Gallery: Bikepacking the Colorado Trail

Riding high from Denver to Durango

In the weirdness of 2020, I found normalcy on the Colorado Trail. For 11 days, I traded the anxieties of our pandemic world to concerns of a more basic sort — where is the next water source? And when we find it, will the filter actually work against cow manure? Does this Ramen have enough calories?

And, what is making that noise outside of the tent?

If you have a bikepacking bucket list, the Colorado Trail is probably on it. For over 500 miles, the mostly-singletrack route runs down the spine of the Rockies from Denver to Durango. There are myriad ways to tackle the 72,000 feet of climbing: some race it (either during the late-July Colorado Trail Race or as an independent time trial a la Lachlan Morton); some take it slow, seeking out detours like hot springs and bakeries (of which there are many); and others, like my friends and I, thought we’d do something in between.

What we found was the most challenging and rewarding way to travel between two Colorado cities, bodies that were capable of turning the pedals in spite of days of sleeplessness and profound fatigue, and minds capable of both plummeting to the depths of despair and reaching new heights of joy.

I already can’t wait to do it again.