385 miles with 31,800 feet of climbing
Littleton Loop (52 miles with 5,200 feet of climbing)
Littleton - Black Hawk (67 miles with 6,300 feet of climbing)
Black Hawk - Estes Park (64 miles with 4,600 feet of climbing)
Estes Park - Granby (62 miles with 4,800 feet of climbing)
Granby - Idaho Springs (56 miles with 3,900 feet of climbing)
Idaho Springs - Littleton (84 miles with 7,000 feet of climbing)
Blacktop Bicycle Tours, run by Gil E., organizes cycling trips in the Colorado Rockies. The tour for advanced riders is called UPnUP and emphasizes climbing rather than distance, covering some serious mountain passes at high altitude. Gil is assisted by Sherri B., a massage therapist.
The first day starts and ends in Littleton, located southwest of Denver, and consists of a loop of popular cycling routes through the foothills. While the distance is shorter and the elevation gain is less than the rest of the days, some of the climbs are the steepest of the entire tour.
Littleton to Black Hawk
Littleton to Black Hawk • Route Profile
Cat. 2: Mile 7 and 40
Cat. 3: Mile 49 and 55
Day two leads from Littleton to Black Hawk, one of Colorado's gambling towns. The day includes two major climbs, about 18 miles from Morrison to Bergen Park, and about 18 miles up Golden Gate Canyon. Highlight of this stage is Lookout Mountain with its panoramic descent into Golden, home of the Coors Brewery. Highest elevation attained: 9,368 feet.
Black Hawk to Estes Park
Black Hawk to Estes Park • Route Profile
Cat. 3: Mile 0, 22, and 48
Cat. 4: Mile 14, 16, 19, 35, 43, and 45
The third day leads from Black Hawk to Estes Park, a popular tourist town. The day includes several shorter climbs. Highlight of this stage is Peak-to-Peak Highway, connecting Golden Gate Canyon State Park in the South with Rocky Mountain National Park in the North. Highest elevation attained: 9,363 feet.
Estes Park to Granby
Estes Park to Granby • Route Profile
Cat. 1: Mile 0
Cat. 4: Mile 22
Day four leads from Estes Park to Granby, a simple small-town. The day includes one major climb, about 20 miles up Trail Ridge Road. Highlight of this stage is Rocky Mountain National Park with its spectacular views. The descent via Milner Pass crosses the Continental Divide. Highest elevation attained: 12,197 feet.
Granby to Idaho Springs
Granby to Idaho Springs • Route Profile
Cat. 1: Mile 12
Cat. 3: Mile 0
The fifth day leads from Granby to Idaho Springs, another popular tourist town. The day includes one major climb, about 20 miles up Berthoud Pass. Highlight of this stage is Berthoud Pass, which also crosses the Continental Divide. Highest elevation attained: 11,356 feet.
Idaho Springs to Littleton
Idaho Springs to Littleton • Route Profile
HC: Mile 0
Cat. 4: Mile 43
Day six leads from Idaho Springs back to the starting point in Littleton. The day includes one major climb, about 28 miles up Mount Evans. Highlight of this stage is Mount Evans with its stunning views, home of the highest paved road in North America. The descent leads over Squaw Pass. Highest elevation attained: 14,127 feet.
Rocky Mountains • Interactive Map
Rocky Mountains • Pictures
View from Lookout Mountain
Lookout Mountain Road
Rocky Mountain National Park
Trail Ridge Road
Rocky Mountain National Park
Berthoud Pass Road
Mount Evans Road
View from Mount Evans
By: Bernd Straehle
See Also: American & European Rides