Analysing terrain data
The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
The Colorado Trail (COT) is widely regarded as one of the very best long distance mountain bike trails in the world.
Running for 535 miles between Denver and Durango, the trail crosses high alpine mountain passes and drops into beautiful valleys as it traverses the most beautiful portions of the state of Colorado.
The COT forms one third of the Triple Crown of Bikepacking, along with the Arizona Trail and the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. This remote stretch of the COT runs along the flanks of Mount Elbert, the tallest mountain in Colorado.
While the trail tread along this stretch isn’t always of the highest caliber—it switches back and forth between doubletrack and sweet singletrack—the beauty of this zone is simply stunning! In the fall, the leaves on the aspen trees turn a beautiful gold, coating the trail with a crunchy carpet.
The singletrack passes peaceful beaver ponds, and eventually offers up views of the stunningly-beautiful Twin Lakes. Some portions of the singletrack are a bit steep and rocky, but overall this section of trail is quite flowy and intermediate-friendly.
The middle section of this segment is all very achievable, and the flowy descent down to Twin Lakes is an absolute riot! While of course this section is great for bikepacking, it’s also a worthy out-and-back day ride.
For through riders who need to refuel, consider taking the Twin Lakes spur, dropping into the town of Twin Lakes, and stopping at the general store and/or restaurant.