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48-88°F
9-31°C

Rocky Mountain High! Guided Motorcycle Tour

A natural roller-coaster tour through some of the highest peaks in the USA. With a dramatic backdrop of stunning mountain scenery and impressive national forests, our Colorado motorcycle tour takes you on a ride around crystal clear alpine mountain lakes, along steep mountain rivers and gorges, across the Continental Divide and through breath-taking national parks. Stopping at historic monuments such as Hovenweep and Mesa Verde with their ancient Paleo-Indian remains, and staying in the swanky celebrity winter hotspot of Vail along the way.

 

“Mile high”Denver is our start and that’s not even the foothills! Cross Trail Ridge Pass at 3700m (that’s over 12,000 feet) on your first day, experience the motorcycle paradise of winding roads around Steamboat Springs and enjoy the challenge of the Million Dollar Highway – 3 mountain passes in just 12 miles. Take a spectacular narrow-gauge train trip though the San Juan Mountains. Weather-permitting, ride the highest paved road in the USA and then walk the last few meters to the 4300m summit, for spectacular 360°glacial landscape views. And if you enjoy sand and sun, the incomparable Great Sand Dunes National Park is on route. If you’re looking for vast open spaces, peaceful mountain landscapes and (very!) high alpine passes this tour is for you. Oh and did we mention our favourite lunch spot in the Stanley Hotel that inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining”.

 

Total mileage c. 2100

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PRINT DETAILS

  • Vail

    Vail
  • Trail Ridge Pass

    Trail Ridge Pass
  • Million Dollar Highway, 12 mile steep gorge cliff pass

    Million Dollar Highway, 12 mile steep gorge cliff pass
  • Pike’s Peak, probably the world’s ultimate hill climb

    Pike’s Peak, probably the world’s ultimate hill climb
  • Mesa Verde National Park, largest archaeological preserve in the US

    Mesa Verde National Park, largest archaeological preserve in the US
  • Hovenweep National Monument

    Hovenweep National Monument
  • San Juan Mountain railway, Durango to Silverton

    San Juan Mountain railway, Durango to Silverton
  • Mount Evans, 4300m

    Mount Evans, 4300m
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park

    Great Sand Dunes National Park
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Day 1 Welcome to Denver, the Mile High City! Arrive
Day 1 Welcome to Denver, the Mile High City!

On your flight in you will have noticed a lot of flat terrain. And then huge mountains rising to the west - well, that’s where you’re going. Check in at our Warwick Hotel with sweeping views of the downtown area and the uptown neighbourhood of Capitol Hill and prepare for a real roller-coaster ride.

There’s lots to see and do in Denver. Despite its vast suburban sprawl, like most US cities the downtown area is quite small, and much of it is centred on 16th St., a kind of Western version of London’s Oxford St. And the famous Mile High Stadium is only a short taxi ride or 40 minute walk away.

 

Day 2 Denver – Loveland – Vail - 260 miles 5.5 hrs
Day 2 Denver – Loveland – Vail

Wake up, it's time to pick-up your bike! After breakfast you’ll head for the amazing Thunder Mountain Harley-Davidson dealership in Loveland, Colorado. After you've collected your authorized Harley-Davidson rental motorcycle and bought your first souvenirs, it is short ride and your first climb of the tour, to Estes Park. We suggest you take lunch at the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining! Your route now take you west through Rocky Mountain National Park and then across the 12,183-ft Trail Ridge Pass, with stunning vistas of the park and the world below, which seemingly shrinks in size as you climb higher and higher. Coming off the ridge takes you across the Continental Divide to the small town of Grand Lake – if you have time take a boat trip and check out the local stores. Then it is on to Granby and west to Kremmling before taking a sharp turn south towards Silverthorne. This is a lovely winding road along a gentle open valley, almost reminiscent of England, except you are at about 9,000 ft! From there it's a scenic ride on to Vail. Vail is known as one of the world's best winter sport places and celebrity hotspots. For the next three nights we will stay at The Evergreen Lodge, located right inside Vail Village with its restaurants, bars and shops. You will love Vail.

Day 3 Aspen Loop - 205 miles, 4 hrs
Day 3 Aspen Loop

We’re not normally fans of Interstates, but the I-70 is simply a great road. You set off west to Glenwood Springs and then turn left for Aspen. You’ll stop in Aspen for a coffee break and to see what all the fuss is about - it’s a great little town in a superb location, that’s what! Next you’re going up, big time - Independence Pass, 12,095-ft. There’s a long ascent, and at the top of the pass it feels like you are on a different planet. Depending on weather conditions you can encounter either sharp blue mountain light or a dark cloud cover at the bare and breezy summit. After the scenic 2,000-ft drop through the switchbacks on the eastern side of the mountain range you ride into Leadville, settled by miners in around 1860. Check out the Tabor Opera House from 1879 which even attracted infamous characters like the James Gang, Doc Holiday and Buffalo Bill. They got around in those days, didn't they!

Day 4 Steamboat Springs Loop - 220 miles, 4.5 hrs
Day 4 Steamboat Springs Loop

On the agenda for today is a 270-mile ride to Steamboat Springs and back. The roads are a motorcycle paradise, curve after curve your bike's engine eats the miles and seems to enjoy every bite. Red and White Mountain will rise up on your left, and as you get closer you'll see Bellyache Ridge on your right. Further on up the highway is Stagecoach State Park, and you might even spot some of the area wildlife. Badgers, coyotes, elk, mule deer, and red foxes are all common. Later, you’ll follow the Yampa River to Steamboat Springs. This cool ski resort lies right at the base of Mount Werner, on the 40-mile long Park Range. Enjoy a nice lunch and a well-deserved rest. You're half way home! On the way back you’ll head over Rabbit Ears Pass, the 9,426-ft pass that cuts through the continental divide. From there the road takes you south to Kremmling, over the 9,527-ft Gore Pass and back to Vail.

Day 5 Vail - Montrose - 250 miles, 5 hrs
Day 5 Vail - Montrose

Today, you head south, and it’s a gentler ride, but it certainly won't be light on great sights, and the way the forests and mountain ranges unfold before your eyes will just take your breath away. You’ll take a different route to Leadville and then follow the Arkansas River to Buena Vista. By this time you shouldn't be surprised by just how many lakes and mountains Colorado has, so just sit back and enjoy the view.

You then head over the mighty Monarch Pass and into the slightly surreal pastureland towards Gunnison, and along the shores of the Blue Mesa Reservoir. You’re still at over 2000m altitude here, but like the ride out of Kremmling, it really doesn’t feel like it. Next comes one of those ‘hidden wonders’ you can find only in America – the Black Canyon of Gunnison. It’s a tricky descent from the top of the gorge, with its steep sides, but the peace and tranquillity at the bottom and views of the canyon make it well worth the effort. From here it’s a short hop to Montrose for the night.

Day 6 Montrose - Durango - 110 miles, 2.5 hrs
Day 6 Montrose - Durango

Leaving the openness of Montrose, you climb to Ouray, a historic spa town and a great place for a quick stop. The steep climb out of the town brings you onto the famous Million Dollar Highway. The 12 mile challenging ride takes you over 3 mountain passes, all well over 3,000 m, affording you some of the best views in the state. The Highway cuts through the Uncompahgre Gorge all the way up to the summit of Red Mountain Pass, through the heart of the San Juan Mountains. The road then brings you down into Silverton, with its unique ‘Wild West’ ambience. Once there you can cool your engine for a bit before riding the last pass of the day, and following the meandering Animas River to Durango.

Day 7 Native American Loop - 210 miles, 4 hrs
Day 7 Native American Loop

You rise and ride out of Durango first thing in the morning for a very different picture of Colorado. Hovenweep National Monument lies to the west of Cortez, on the Cajon Mesa of the Great Sage Plain. The Monument has lots of old Paleo-Indian stone structures, some dating back more than a thousand years and should not be missed. If time permits, head on over to the Four Corners National Monument. However you’ll be cutting it rather short as the Mesa Verde National Park also beckons. This is a truly spectacular place and you should allow plenty of time to visit. The history, the views and the ride are unique. After that it’s a short ride back to Durango for another great evening.

Day 8 Durango Free day, 235 miles, 5 hrs
Day 8 Durango

Free day. The obvious choice of what to do today, if you want to give the bike a rest, is the D&SNGRR. This is an amazing narrow gauge railway line that takes you on a real wild west adventure ride to Silverton and back – a great way to relax and a great day out. It takes all day, and even if trains aren’t your thing, it is quite brilliant!

And if you’re looking to put more motorcycle miles under your belt, then the San Juan Skyway Loop is the ride for you. The morning starts off heading west on I-160. You'll pass by many small towns on the way, as well as the northern edge of Mesa Verde National Park From there it's a great ride north past the McPhee Reservoir and into the San Juan Mountains accompanied by a sparkling river that invites you to stick your feet into the crystal clear water. You'll climb higher and higher until it’s time to stop at Telluride for a great lunch and a good stretch of the legs. From here the route cuts west by Whipple Mountain and Last Dollar Mountain before cutting back east near the small town of Placerville. At this point you’re back on the famous Million Dollar Highway – always worth a second ride!

This is your last night in Durango, so enjoy it, and pick up any of those last minute souvenirs for family and friends. There is a great rooftop bar in the centre of Durango's main drag that offers excellent comfort food and great beer, and a vaudeville theatre.

Day 9 Durango – Alamosa - 195 miles, 4 hrs
Day 9 Durango – Alamosa

Today you'll be able to check out some of those great sights that were far off in the distance on some of the earlier days. Highway 160 beckons, so charge out onto her and get your day started. You'll quickly leave Lake Nighthorse behind and then cut east away from the Animas River. A sharp turn north at the junction with Highway 172 will be your only break from going straight, until you get to the Crestview Memorial Garden. The journey heads east once again with slight twists and turns until you meet up with the Pine River. At that point you'll gradually shift north back into the mountains. Shaefer Mountain and Wickenson Mountain will be on your left far off in the distance, and after a while you'll see Pargin Mountain to your right. By the time you get to Pagosa Springs you'll have seen plenty of great scenery, and then it’s onward to the south. You'll head through some arid areas on your way to Chama and then northward to Conejos and Alamosa. The town's right on the edge of the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, and a short ride from the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Check out the sand dunes!

Day 10 Alamosa – Colorado Springs - 205 miles, 6 hrs
Day 10 Alamosa – Colorado Springs

You head north up Highway 285 alongside the Sangre de Cristo Range. The range rises to 2500 m in places, and extends for 75 miles. At Salida you make a gradual turn around the range to head south-east. The San Isabel National Forest greets, and then near Beckwith Mountain you make a sharp turn north and then east, following the Arkansas River. We've saved the best till last today – the famous Pike’s Peak, home of the International Hill Climb. The climb is an annual race that takes place each summer up the steep road which is studded with hairpin turns. The record is under 10 minutes, but you'll be able to take your time going up, so enjoy the spectacular views!

Day 11 Colorado Springs - Boulder - 225 miles, 5 hrs
Day 11 Colorado Springs - Boulder

You head north past Pike’s Peak again, pass by Antero Reservoir and head north to Fairplay, into the Ten Mile Range that surrounds Breckenridge and ride down into the town via the 3500 m Hoosier Pass. Take a break here. Weather permitting, you’ll then head for Mt Evans, and the highest paved road in the USA – a mere 4310m, or 14,130ft. From here it a short but breathless walk to the summit at 4350m (14,271 ft).

Avoiding the drop down to Denver, you ride to Nederland and then take the twisting descent into Boulder for your last night on the road.

Day 12 Boulder – Denver and home - 95 miles, 2 hrs
Day 12 Boulder – Denver and home

Today is your last ride. You've come a long way since you started out 11 days ago, and covered hundreds of miles. Now it's time to head back to Denver. Enjoy this ride to the fullest; you may not be back in the Rocky Mountains on a Harley again for some time. Take in the mountains, forests, rivers, lakes and streams. Breathe in the fresh Rocky Mountain air, and think back on all you've seen. You ride back up to Estes Park and return your authorized Harley-Davidson motorcycles to Thunder Mountain. And then all of a sudden it’s over. You head back into Denver and your flight home.

You've done it! What started as a simple idea several months or maybe even years ago has now come full circle. Sitting at the computer and checking out routes is one thing, but to actually feel the wind rush through your hair as you climb scenic mountain passes is quite another. Looking at pictures of crystal clear mountain lakes is great, but actually breathing in the air around those lakes is altogether different. And reading descriptions in no way prepares you for the awesome experience that you've just had. You've now ridden hundreds of miles of Colorado highways, gone over high mountain passes inaccessible during winter, and seen more national forests, parks, and monuments than you can shake a stick at.

  • Our Tour Price Includes
    • Harley-Davidson® authorized rental motorcycle (current year model, dealer owned, under 20k miles with factory warranty)
    • Just 8-15 bikes per tour, never more
    • American licensed tour guide on motorcycle and assistant in support vehicle
    • Standard motorcycle insurance cover including CDW and State minimum liability cover
    • Support/luggage vehicle includes:
      • Coolbox/complimentary soft drinks
      • Spare motorcycle for emergencies
      • Trauma / First Aid kit
    • Personal hardcopy tourbook including maps
    • Fuel and oil on tour
    • Accommodation in 2-4* hotels
    • National Park, State Park and National Monument entrance fees
    • Welcome Dinner & Farewell Party
    • Some breakfasts
    • Hotel parking fees
    • Hotel to dealership transfers
    • Unlimited mileage
    • All taxes and one way fees
    • Helmets (if requested). We strongly recommend you bring your own
    • GBP pricing – we take the currency risk
    • Guaranteed financial and legal protection, for your peace of mind, from our Travel Trust Association membership and ATOL Bond
  • Pre-bookable options
    FREE ‘Try before you Fly’ Harley-Davidson® 2 hour Orientation Ride Flights (we are an ATOL bonded, UK company) Specialist Travel insurance for motorcyclists (EU residents only) Optional CDW & SLI motorcycle insurances Excursions/activities Pre and post tour accommodation Pre and post tour motorcycle hire UK airport hotels and parking US Airport to hotel transfer Trike Surcharge
  • Our Tour Price Does Not Include
    • Meals except where specified (allow c. £30/person/day)
    • Riding gear
    • Additional activities
    • Personal expenses, souvenirs, tips
    • Airport to Hotel transfer

Our Main Motorcycle Models

  • Electra Glide Ultra Limited
  • Road Glide Ultra
  • Road King®
  • Street Glide®Special
  • Heritage Softail® Classic
  • Fat Bob®
  • Sportster®1200 Custom
  • Tri Glide Ultra Classic
  • Bring Your Own

  • Other models may be available upon request

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