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Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in Colorado

Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in Colorado

Colorado, with its majestic mountains and scenic landscapes, is a motorcyclist's paradise. The state's diverse terrain offers a thrilling blend of high-altitude rides, sharp curves, and breathtaking vistas that are sure to enchant riders of all skill levels. From the historic Trail Ridge Road to the challenging Million Dollar Highway, each route presents a unique adventure. This article highlights the top 10 motorcycle rides in Colorado, promising an unforgettable experience for those who crave the open road.

Key Takeaways

  • Colorado offers a diverse range of motorcycle rides, featuring high-altitude paths, sharp turns, and stunning scenery.
  • The state is home to 26 scenic and historic byways, with routes like Trail Ridge Road and San Juan Skyway being among the top picks for motorcyclists.
  • Riding in Colorado is not just about the roads, but the overall experience, including exploring local attractions and making memories.
  • The routes vary in difficulty and can accommodate both seasoned riders and those looking for a more relaxed journey.
  • Motorcycle enthusiasts can find community recommendations and detailed information about routes through various online platforms and local resources.

1. Trail Ridge Road

1. Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road, renowned for its breathtaking vistas and high-altitude thrills, is a pinnacle of motorcycle touring in Colorado. This route, which is the highest continuous paved road in the United States, offers riders an unparalleled experience as it winds through Rocky Mountain National Park.

  • Distance: Approximately 48 miles
  • Elevation Gain: More than 4,000 feet
  • Travel Time: Typically 2 to 3 hours
  • Seasonal Availability: Generally open from Memorial Day to mid-October

Motorcyclists should prepare for the dramatic changes in weather and temperature that can occur at high elevations. The road's numerous switchbacks and alpine environment demand a rider's full attention, but the rewards are immense, with panoramic views and the chance to spot wildlife in their natural habitat.

Trail Ridge Road is not just a journey; it is a destination in itself, offering a ride through the clouds that is both exhilarating and serene. The experience of cresting the Continental Divide at over 12,000 feet is a moment that stays with a rider long after the journey ends.

Safety is paramount on this high-altitude adventure. Riders are advised to check their motorcycles for mechanical soundness, as the thin air can affect engine performance. Additionally, it is wise to carry extra layers of clothing, as temperatures can plummet without warning.

2. San Juan Skyway

2. San Juan Skyway

The San Juan Skyway offers an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Colorado Rockies, presenting riders with a tapestry of mountain vistas, historic towns, and geological wonders. This 236-mile loop is a treasure trove of natural beauty, encapsulating the essence of Colorado's rugged landscape.

  • Starting Point: The route begins in the town of Durango, a hub of culture and history.
  • Highlight: Lake San Cristobal provides a serene backdrop, its origins tied to the unique Slumgullion Earth Flow.
  • Elevation Changes: Riders will experience significant elevation shifts, adding to the thrill of the ride.
The San Juan Skyway is not just a road; it's a passage through time, where every turn reveals another chapter of the Earth's story.

For those seeking a challenge, the Skyway demands respect for its varying conditions and elevations. The ride is suitable for those with good fitness levels, as it encompasses well-paved surfaces that make for an enjoyable experience. Remember to plan for stops along the way, including the Sky Ute Casino Resort for those who enjoy a blend of adventure and entertainment.

3. Mount Evans Scenic Byway

3. Mount Evans Scenic Byway

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway offers an exhilarating ride through the Rocky Mountains, reaching an altitude that few roads dare to approach. This byway is not just a path, but a journey into the heart of Colorado's high country, presenting riders with breathtaking views and a unique high-altitude experience.

The journey along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a testament to the rugged beauty of Colorado's landscape, providing an unforgettable adventure for those who traverse its path.

Here are some key details about the Mount Evans Scenic Byway:

  • Distance: 120 miles
  • Suggested Time: Allow 2–4 hours

The byway is part of Colorado's extensive network of scenic and historic routes, each offering a distinct glimpse into the state's diverse terrain and history. As you plan your ride, consider the following tips:

  1. Check weather conditions before embarking, as high altitudes can bring unpredictable weather.
  2. Ensure your motorcycle is in good condition to handle the steep grades and elevation changes.
  3. Take breaks to fully appreciate the panoramic views and the natural splendor that surrounds you.

Remember, the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is more than a road; it's an experience that encapsulates the spirit of Colorado's wilderness.

4. Pikes Peak Highway

4. Pikes Peak Highway

The Pikes Peak Highway offers a breathtaking journey through the Rocky Mountains, culminating at the summit of one of Colorado's most iconic peaks. This 19-mile road is a marvel of engineering, providing motorcyclists with a thrilling ride and unparalleled views.

Distance and Time

  • Distance: 19 miles
  • Estimated Ride Time: 2-3 hours

Motorcyclists should prepare for sharp curves and steep inclines, which make this route both challenging and rewarding. The highway's elevation gain from the start to the summit is a staggering 6,115 feet, promising an adventure for even the most seasoned riders.

The Pikes Peak Highway is not just a road; it's a journey through the clouds, offering a unique perspective of the majestic Rocky Mountains.

As riders ascend, they will encounter various ecosystems, from lush forests to alpine tundra, each providing its own unique beauty and challenges. The summit itself, at 14,115 feet, offers a panoramic view that is simply unforgettable. Remember to check weather conditions before embarking, as they can change rapidly at such high altitudes.

5. Million Dollar Highway

5. Million Dollar Highway

The Million Dollar Highway, part of the San Juan Skyway, is a marvel of engineering and natural beauty. This stretch of US Route 550 offers a thrilling ride with its sharp curves and steep inclines, providing an adrenaline rush for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Riders are advised to prepare adequately for this journey, ensuring they have the necessary motorcycle gear and accessories. The route's challenges require a focus on safety, with appropriate attire such as pants, shorts, gloves, and the use of locks and bags to secure belongings.

The Million Dollar Highway is not just a road; it's an experience that encapsulates the spirit of Colorado's rugged landscape.

For those new to motorcycle touring, it's recommended to start with beginner-friendly motorcycles that offer a smooth riding experience. This ensures a safer and more enjoyable ride along the Million Dollar Highway. Additionally, riders should familiarize themselves with safety tips to navigate the road's potential hazards confidently.

6. Independence Pass

6. Independence Pass

Independence Pass, with its summit at an elevation of 12,095 feet, is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado. It is situated within the Sawatch Range and remains one of the most scenic rides in Colorado, offering breathtaking views and a thrilling experience for motorcyclists.

The pass is typically open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, weather permitting, as it is closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall and treacherous conditions. The road to the summit is narrow and winding, with sharp turns and steep inclines, making it a challenging yet rewarding ride for experienced motorcyclists.

Note: Due to the high altitude and variable weather conditions, it is crucial for riders to be prepared for sudden temperature changes and the possibility of encountering snow, even in summer.

Here are some key points to consider when planning a ride over Independence Pass:

  • Check the weather forecast and road conditions before setting out.
  • Ensure your motorcycle is in good working order, particularly the brakes and tires.
  • Carry extra layers of clothing to adapt to the changing temperatures.
  • Be mindful of the altitude and stay hydrated.

Riding Independence Pass is an adventure that offers an unparalleled sense of freedom and connection with the natural beauty of Colorado. It's a must-ride for any motorcycle enthusiast visiting the state.

7. Peak to Peak Scenic Byway

7. Peak to Peak Scenic Byway

The Peak to Peak Scenic Byway offers a splendid motorcycle journey through Colorado's picturesque landscapes. Spanning approximately 60 miles, this route provides riders with an immersive experience of the state's natural beauty.

Distance and Travel Time:

  • Distance: 60 miles
  • Suggested Time: Allow 1.5–3 hours

Travelers are advised to allocate sufficient time to fully appreciate the vistas and possibly explore the quaint towns along the way.

The Peak to Peak Scenic Byway is not just a route; it's a journey through Colorado's heartland, offering a serene escape into nature's embrace.

The byway connects a series of historic mining towns, each with its own unique charm and story. Riders can expect to encounter a variety of wildlife and breathtaking views of the Continental Divide. The route is particularly enchanting in the fall when the aspen trees are ablaze with color.

8. Top of the Rockies

8. Top of the Rockies

The Top of the Rockies route offers a breathtaking journey through Colorado's high country, where the air is crisp and the vistas are unparalleled. This ride is a favorite among motorcyclists for its challenging elevation changes and the sheer beauty of the landscape.

With a distance of approximately 120 miles, riders should allow 2-4 hours to fully appreciate the experience. The route is not just about the destination but also about the journey, with each turn revealing a new, awe-inspiring view.

Reflecting on the Colorado Motorcycle Expo 2024, one can draw parallels between the innovative designs and the timeless allure of the Top of the Rockies. The ride, much like the expo, is a testament to the spirit of adventure and the pursuit of excellence.

The need to get away from the noise is so important. It's soul rest. The Top of the Rockies provides that rare opportunity to be in the middle of nowhere, yet right in the heart of Colorado's natural grandeur.

For those seeking to extend their adventure, South Fork serves as an ideal endpoint or a starting point for further exploration. It's a place where one can take stock of the journey and plan for the next ride amidst Colorado's natural state.

9. Cache la Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway

9. Cache la Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway

The Cache la Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway offers a journey through the rugged beauty of Colorado's northern landscapes. This route, spanning approximately 120 miles, is a testament to the state's commitment to preserving its natural and historical heritage. As one of Colorado's 26 scenic and historic byways, it provides an intimate look at the wilderness that has remained largely unchanged since the 1800s.

Motorcycle enthusiasts can expect to allocate 2 to 4 hours to fully embrace the experience of this byway. The journey is not just about the destination but also about the appreciation of the journey itself, which is enriched by the motorcycle culture and community. Events like the Moto Beach Classic highlight the economic impact and the vibrant spirit that motorcycling brings to host cities.

The Cache la Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway is more than a road; it's a passage through time, offering a glimpse into Colorado's storied past and breathtaking nature.

For those planning to traverse this scenic byway, it is advisable to check local travel advisories and weather conditions, as the high-altitude roads can present challenges depending on the season.

10. Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway

10. Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway

The Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway offers a breathtaking journey through Colorado's diverse landscapes. Spanning approximately 120 miles, this route is a testament to the state's commitment to preserving its natural and historical treasures, with 26 scenic and historic byways, 13 of which hold the prestigious title of America's Byways.

The byway is not just a path but a gateway to Colorado's soul, weaving through stories that are as rich in history as they are in the beauty of the wilderness.

For those planning to embark on this adventure, it is suggested to allow 2 to 4 hours to fully appreciate the experience. The byway passes through remote tracts of land, offering a glimpse into the wilds of the 1800s and connecting travelers to historic districts such as Lake City and Creede.

Key Attractions Along the Byway:

  • Lake San Cristobal
  • Historic Lake City
  • Bridge over the Rio Grande

Whether seeking solitude in nature or a journey through history, the Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway is a route that promises an unforgettable Colorado experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the top motorcycle rides in Colorado?

Some of the top motorcycle rides in Colorado include Trail Ridge Road, San Juan Skyway, Mount Evans Scenic Byway, Pikes Peak Highway, Million Dollar Highway, Independence Pass, Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, Top of the Rockies, Cache la Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway, and Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway.

How long should I allocate for a motorcycle ride on Trail Ridge Road?

You should allow 2–4 hours for a motorcycle ride on Trail Ridge Road, but take into consideration stops for sightseeing and rest.

Are there any motorcycle-friendly accommodations in Colorado?

Yes, Colorado offers a variety of motorcycle-friendly accommodations, including motels, hotels, and motorcycle camping sites.

Can I rent a motorcycle for touring in Colorado?

Yes, there are several motorcycle rentals and tours available in Colorado for those who wish to explore the state on two wheels.

What should I be prepared for when riding in Colorado?

When riding in Colorado, be prepared for varying weather conditions, high altitudes, and wildlife crossings. Always wear appropriate gear and check your motorcycle before the trip.

Are there any scenic byways in Colorado that are also federally designated?

Yes, Colorado is home to 26 scenic and historic byways, 13 of which are also federally designated America's Byways.

What are some motorcycle-related events or rallies in Colorado?

Colorado hosts various motorcycle rides, rallies, and events throughout the year. Check local listings and motorcycle communities for the latest information.

Where can I find more information about motorcycle rides in Colorado?

You can find more information about motorcycle rides in Colorado through local tourism websites, motorcycle blogs, and by joining motorcycle communities on social media.

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