FATMAP by Strava

The Copper Triangle


One of the most renowned road rides in Colorado, crossing three major passes.

Road Biking Severe

132 km
2 km
2 km
7-8 hrs
Low Point
2.4 km
High Point
3.5 km
The Copper Triangle Map

"The 'Copper Triangle' (also known as the 'Leadville Loop') is a truly classic Colorado mountain route that can be ridden in either direction,” writes SummitBiking.org. "It is a beautiful ride in mid-late September when the Aspens are at the peak of their fall color.” Due to its location right smack dab in the middle of Colorado’s most iconic mountains—right off I70, running through Vail, and right next door to Breckenridge—the Copper Triangle is well-known as one of the best road rides in the state, and possibly the nation.


Many riders choose to start the Copper Triangle loop right off of I70 at Copper Mountain. The route then runs through Leadville and Vail, and then back to Copper. From Copper to Vail via Leadville, the route follows twisty two-lane mountain roads up and over oxygen-deprived mountain passes. With neck-craning views of soaring 14,000-foot peaks, beautiful stands of aspens, and crystal-clear alpine lakes, the scenery is at least as entertaining as the twisty tarmac.

Possibly the best section of the ride stretches from Leadville to Minturn, along US Hwy 24. Despite being a US highway, this stretch is one of the tightest, twistiest, and most scenic zones in the Rockies. In fact, it’s designated as a scenic byway. As you approach Red Cliff, enjoying the soaring bridges, jagged rock cliffs, and deep valleys all around you.

Once in Minturn, the route then follows mostly dedicated bike paths to climb up and over Vail Pass—the most significant elevation gain of the route. The bike path runs into a few access roads near the town of Vail, but partway up the pass it switches over completely to designated, separated bike path with zero vehicle traffic. The dedicated bike path continues all the way over the top of the pass and down to Copper Mountain at the end of the route.

Surprisingly, due to the incredible beauty of the area and the well-constructed bike path, this is one of the most popular sections for cycling along the entire route, with many riders choosing to simply pedal out-and-back on Vail Pass. Who would have thought that an interstate corridor could provide such great cycling?!

Sources: http://www.summitbiking.org/arearides/coppertriangle.html




1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

between May and October

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area