, creating a spellbinding tableau. There’ll be time to enjoy an easy walk along the lake’s shore and savor the views in this most pristine alpine environment.

After breaking for a hearty lunch, continue on to explore Ashcroft Ghost Town, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This historic mining town was bolstered by a silver boom, then crushed by a sudden bust, in the late 1800s. You step back in time during a fascinating interpretive walk among the restored remains of the saloon, post office, and hotel.

Later, an afternoon of cycling takes you through majestic groves of aspen trees and past sloping hills. Your route follows the gentle contours of Castle Creek Valley. Enjoy an 11-mile descent that delivers you back into Aspen.

The evening is yours to explore Aspen. Perhaps you’ll board the Silver Queen Gondola in the heart of the village for a silent ride up to the 11,000-foot summit of Aspen Mountain. Dinner is on your own at one of Aspen’s many restaurants.

Today’s Walk Choice

Morning: Maroon Lake Scenic Trail Walk — 1.5 miles

What to Expect: The Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail is well-marked and features level terrain. Traverse a meadow to the far end of Maroon Lake. Walk past a beaver pond and cross a creek before retracing your steps around the shore back to the parking area.

Today’s Ride Choice

Afternoon: Ashcroft to Aspen — 16 miles

What to Expect: Begin your ride “up valley” on Castle Creek Road. A gentle, 11-mile descent brings you to the head of the Marolt Trail. Then you follow the recreation path past the Holden Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum and continue through Aspen to your hotel.

Cumulative Biking Distance Range: 16 miles
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today, you ride the length of the Roaring Fork Valley, and do so almost entirely on a car-free recreation path. Throughout the day, you lose about 2,100 feet in elevation over 43 miles, a gentle downhill ride on the Rio Grande Trail past breathtaking brick-red canyon cliffs. Along the way, you may stop at your leisure for lunch in the down-to-earth mountain enclave of Carbondale, set where the Roaring Fork and Crystal rivers meet.

At ride’s end, you arrive in Glenwood Springs and your 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 boasts a rich history and lovely setting.

This afternoon, you may choose to raft the Colorado River on an easy float trip. The excursion, which is subject to seasonal availability, lasts about three hours and costs approximately $63 per person with a VBT discount. This should be booked in advance; please refer to VBT’s Colorado Rafting Excursion Information that you will receive by email approximately 75 days before your departure for details on how to book.

After a rewarding day amid the splendor of Colorado, you enjoy dinner on a private terrace at the hotel. After, stroll across the pedestrian bridge to downtown Glenwood Springs—just minutes away—where you may catch some live music and soak in the local ambiance under starlit skies.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Aspen to Carbondale — 29 miles
Afternoon: Carbondale to Glenwood Springs — 14 miles

What to Expect: Following a final spin through downtown Aspen, hop on the Rio Grande Trail, an entirely car-free recreational path, all the way to Glenwood Springs. Open views and brick-red canyon cliffs paint the landscape as you descend the valley to Carbondale for lunch. Afterward, cycle or shuttle to Glenwood Springs.

Cumulative Distance Range: 29 — 43 miles
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, walk next door and join locals for a sociable morning at the town’s enormous hot spring pool, said to be the world’s largest. It spans more than two city blocks and has drawn visitors since Glenwood Springs was first on the map. This is the perfect muscle-soothing pause as you have reached the mid-way point of the week.

Alternatively, choose to .cycle east directly from your hotel onto the Glenwood Canyon Trail, a magnificent car-free bike path that cuts through a towering gorge. The Colorado River is your constant companion this morning as you climb slightly uphill out of the canyon, watching for bighorn sheep and bald eagles high on the jagged canyon walls. A gentle descent back to Glenwood Springs reunited you with your travel companions.

After, a short shuttle brings you to your final destination of the week – Vail Village. The iconic resort town sings with Colorado splendor. Mountains rise in every direction as Gore Creek courses through the village, complete with quaint cobblestone streets. Enjoy an exploratory ride along the Gore Creek Trail before lunch and a sampling of local craft beers at your hotel.

You check in to your delightful accommodations just steps from the base of Vail Mountain. Opened as one of Vail’s first great European-style lodges in the 1960s, Tivoli Lodge has been reinvented from the ground up, yet remains steeped in old-world charm and suffused with Tyrolean tradition, ambiance, and hospitality. Dinner is on your own, with many wonderful options along the pedestrian streets outside your door. On many Wednesday nights in June, July, and August, Vail Valley Music Festival events unfold throughout the town.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Glenwood Canyon Recreation Path — 11 miles
Afternoon: Vail Villages Ride — 9 miles

What to Expect: Choose your own adventure this morning. Opt for a relaxing hot springs soak or cycle east from Glenwood Springs on the car-free Glenwood Canyon Recreation Trail. Unlike rides on previous days, you will experience a gradual increase in elevation as you make your way out of the canyon. Your afternoon ride features the Gore Creek Trail—the best way to get acquainted with the ins and outs of Vail Village.

Cumulative Distance Range: 9 — 20 miles
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast, you shuttle to the top of Vail Pass, then ride down the east side to Breckenridge. This is the spectacular Ten Mile Canyon National Recreation Trail, a paved bike path offering incredible alpine views all around. You cycle downhill to Copper Mountain Village, then follow a more gradual descent to Frisco, a quaint small town with curious cafes and shops. Your final stretch passes the tranquil Dillon Reservoir and delivers you into Breckenridge, which boasts the largest historic district in Colorado. There’ll be time to linger in “Breck,” grabbing some lunch and browsing the scenic main street.

Shuttle back to Vail for an afternoon at leisure so you can further explore the town. This evening, celebrate your Colorado cycling tour over a memorable farewell dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Today’s Ride Choices

Morning: Vail Pass to Frisco — 13 miles | Frisco to Breckenridge — 9 miles

What to Expect: Following a short shuttle to the top of Vail Pass, begin a gentle yet breathtaking descent to Copper Mountain Village, then to the town of Frisco. Shuttle from there or continue on the bike path past scenic Dillon Reservoir up to Breckenridge. You gain some elevation on this more moderate stretch of the route. You ride today on a paved, car-free bike path.

Cumulative Distance Range: 13 — 22 miles
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Relax over an included breakfast at the lodge this morning before saying goodbye to your trip leaders and fellow travelers.

VBT has made arrangements for a shuttle from the inn back to Denver International Airport (DIA), departing at 9:00 a.m. and arriving at the airport at 11:30 a.m.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Colorado: Aspen to Vail, Valleys of the Rockies 10

Download PDF Itinerary:

Tour Only (PDF)

Accommodations (May vary depending on departure date. )

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

2022

2022 Pre-Trip Extension - Denver

  • 2 nights at The Brown Palace Hotel
  • Historic Hotel Tour
  • Transportation to Aspen
  • Daily breakfast
  • City information

Make your own arrangements for travel to Denver, Colorado. From the airport or your point of arrival, take a taxi or train to your Pre-Trip Extension hotel.

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Reviews
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Dates & Prices

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6 Days. Includes bike vacation only.

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